Late Miocene karst system at Sheikh Abdallah, between Bahariya and Farafra, Western Desert, Egypt: Implications for palaeoclimate and geomorphology


  • H.A. WANAS Faculty of Science, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt.
  • M. PICKFORD Collège de FranceGDR 983 et UMR 5143 du CNRS, Case postale 38, 8, rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.
  • P. MEIN Département des Sciences de la Terre, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon I 27-43 Boulevard du 11 novembre 1918, 69621, Villeurbanne, France.
  • H. SOLIMAN Faculty of Science, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt.
  • L. SEGALEN Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6JE 2477 Biominéralisations et Paléoenvironnements, case postale 116, 4 Place Jussieu 75252 Paris cedex 05, France.


Late Miocene, Egypt, Karst, Palaeontology, Palaeoclimatology, Geomorphology


The extensive spelean deposits in the Western Desert of Egypt at Crystal Mountain (Gebel Bellorat) are considered to be 11-10 Ma, confirming the ‘Vallesian’ estimate made by Heissig (1982). Several new faunal elements have been discovered including anurans, snakes, soricids, bats, galagids, hystricids and glirids. This fauna indicates that the region was appreciably more humid 11-10 Ma than it is today, with at least 750 mm and possibly as much as 1,200 mm mean annual rainfall. The role of karst processes in the development of the oases of the Western Desert that may have been underestimated by previous researchers is emphasized.