Reconstruction Of Paleodrainage Patterns In Western Arabia And Eastren Egypt During The Development Of The Red Sea Rift
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractIt has been shown that rivers flowed westward from the country of Jordan, across Israel, to the Mediterranean Sea prior to late Cenozoic Dead Sea rifting. This raises the question of whether rivers may have drained westward from western Arabia to Egypt, and into the paleo- Nile river system prior to opening of the Red Sea. We used remote imagery to map river drainages on both sides of the northern Rea Sea Rift and within the Sinai Peninsula. We found that mouths of major wadis draining into the Rea Sea Rift align on both sides. Additionally, we found a multitude of wind gaps along all major drainages, consistent with a strong influence of tectonic uplift and subsidence on drainage evolution (rift flank uplift and opening of the Red Sea Rift). Finally, we documented intersecting north-south and east-west oriented drainages in eastern Egypt. We hypothesize that rivers flowed westward from Arabia and into the northwardflowing paleo-Nile river system prior to opening of the Red Sea. Rift flank uplift in eastern Egypt resulted in drainage reversal (westward to eastward) and capturing of formerly northward flowing paleo-Nile tributaries by the newly established eastward flowing drainage system. Future research aims to test these hypotheses by conducting more detailed mapping of the geomorphology, reconstructing paleo-topography under the assumption of flexural rift-flank uplift, and numerical models of landscape evolution.