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Rise and demise of the new lakes of Sahara

Mohamed G. Abdelsalam, Ahmed M. Youssef, Sayed M. Arafat and Mohammed Alfarhan
Rise and demise of the new lakes of Sahara
Geosphere (Boulder, CO) (April 2008) 4 (2): 375-386


Multispectral remote sensing data and digital elevation models were used to examine the spatial and temporal evolution of the New Lakes of Sahara in southern Egypt. These lakes appeared in September 1998, when water spilled northwestward toward the Tushka depression due to an unusual water rise in Lake Nasser induced by high precipitation in the Ethiopian Highlands. Five lakes were formed in local depressions underlain by an impermeable Paleocene shale and chalk formation. The lakes developed through three stages. (1) A rise stage occurred from September 1998 to August 2001; the area covered by the lakes reached approximately 1586 km (super 2) . In this stage the rate of water supply far exceeded the rate of water loss through evaporation. This stage was characterized by an early phase (August 1998-August 1999) when the area covered by the lakes increased by approximately 75 km (super 2) /month. This was followed by a late phase (August 1999-August 2001), in which area increase averaged approximately 28 km (super 2) /month. (2) A steady-state stage occurred from August 2001 to August 2003, during which the area covered by the lakes remained relatively unchanged and water lost through evaporation was continuously replaced by water supply from Lake Nasser. (3) A demise stage occurred from August 2003 to April 2007, during which water supply from Lake Nasser stopped completely and water was continuously evaporating. The area covered by the lakes decreased to approximately 800 km (super 2) with an average loss of approximately 17 km (super 2) /month. If this trend continues, the New Lakes of Sahara will disappear completely by March 2011. The spatial distribution of the New Lakes of Sahara is strongly controlled by morphologically defined east-, north-, northeast-, and northwest-trending faults. The water recharge of the Nubian aquifer by the New Lakes of Sahara is insignificant; much of the lakes' area is above an impermeable formation.

EISSN: 1553-040X
Serial Title: Geosphere (Boulder, CO)
Serial Volume: 4
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Rise and demise of the new lakes of Sahara
Affiliation: Missouri University of Science and Technology, Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Rolla, MO, United States
Pages: 375-386
Published: 200804
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
References: 15
Accession Number: 2008-082506
Categories: GeomorphologyApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., 1 table, geol. sketch map
N22°48'00" - N23°41'60", E30°11'60" - E31°23'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Sohag University, EGY, EgyptNational Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, EGY, EgyptUniversity of Texas at Dallas, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200824
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