A fault pattern has been mapped in plan view on part of the Nile cone by means of long-range (13 km) side-scan sonar. It is interpreted with the aid of air-gun profiles as consisting of a belt of normal faults, the largest of which define the upslope edges of complex grabens, and some of which are growth faults. The orientation and structure of many of the grabens suggest an origin due to mass downslope movement and diapirism. It is possible, however, that the location of the belt of faulting was controlled by a more deep-seated tensional force related to a north-northeast movement of the Sinai block, particularly as some of the faults have a northwest trend parallel to the Gulf of Suez rift.
Other observed features are meandering channels and broad patches of contrasting acoustic surface reflectivity consisting of low rises with small-scale roughness separated by hollows that are floored by smooth-surfaced soft mud.