This award is for support of a research project by Dr. Robert Stern, Center for Lithospheric Studies, University of Texas, Dallas (UTD), Dallas, Texas and Dr. Mamdouh Abdeen, National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS), Cairo, Egypt. They plan to study the use of remotely sensed geographical data to help in the development in Upper Egypt, specifically the Aswan-Kom Ombo-Gallaba Plain region. The two investigators will focus on understanding mid-Pleistocene drainage reorganization resulting from tectonic uplift of the Nubian Swell, and on identification of new groundwater resources. The project will have three components: 1) Investigation of paleodrainages using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and trenching; 2) Mapping of surface and shallow subsurface drainages and structures using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and SPOT images and Shuttle Imaging Radar and 3) Building a Geographical Information Science (GIS) database. Fieldwork will focus on evaluating the hypothesis that the Gallaba Plain is underlain by a buried river channel, which drained the Eastern Desert. Processing and interpretation of remote sensing imagery will provide regional perspective for understanding drainage reorganization and will be used as a layer in the GIS. The two scientists plan to build up a complete GIS database of an 80 km wide corridor flanking the Nile and extending from Aswan north. This project will be a continuation of joint activities by UTD in Texas and the NARSS in Egypt.
Scope: This proposal brings together new technology, GPR, and remote sensing to create a database that can be used to determine the Pleistocene history of drainage in the Gallaba plains region. A million years of climate change in Egypt are represented by several different generations of drainage in separate parts of the desert and Nile valley, and this research is to test one of the areas where an old river channel may exist. Such an understanding will potentially aid in the identification of new groundwater reserves. The research will ultimately lead to an improved supply of water for this region of Egypt, and possibly to an improved evaluation of natural hazards. The developed database will be of use for scientific studies and also for future development efforts. The two teams are qualified and have a successful record of past collaboration, and the project has the advantage of involving U.S. junior researchers and graduate students. There will be training of U.S. and Egyptian researchers in the use of the GPR and in the development and use of the GIS database. This project is being supported under the US-Egypt Joint Fund Program, which provides grants to scientists and engineers in both countries to carry out these cooperative activities.