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Hinz, Emily A.1, Robert J. Stern1, Allison K. Thurmond1, Mohamed G. Abdelsalam1, Mamdouh M. Abdeen2 
(1) University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 
(2) National Authority for Remote Sensing, Cairo, Egypt

ABSTRACT: When Did the Nile Begin?: Remote Sensing Analysis of Paleo-Drainages Near Kom Ombo, Upper Egypt

The geomorphology of Southern Egypt is dominated by numerous dry riverbeds. Many of these wadis are relic channels that formed part of the Late Miocene drainage system that flowed westward from the Red Sea Hills and drained present day Egypt. This older E-W trending drainage was disrupted and reworked by the modern north-flowing Nile in the mid-to-late Pleistocene. Optical and radar data along with digital elevation models (DEM) extracted from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data were used to map and study this drainage reorganization chronology. 
This study focused on the Kom Ombo region on the northern flank of the Nubian Swell. Remote sensing images revealed that north-flowing wadis, which may owe their aggressive headwater erosion to development of the east-west trending Kom Ombo graben, captured the older west-flowing streams. The Kubbaniya Nile, composed of Wadi Kubbaniya and Wadi Abu Suberia, once flowed east to northwest and into the area now covered by Quaternary gravel and sand where its trace is lost in SIR-C images. SRTM DEMs showing the present day drainage suggest that a subtle channel still runs north through the Gallaba Plain to rejoin the Nile upstream. 
Research indicates important neotectonic movements of the E-W trending Nubian Swell centered on the Egypt-Sudan border during Plio-Pleistocene times caused a massive reorganization of drainages in southern Egypt allowing the Nile to flow north across the swell. These paleochannels are promising locations for identifying and exploring regional groundwater resources.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.