2D inversion of refraction travel-time curves using homogeneous functions: a case study from Wadi El-Nakheil, Eastern Desert, Egypt

  • Ahmed AbdelmaksoudEmail author
  • Assem El-Haddad
Original Paper


The area of study is located at Wadi El-Nakheil to the west of Quseir district along the Egyptian Red Sea Coast. The present work is a case study of applying the 2D homogeneous function method. This function automatically inverts the first arrival refractions to derive a 2D velocity distribution involving the seismic boundaries. The present study aims at investigating the near-surface geological conditions of Wadi El-Nakheil. These conditions include the following: the different stratigraphic units, structural configuration, and the groundwater occurrence. Authors achieved this aim by carrying out shallow seismic refraction measurements along three profiles using direct and reverse shooting. A newly developed field methodology is used in the data acquisition. The interpretation of the seismic data is performed using GODOGRAF software which represents a 2D refraction tomographic inversion algorithm. The interpretation revealed the presence of seven geo-seismic zones, overlain by low-velocity surface layer, with a velocity range of less than 800 to 6800 m/s. The detected zones are dissected by several normal faults with NE and SW dipping directions and maximum throw of about 20 m. An angular unconformity is noticed between the overlying horizontal layers and the dipping (towards SW) underlying layers. One of the interpreted zones is identified as the water-bearing zone where the velocity is between 2200–2400 and 2600 m/s. This was emphasized by the correlation with the nearest borehole in the area. The water-bearing zone is interpreted as the Nakheil Formation. The thickness of the water-bearing zone ranges from 20 to 55 m, while its depth ranges from 35 to 65 m.


Homogeneous functions Tomographic inversion Seismic refraction Velocity model Wadi El-Nakheil Duwi area Quseir district 


