The active Kalabsha Fault Zone in Southern Egypt: detecting faulting activity using field-structural data and EMR-technique, and implications for seismic hazard assessment

  • Z. Hamimi
  • W. HagagEmail author
  • R. Osman
  • M. El-Bialy
  • I. Abu El-Nadr
  • M. Fadel
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Current Advances in Geology of North Africa


Since November 14, 1981 earthquake (ML 5.6), about 60 km southwest of Aswan High Dam, the seismic hazard raised and the Aswan Local Seismic Network (ALSN) has recorded and precisely monitored the seismic activity in the vicinity of the High Dam. The major source of seismic activity in this region is the active Kalabsha Fault Zone (KFZ). The focal mechanism solutions indicate that two nodal planes strike E to ENE, with subordinate right-lateral strike-slip component and N to NNW, with left-lateral movement. The directions of tectonic extension (T) and compression (P) are NNE-SSW and NNW-SSE, respectively. Structural investigations and application of the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) technique reveal ongoing activity on the KFZ. Kinematic evolution of the KFZ implies faulting events with a strong movement intervened with periods of severe crushing, grinding, and even pulverization. Such tectonic processes have resulted in fault-breccia and fault-gouge. Results obtained from the present study indicate that the KFZ is not a single transcurrent wrench fault with dextral sense of movement but, instead, it represents a major dextral transtensional shear or fault zone deforming southern Egypt and plays a significant role in the structural shaping of the area to the west of Nasser Lake. Furthermore, the activity on the KFZ is most probably controlling the seismic cycle in the area. Topographic expression of KFZ is evidently realized at Sinn El-Kaddab scarp, as well as at Gebel Marawa. Frequent surface rupturing and newly recorded strong seismic activity advocate faulting reactivation supported by the EMR data, which suggest an active fault system oriented ENE-WSW and NNW-SSE affecting the KFZ, with a maximum horizontal stress (σ1) perturbing between ENE and NNW directions.


Kalabsha Fault Zone Seismotectonic activity EMR Focal plane mechanisms 



Authors would like to thank Prof. Awad Hassoup, Head of Seismology Department in the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), for great help and offering facilities for data to achieve this work. We are also grateful to Prof. Hesham Hussein, Head of National Data Center (NRIAG), for fruitful recommendations, and to Dr. Saud Abdallah in Seismology Department (NRIAG) for helpful cooperation.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Hamimi
    • 1
  • W. Hagag
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Osman
    • 1
  • M. El-Bialy
    • 2
  • I. Abu El-Nadr
    • 3
  • M. Fadel
    • 3
  1. 1.Geology Department, Faculty of ScienceBenha UniversityBenhaEgypt
  2. 2.Geology Department, Faculty of SciencePort Said UniversityPort SaidEgypt
  3. 3.Seismology DepartmentNational Research Institute of Astronomy and GeophysicsHelwanEgypt

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