The Qattara DepressionOpen image in new window

  • Nabil Sayed Embabi
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)


Lying in the northern part of the Western Desert, the Qattara Depression is the largest (~45,000 km2) and deepest (−145 m) Depression in Egypt. It is also the nearest Depression to the Mediterranean Sea, with only 56 km separating them. The Depression is divided into two geomorphologic units: the escarpments and the floor. The escarpments bound the Depression Floor from the north and west, but the floor rises gradually in the east and south up to 200 m asl. Rising to ~200 m a.s.l, the escarpments overlook the floor by steep slopes, and are dissected by small, short wadis. The escarpments descend to the Depression Floor in a step-like form due to the effect of lithologic variations. Sabkhas, sand dunes of South Qattara Sand Sea and East Qattara Dune Field, salt crusts, and wadi fans are the dominant landforms of the floor. With the exception of two little oases, the Depression Floor is uninhabited due to the high salinity of discharged underground water. Geological and geomorphologic characteristics suggest that Qattara can be classified as a poly-genetic Depression, which started to develop after the retreat of the Middle Miocene Sea.


Qattara Depression Sabkhas Salt crusts Sand dunes 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of ArtsAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt

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