Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Sabkhas of the Bitter-Lakes, Egypt: Composition and origin

  • Ashraf M. A. Wali


Sabkhas adjoin the Bitter-Lakes area of Egypt (part of the Suez Canal complex), and occupy the topographic low areas east of the lakes. Each sabkha is subdivided into three zones: intertidal, transitional, and supratidal. Each of these zones has its own sedimentological characteristics, with a specific soil profile, and with marked transitional areas between them. The broad transitional zones arise from a seasonal areal expansion of the saline pools that occupy portions of the sabkha surface, particularly in winter. Thus, areas of mixed ancestry evolve because of the repeatedly shifting boundaries.

Halite and gypsum are the main evaporitic minerals formed within the sabkha soil profiles. Gypsum is the major cementing material within the soil, whereas halite is a summer precipitate in the ephemeral solar ponds and in the uppermost portion of the soil. Aragonite is associated with consolidated algal mats that display film, crenulated, and stratiform textures. The source of the water for the sabkha mostly is storm and tide-driven marine fluid. The peripheral part of the sabkha is in the flood recharge zone and receives a mixture of marine and non-marine waters, producing finely micritic dolomite. Chemical analysis of the sediments and brines confirm the mineralogical observations.


Gypsum Halite Evaporite Stromatolite Dolomitization 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashraf M. A. Wali
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Geology Department Faculty of ScienceCairo University-GIZACairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of GeologyQueens College (C.U.N.Y.)FlushingU.S.A.

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