Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, 11:558 | Cite as

Deposition in a changing paleogulf: evidence from the Pliocene–Quaternary sedimentary succession of the Nile Delta, Egypt

  • Emad Sallam
  • Bahay Issawi
  • Refaat Osman
  • Dmitry RubanEmail author
Original Paper


Sedimentary complexes of ancient gulfs provide valuable information about paleoenvironmental dynamics. The study of several Pliocene–Pleistocene sections allowed reconstruction of the regional stratigraphical framework in the southwestern fringes of the Nile Delta. The Kafr El-Shiekh, the Gar El-Muluk, and the Kom El-Shelul formations of the Zanclean Age and the Wastani Formation of the Piacenzian Age constitute the Pliocene sedimentary succession in the study area. The establishment of 11 facies types related to 5 facies associations coupled with the results of the stratigraphical study indicate the existence of a paleogulf corresponding to the modern delta and lower valley of the Nile. This Nile Paleogulf appeared and reached its maximum spatial extent in the beginning of the Pliocene. Then, it retreated gradually and disappeared before the end of this epoch when alluvial sedimentation reestablished. There was significant flux of siliciclastic material to the study area. The Zanclean Flood in the Mediterranean Sea allowed marine incursion in the study area where the river valley incised during the precedent Messinian Salinity Crisis. Regional tectonic uplift and filling of the accommodation space with siliciclastic material from the eroded land were the main controls on the paleogulf evolution. Strengthened glaciation triggered global sea level fall, and alluvial deposition dominated the study area in the late Pliocene–Pleistocene.


Facies association Lithostratigraphy Sediment provenance Late Cenozoic Nile Delta 



The authors gratefully thank A.M. Al-Amri (Saudi Arabia) and B. Bádenas (Spain) for their editorial support, the anonymous reviewer for constructive suggestions, and S.M. Ahmed (Egypt) for his help during the fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emad Sallam
    • 1
  • Bahay Issawi
    • 2
  • Refaat Osman
    • 1
  • Dmitry Ruban
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceBenha UniversityBenhaEgypt
  2. 2.Geological Survey of EgyptCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Cherepovets State UniversityCherepovetsRussia

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