  1. Abdel Moneim AA (2005) Overview of the geomorphological and hydrological characteristics of the Eastern Desert of Egypt. J Hydrol 13:416–425Google Scholar
  2. Abdel-Razik TM (1967) Stratigraphy of the sedimentary cover of Anz-Atshan-south Duwi district. Bull Fac Sci Cairo Univ 431:135–179Google Scholar
  3. Akaad MK, Noweir AM (1978) Geology and lithostratigraphy of the Arabian desert orogenic belt of Egypt between latitudes 25° 35′ and 26° 30′ N. Precambrian Res 6(1):A6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Akkad, S., & Dardir, A. (1966). Geology of the Red Sea Coast between Ras Shagra and Mersa Alam with short note on exploratory work at Gebel El Rusas lead-zinc deposits. Geological Survey of Egypt, Paper 35, 67pGoogle Scholar
  5. Amer R (2011) Geoenvironmental and structural studies for developing new water resources in the arid and semi-arid regions using remote sensing and GIS. Ph.D. Thesis, Saint Louis University, USA, 151 pGoogle Scholar
  6. Amer R, Ripperdan R, Wang T, Encarnación J (2012a) Groundwater quality and management in arid and semi-arid regions: case study, Central Eastern Desert of Egypt. J Afr Earth Sci 69:13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Amer R, Sultan M, Ripperdan R, Encarnacion J (2012b) Structural architecture for development of the marginal extensional sub-basins in the Red Sea active rift zone. Int J Geosci 3:133–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Amer R, Sultan M, Ripperdan R, Ghulam A, Kusky T (2013) An integrated approach for groundwater potential zoning in shallow fracture zone aquifers. Int J Remote Sens 34(19):6539–6561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bosworth W, Huchon P, McClay K (2005) The red sea and gulf of Aden basins. J Afr Earth Sci 43(1–3):334–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cochran JR (1983) A model for development of Red Sea. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 67(1):41–69Google Scholar
  11. Coleman RG (1993) Geological evolution of the Red Sea. In: Oxford monographs on geology and geophysics. Oxford University Press, New York, 186pGoogle Scholar
  12. CONOCO (1987) Geological map of Egypt, scale 1: 500000, Sheet NG36NW-Quseir, Egypt. The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Cairo, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  13. Demanet D, Pirard E, Renardy F, Jongmans D (2001) Application and processing of geophysical images for mapping faults. Comput Geosci 27(9):1031–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. EGSMA (1981) Geological map of Egypt, scale 1: 2000000. The Egyptian Geological Survey and Mineral Authority, Cairo, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  15. El-Baz F (1995) Utilizing satellite images for ground water exploration in fracture zone aquifers. In Proceedings of the International Conference on water resources management in arid countries. Muscat, Oman, 2:419–427Google Scholar
  16. El-Haddad AE (2002) Application of seismic travel time tomography to study the subsurface geologic sections in Kharga area, Western Desert, Egypt: (a case study). Bull Fac Sci Assiut Univ 31:153–165Google Scholar
  17. El-Haddad AE (2003) P- and S-wave measurements for the study of lithology and water potentiality in north Darb-El-Arbaeen area, Western Desert, Egypt. Paper presented at the 3rd international conference on the Geology of Africa, Assiut, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  18. El-Haddad A, Ibrahim HA, Bakheit AA, Saad GA (2009) Application of 2-d homogeneous functions method for automatic interpretation of selected faults using shallow seismic data in Esh El-Mallaha basin, Eastern Desert, Egypt. Paper presented at the 4th Maghrebian Congress of Applied Geophysics, TunisGoogle Scholar
  19. Garson MS, Shalaby IM (1976) Precambrian-Lower Paleozoic plate tectonics and metallogenesis in the Red Sea region. Geological Association of Canada, Spec. Pap., 14, 573–596Google Scholar
  20. Garson MS, Krs M (1976) Geophysical and geological evidence of the relationship of Red Sea transverse tectonics to ancient fractures. Geol Soc Am Bull 87(2):169–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gomaa MA, Hamouda AA, Abdelfattah ME, Emara MM, El-Sabbah MMB (2013) Assessment of hydrogeochemical processes affecting groundwater quality in the area between Safaga and El-Quseir, Eastern Desert, Egypt. Middle East J Appl Sci 3(4):129–142Google Scholar
  22. Heath, R., Vanstone, S., Swallow, J., Ayyad, M., Amin, M., Huggins, P., et al. (1998). Renewed exploration in the offshore north Red Sea Region, Egypt. In Proceedings of the 14th Petroleum Conference, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Cairo, 16, 34Google Scholar
  23. Issawi B, Francis M, El-Hennawy M, Mehanna A (1969) Contribution to the structure and phosphate deposits of Quseir area. Geol Surv Egypt 50:35Google Scholar
  24. Khalil SM, McClay KR (2002) Extensional fault-related folding, northwestern Red Sea, Egypt. J Struct Geol 24(4):743–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Khalil SM, McClay KR (2009) Structural control on syn-rift sedimentation, northwestern Red Sea margin, Egypt. Mar Pet Geol 26(6):1018–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mackenzie G, Shannon P, Jacob A, Morewood N, Makris J, Gaye M et al (2002) The velocity structure of the sediments in the southern Rockall Basin: results from new wide-angle seismic modelling. Mar Pet Geol 19(8):989–1003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McKenzie D, Davies D, Molnar P (1970) Plate tectonics of the Red Sea and east Africa. Nature 226(5242):243–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. MDA Federal (2004) Landsat GeoCover ETM+ 2000 Edition Mosaics (Tiles: N-35-25, N-35-30, N-36-25 and N-36-30. ETM-EarthSat-MrSID). USGS, Sioux Falls, South DakotaGoogle Scholar
  29. Meshref W (1990) Tectonic framework. In: Said R (ed) The geology of Egypt. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 113–155Google Scholar
