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Topography and Geological Aspects of the Western Desert …

Topography and Geological Aspects of the Western Desert
The land of Egypt forms a one million square kilometre in the northeastern corner of Africa.
The Nile Valley splits this land from south to north, east of it is occupied by the Eastern
Desert and the Sinai Desert, west of it lies the Western Desert, which is the eastern part of the Great Sahara. In the depressions of this desert, the Oases lie in a curved row almost parallel to the Nile River defined by the lines of convergence

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  • 1. ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT 25° 26° 27° 28° 29° 30° 31° 32° 33° 34° 35° 36° 37° Topography and Geological Aspects of the Western Desert The land of Egypt forms a one million square kilometre in the northeastern corner of Africa. The Nile Valley splits this land from south to north, east of it is occupied by the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Desert, west of it lies the Western Desert, which is the eastern part of M e d the Great Sahara. In the depressions of this desert, the Oases lie in a curved row almost i t e r r a n e a n S e a parallel to the Nile River defined by the lines of convergence at the weaker points in the earth crust between the various geological eras. The topography and geology shows Sallum • Sidi Barani • that the regional dip of the strata is towards the north, which means that the southern •Rosetta regions are the oldest exposed features declining in height and age into a younger north. •Kafr El-Sheikh •Damietta Therefore Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir in the south form the Palaeozoic Sandstone Plateau Marsa Matruh • Alexandria• •Port Said El Arish• Rafah • 31° rising 1000 meters above sea level, they merge into the Eocene Limestone plateau at Dakhla and Kharga at about 500 meters above sea level, followed by the central desert31° •Sidi Abd •Damanhur •El Mansura formations of the Cretaceous era at Farafra and finally to the lower northern Miocene limestone plateau about 130 meters below sea level in the Qattara depression. To the SUEZ CANAL el Rahman AVERAGE YEARLY TEMPERATURE CHART east of the Oases runs the Nile and to the west lies one of the most arid territories of • El Alamein Borg • El Arab •Tanta OF THE WESTERN DESERT the Earth, the Great Sand sea, characteristic of its infinite parallel rows of high dunes Month Min Max extending sometimes for as long as 150 kilometres. They slope gradually from northwest El-Moghra Protectorate •Zagazig •Ismailia JANUARY FEBRUARY 4 5 22 25 to southeast with a 172-degree angle, following the path of the northwestern wind that blows almost all year round. MARCH 7 29 Wadi el- •Banha Timsa h APRIL 8 35 The Western Desert elevated from the bottom of an ancient shallow tropical sea called Thetys some 40 Million years ago at the end of the Eocene period, forming a great plateau Natroun MAY 10 37 Lake covered by limestone beds JUNE 15 38 30°30° PYRAMIDS During the long period of time since then, many enormous changes have created its OF SAQQARA JULY 18 40 present shape. The desert was formed in gradual steps, its contours and rocks emerging Giza• •Cairo Suez• AUGUST 17 39 due to big tectonic events, continental drifts, advancing and retreating of glaciers, volcanic a n ar ssio PYRAMIDS Oyoun Musa SEPTEMBER 15 37 activity and changes in atmospheric circulation along with masses of sand deposited by OF GIZA OCTOBER 12 35 erosion. Finally the imprints of the basic elements, especially the sharp wind blowing Sinai pr t Qarun NOVEMBER 8 29 DeQat • e usually low and shaping the earth surface and any stable obstacle, explaining the many Siwa Protectorate Qara Oasis Protectorate DECEMBER 5 25 Western Sector Whale Valley Ain Sukhna • Taba • coned hills scattered all over the desert. All this has made this desert what it is today, a Qarun Lake •Ras Sidr Pharaoh’s Island Temperatures in Celsius vast expand of a diverse topography, one of its kind in the whole world. Gabal El Mawta Siwa Protectorate •Siwa Cleopatra El Rayyan •El Fayoum International road Middle Sector Protectorate29° Siwa O asis Gabal Bath Wa