Sructural Control Of Groundwater Flow In The Sinai Peninsula: Integrated Studies

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Lamees Mohamed1,2, Mohamed Sultan1 and Abotalib Zaki Abotalib Farag1, (1)Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, United States, (2)Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
The crystalline complex and overlying sedimentary sequences in southern and central Sinai are highly dissected by numerous faults, shear systems, and dikes, hereafter referred to as discontinuities. Understanding the distribution of these discontinuities, their cross cutting relations, and the hydraulic gradient gives clues as to the distribution of water resources in the area. In the study area, extensional tectonics has been active as early as the Precambrian era as evidenced by the widely distributed dikes, bimodal volcanics, and dip-slip faults and shear zones of varying ages. These extensional tectonics and associated structural elements enhance the porosity and permeability of Sinai’s basement and overlying sedimentary sequences. To investigate the impact of the discontinuities on groundwater flow, the following steps were conducted: 1) the spatial and temporal precipitation events over the basement complex were identified from TRMM data; 2) observations extracted from temporal change in backscattering coefficient in radar (Envisat ASAR radar scenes) were used to identify water-bearing discontinuities; 3) the discontinuities were delineated using false color images that were generated from ASTER, SIR C and band ratio images, 4) field observations, Very Low Frequency (VLF), magnetic investigations, and stable isotopic analyses for groundwater samples were then applied to refine satellite-based observations and selections, test the validity of our satellite-based methodologies for locating sub-vertical discontinuities, and decipher their role as conduits or barriers for groundwater flow. Findings include: (1) sub-vertical faults and shear zones and highly weathered chilled margins of sub-vertical mafic dykes are water-bearing and are conducive for groundwater flow; felsic dykes are massive (do not promote groundwater flow), (2) groundwater flow generally follows the topographic relief, but locally the flow is controlled by the discontinuities, (3) discontinuities that are sub-parallel to groundwater flow direction act as preferred pathways for groundwater flow, whereas those that intersect groundwater flow directions at high angles act as barriers, raise groundwater level in the upstream, and locally they redirect groundwater flow to align with their trends.