  30. Metawi MMA (2017) Geophysical data interpretation of Duwi area, Central Eastern desert of Egypt. M.Sc. Thesis. Faculty of Science, South Valley University, Egypt, 118pGoogle Scholar
  31. Montenat C, D'Estevou PO, Purser BH, Burollet P-F, Jarrige J-J, Orszag-Sperber F et al (1988) Tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the Gulf of Suez and the northwestern Red Sea. Tectonophysics 153(1–4):161–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moustafa AR (1997) Controls on the development and evolution of transfer zones: the influence of basement structure and sedimentary thickness in the Suez rift and Red Sea. J Struct Geol 19(6):755–768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oblogina TI, Piip VB (1974) Criteria for identification and interpretation method of seismic waves in the case of folded-block models of the earth's crust in collected methods of geophysical investigation of the oceans. Nauka (in Russian):54–65Google Scholar
  34. Piip, V.B. (1984). New methods of interpretation of seismic time fields in media with variable velocities. Vestnik Moskovskogo Univ. Ser. 4: Geol., 3, 86–95Google Scholar
  35. Piip VB (1991) Local reconstruction of seismic refraction sections on the basis of homogeneous functions. Izvestiya, Academy of Sciences, USSR, Physics of Solid Earth, 10:844–850Google Scholar
  36. Piip VB (2001) 2D inversion of refraction traveltime curves using homogeneous functions. Geophys Prospect 49(4):461–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Piip VB, Rodnikov AG, Buvaev NA (2012a) The deep structure of the lithosphere along the Caucasus-South Caspian Basin-Apsheron Threshold-Middle-Caspian Basin-Turan plate seismic profile. Mosc Univ Geol Bull 67(2):125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Piip VB, Tsydypova LR, Melikhov VR, Akhmetov AA (2012b) Geological structures of the Norilsk copper-nickel deposit: a new interpretation of the seismic refraction data. Mosc Univ Geol Bull 67(3):185–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Piip VB, Efimova EA (2014) Application of the homogeneous function and modeling methods for reconstruction of a Tibetan geological section from a travel-time inversion. Mosc Univ Geol Bull 69(5):365–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Piip VB, El-Haddad A (2008) Automatic interpretation of shallow seismic data with homogeneous function method to investigate landslide body of Dallackau area, northern Ossetiya-Allaniya, Russia. J Appl Geophys 7(1):321–337Google Scholar
  41. Plaziat J-C, Baltzer F, Choukri A, Conchon O, Freytet P, Orszag-Sperber F, Raguideau A, Reyss JL (1998) Quaternary marine and continental sedimentation in the northern Red Sea and Gulf of Suez (Egyptian coast): influences of rift tectonics, climatic changes and sea-level fluctuations. In: Purser BH, Bosence DWJ (eds) Sedimentation and tectonics in rift basins Red Sea-Gulf of Aden. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 537–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Red Sea Governorate and DRC (2007) Frame of Development of Bedouins Communities. (Unpublished Report Prepared by Desert Research Center, Cairo, Egypt)Google Scholar
  43. Riad S, El-Haddad AE, Abbas MA, Said AH (2017) Structural modeling of seismic refraction investigations at Wadi Beda El Atshan area in the Eastern Desert, Egypt. Int J Geophys Geochem 4(1):1–17Google Scholar
  44. Ruelleu S, Moreau F, Bour O, Gapais D, Martelet G (2010) Impact of gently dipping discontinuities on basement aquifer recharge: an example from Ploemeur (Brittany, France). J Appl Geophys 70:161–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Said R (1990) The geology of Egypt. Balkema, Rotterdam 729pGoogle Scholar
  46. Steckler MS, Berthelot F, Lyberis N, Le Pichon X (1988) Subsidence in the Gulf of Suez: implications for rifting and plate kinematics. Tectonophysics 153(1–4):249–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sultan M, Wagdy A, Manocha N, Sauck W, Abdel Gelil K, Youssef A, Becker R, Milewski A, El Alfy Z, Jones C (2008) An integrated approach for identifying aquifers in transcurrent fault systems: the Najd shear system of the Arabian Nubian shield. J Hydrol 349:475–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sultan M, Yousef A, Metwally S, Becker R, Milewski A, Sauck W et al (2011) Red Sea rifting controls on aquifer distribution: constraints from geochemical, geophysical, and remote sensing data. Geol Soc Am Bull 123(5–6):911–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tsydypova LR, Goev AG, Piip VB (2012) A seismic section of the upper mantle along the FENNOLORA profile (Baltic Shield) on the basis of the 2D inhomogeneous model of a medium. Mosc Univ Geol Bull 67(5):314–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Valentine MJ (1985) Structure and tectonics of the southern Gebel Duwi area, Eastern Desert of Egypt. Contribution no. 53, Department of Geology and Geography, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 156pGoogle Scholar
  51. Younes A, & McClay K (2002) Role of basement fabric on rift architecture: Gulf of Suez–Red Sea, Egypt. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 86:1003–1026Google Scholar
  52. Yousif M, Sracek O (2016) Integration of geological investigations with multi-GIS data layers for water resources assessment in arid regions: El Ambagi Basin, Eastern Desert, Egypt. Environ Earth Sci 75(8):684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yousif M, Henselowsky F, Bubenzer O (2018) Palaeohydrology and its impact on groundwater in arid environments: Gebel Duwi and its vicinities, Eastern Desert, Egypt. CATENA 171:29–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Youssef MI (1957) Upper cretaceous rocks in Kosseir area. Bulletin de l’Institute du Desert d’Egypt, Cairo, 7, 35–63Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt

Personalised recommendations