d i Za’farana • 29° Dual carriage road El Dakrur Siwa Protectorate Eastern Sector El Rayyan •Beni Suef •Nuweiba i rack City • lf of Aqaba Nuwamisa • El Bahrein •S i tra Fayou m International boundary L I B YA Oasi s S t Cath e rine Are a Gu ST ANTHONY’S Ras Dahab • rt• • lf Gharib fS MOUNT MOSES o Bawiti MONASTERY ue •El Tur Gu se •Bahariya ST PAUL’S z Oase s e ert El Minya•28° MONASTERY 28° Ea se The Great es Sand Sea D ten W hite D ra te Sharm el-Sheikh De s t o MONS tec st We R as Mo h amme d rn Pro PORPHYRITES White De sert n e r t e ese Ab r te D • t st i u El Gouna • Wh M uh r Ain Dalla en ar Hurghada• ast Asyut• We ek 27°27° E Du •Farafra Oasis ne Nile Line East 25 River Are the prehistoric humans of the Egyptian deserts the origin of the Pharaonic Safaga• civilization in the Nile Valley? Abu Minqar Sohag• The Egyptian deserts are now extremely arid and almost uninhabited, receiving less then a quarter of an inch of rainfall each year, but was this always the case? Scattered everywhere are signs of human habitation, indicating a wider cultural history Qena then believed until recently. New •Qena Very long ago, humans were able to live in these desert regions due to different weather26° Va DI T •El Quseir 26° conditions. lle DANDARA• WA AMA M The oldest known civilization in Egypt dates back to the Palaeolithic Age 300,000 BC AM VALLEY OF •Qus H indicated by the discovery of Acheulean tools made of flint, quartzite or sandstone typified y by their large oval shape. Many of them found in Gilf El Kebir and the Sandsea. They THE KINGS KARNAK were used for hunting and gathering of wild plants. This hunting people travelled great •Luxor e R distances after their food in savannah- like regions and already used fire. Silica Valley •Dakhla Oase s d Climate conditions are proven to have greatly •Al Kharga Oases reversed over the years between Wet periods and Dry Periods. Esna •Marsa AlamS During Dry Periods, these people went down Regenfeld • into the valleys where their tool making e 25°25° technologies improved according to the a Edfu different purposes they needed them for. Some 150,000 years ago, specialized tools started to emerge and a culture known as Gilf Ke •Baris TEMPLE OF SOBEK the Playa civilization(Playa: low areas near water) to be dated back to approximately Wadi Abu El Malik b & HAREORIS 70,000 to 35,000 years ago, began using more advanced ways of semi cultivating ir Abu Ballas lands, capturing and holding animals within Gilf El-Kebir their groups. Pro Aswan Then in the Upper Palaeolithic Age, about te c SAAD EL-ALI, Shayyb Mount 24°24° THE HIGH DAM •Berenice 33,000 years ago man discovered the making te PHILAE of blades, which helped him greatly to develop tor Ras Bana s Rou better tools for his use like the microlith, a a te Mestikawy Cave tiny flint tool indicating a vital evolution in the Wadi Soura ien refinement of production methods and food rba Tropic of Cancer KALABSHA storage. El-A During the Neolithic Age, alternating wet and dry cycles continued but people started taking refuge in the NileValley and first evidence Wadi Furaq Wadi Wissaa Lake of Prepastoral cultures followed, not only •Tarfawi Well Nasser •Shalatin around the Nile River but also in other valleys23° Memorial • 23° scattered on the high plateaus. The most famous is the Nabta Playa lying only 100 Km Peter and Paul • west of Abu Simbel. The last wet climate cycle began around 9,000BC and ended 3,200BC. Very dry Tushka Aswan climate set in and forced people to leave the higher regions forever heading east toward the oases and the Nile bringing with them UWEINAT MOUNT 1 934 M ABU SIMBEL •Halaib their accumulated various knowledge of semi agricultural techniques, artcrafts and basic practices of village- like social organization.22° •Karkur Talh Line North 22 22° These are the ancestors of the Pharaonic ethnic group, developing over the years to a great Civilization. The ancient prehistoric drawings in Gilf Kebir and Uweinat can be linked through the later carvings and engravings in the various desert valleys to the more sophisticated arts of the S U D AN famous Pharaonic Temples in the Nile Valley. 25° 26° 27° 28° 29° 30° 31° 32° 33° 34° 35° 36° 37° Printed In Egypt By UPPD Tel.:23928815