The Karstified Carbonate Platforms in the Western DesertOpen image in new window

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


The Karstified Carbonate Platforms occupy vast areas in the Western Desert (WD). They are divided into two groups according to age: the Palaeocene-Eocene platforms occupying the eastern part of the WD, and the Miocene ones covering the northern part. This chapter deals with the first group because it accommodates a variety of forms representing the carbonate platforms compared to the Miocene plateaus. The Palaeocene-Eocene platforms are composed of a succession of beds of carbonates and clastics, where limestone/chalk covers their surfaces. Height ranges between +500 m a.s.l on Abu Tartur Plateau and 47 m a.s.l in El-Bahr Depression. Karst forms are dominant, due to the dominance of carbonate rocks on the surface of the ground and the past pluvials that have prevailed in Egypt since the Late Eocene. Other forms include those of eolian, structural, and fluvial origin. Of these forms, bedrock flutes of various sizes from minute (a few mm deep) to giant flutes (several meters deep and several kilometers long) cover wide areas in various localities. Although wind erosion played a major role in the development of most of them, karstification initiated the development of the large and mega types. Remnants of an ancient drainage system can be observed in all the platforms; inverted wadis (Oligocene?) characterize the central parts of the platforms, to the west of Ghard Abu Moharik.


Carbonate karstified platforms Cone/Karst Hills Terra rossa soils Silica gravel sheets and concretions Kharafish Rock yardangs Giant flutes 


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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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