Application of Geoelectric Technique in Groundwater Protection of Quaternary Aquifer in Wadi El Natrun, Egypt

Mohamed F. Bedair *

Environmental Studies and Research Institute, Sadat City University, Cairo, Egypt.

Rifai I. Rifai

Environmental Studies and Research Institute, Sadat City University, Cairo, Egypt.

Ahmed Gamal

Environmental Studies and Research Institute, Sadat City University, Cairo, Egypt.

Mostafa S. M. Barseem

Geophysical Exploration Department, Desert Research Center, Egypt.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Qualitative and quantitative interpretations of the accessible geoelectrical resistivity data were conducted in the area located to the west of Nile Delta on both sides of the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, between latitudes 30.190816° and 30.745892° N and longitudes 29.797607° and 30.702070° E, in the northern Western Desert of Egypt. The study area is covered by thick sedimentary exposures ranging from the Miocene to the Quaternary period. Geological factors such as lithology and geological structures significantly influence the groundwater in the study area. The Quaternary, Pliocene, and Miocene eras make up the majority of strata in the study region that require water.

The study conducted twenty-three vertical electrical resistivity soundings using the Schlumberger array to define the shallow subsurface geological inferences and investigate the possibilities of finding underground water accumulations and its contamination with clay lenses. The examination of the obtained electric resistivity values revealed the segmentation of the examined section into five geoelectrical units with lateral variations in thicknesses, lithologies, and features. The five geoelectrical units had different compositions, with the first surface unit consisting of silt clay and relatively high resistivity sands and gravels that have been altered laterally. After the surface unit, resistivity ranges from relatively modest to high. Intercalation of sand and clay occurs in the second unit, followed by lenses of relatively medium-resistance coarse sand and clay in the third and fourth units, possibly forming an aquifer, and finally relatively low-resistance sand and clay in the fifth unit.

Due to the haphazard drilling of hundreds of water wells, significant hydrogeological and environmental issues, such as soil salinization, water head decline, and groundwater salinity deterioration, have occurred. These issues have attracted significant expenditures in the field of land reclamation, both on small and large-scale projects. The study area is divided into five main geoelectrical layers observed along this cross area, as follows:

The first surface geoelectrical layer (layer A) is characterized by relatively high resistivity ranging from 8.21 to 595.3 Ohm.m. The thickness of this layer varies from 2.1 to 8.86 m. This layer represents the dry surface cover of the area and consists of gravel, sand, and silt clay.

The second geoelectrical layer (layer B) represents the dry layer lying above the water-bearing formation. It generally consists of sand and clay intercalation. The resistivity of this layer varies from 3.49 to 91.18 Ohm.m, and the thickness of this layer ranges from 17.13 to 38.3 m.

The third geoelectrical layer (layer C1) is the water-bearing formation that generally consists of coarse sand and clay. The resistivity of this layer varies from 4.41 to 37.5 Ohm.m, and the thickness ranges from 10.38 to 54 m.

The fourth geoelectric layer (layer C2) represents the lower part of the water-bearing formation. It consists of clayey sand and clay. The resistivity of this layer varies from 1.83 to 30.1 Ohm.m, and the thickness ranges from 17.78 to 31.35 m.

The last geoelectric layer (layer D) represents the lower layer of investigation, consisting mainly of clay. The resistivity of this layer is generally low, varying within a narrow range of 26.7-39.8 Ohm.m.

Finally the current study highlights the necessity of conducting in-depth geomorphological assessment studies before developing new reclamation projects, in addition to soil and water assessment.

Keywords: Vertical electrical soundings, groundwater, Wadi El Natrun, aquifer protection

How to Cite

Bedair , M. F., Rifai , R. I., Gamal , A., & Barseem , M. S. M. (2023). Application of Geoelectric Technique in Groundwater Protection of Quaternary Aquifer in Wadi El Natrun, Egypt. Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International, 27(2), 29–48.


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