Skip to main content

Thickness variation of the sedimentary cover in the South Western Desert of Egypt as deduced from Bouguer gravity and drill-hole data using neural network method


The Bouguer anomaly map of scale 1:500,000 and the lithological logs of more than 120 deep wells distributed in the Southern part of Western Desert of Egypt were used to determine the thickness of the sedimentary cover containing the main sandstone water formation. The predominant structures affecting both the basement rock and the sedimentary cover were also studied. Gravity stripping approach was applied to separate density anomalies within the sedimentary fill from the influence of deeper levels in the crystalline crust. The study indicated that the surface of the basement rock is highly rugged and mostly controlled by structures causing variation of the sedimentary cover thickness from location to other all over the area. Isopach maps were constructed based on the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model which is considered a best method for that operation. The maximum thickness of sandstone formations is recorded at west Oweinat, southwest of Aswan, Dakhla oasis and west of Qena town. As this formation is the main water aquifer in the study area, therefore these locations are characterized by the presence of huge amount of ground water. Accordingly, these areas must be taking the priority in the programs of sustainable development in southern Egypt.


  • Abu El-Ata, A. S. and S. H. Abd El-Nabi, Mapping the structural elements dissecting the Cretaceous rock units of the Qattara depressions area, western Desert, Egypt; using three-dimensional gravity modeling, Geological Survey of Egypt, Proc. Of 4th Ann. M., pp. 103–123, 1985.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arbogast, J. S., M. H. Franklin, M. L. Butler, and K. A. Thompson, Enhancement of limited log suites using neural networks, SPE, Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, pp. 10, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barakat, M. G. and G. S. Milad, Subsurface geology of the Dakhla oasis, Egypt, J. Geol., 10(2), 145–154, 1966.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernau, R., D. P. F. Darbyshire, G. Franz, U. Harms, A. Huth, N. Mansour, Pasteel, and H. Schandelmeier, Petrology, geochemistry and structural development of the Bir Safsaf-Aswan uplift, Southern Egypt. J. Afr. Earth Sci., 6(1), 79–90, 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  • Conoco Coral, Geological Map of Egypt, Scale 1:500,000, Cairo, Egypt, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  • Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (E. G. P. C), Bouguer anomaly map of South Western desert of Egypt, scale 1:500,000, 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  • El-Etr, H. A., M. A. Yehia, and H. Dowidar, Fault pattern in the South Western Desert of Egypt; Mid., F., Res. Cent Ain Shams Univ. Sci. Res. Series Vol. 2, pp. 123–151, 1982.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haykin, S., Neural Network and Learning Machines, Prentice Hall PTR Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA, 860 p, 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heinl, M. and U. Thorweihe, Groundwater resources and management in SW Egypt, in Geopotential and Ecology, Meissner, M. and P. Wycisk, 99–121, Cremlingen-Destedt, Germany, 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hendriks, F., P. Lugar, H. Kallenbach, and J. H. Schroeder, Stratigraphical and sedimentological framework of the Kharga—Sinn-EL-Kaddab stretch, Western and Southern part of the upper Nile basin, Western Desert, Egypt, Berliner geowiss., Abh., (A), 50, 117–151, 1984.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nettleton, L. L., Gravity and Magnetics in oil prospecting, 464 p, McGraw Hill Book Co., New Yourk, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parasniss, D. S., Principles of applied geophysics, 5th ed., p. 429 Chapman & Hall, 2–6 Boundary Row, London Se 18 Hn, UK, 1997.

    Google Scholar 

  • Riad, S., Shear zones in north Egypt interpreted from gravity data, Geophys., 24(6), 1207–1214, 1977.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Said, R., The geology of Egypt, 337 p, Amstrdam-New York, Elsiver Publishing Co., 1962.

    Google Scholar 

  • Senosy, M., Application of density contrast stripping in studying subsurface geologic structures: a case study El-Kharga Oasis, western Desert, Egypt, Egyptian J. Geol., 47, 387–404, 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  • Telford, W. M., L. P. Gelbart, R. E. Sheriff, and D. A. Keys, Applied geophysics, 770 p, Cambridge Univ., press, Cambridge, 1990.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wycisk, P., Contribution to the subsurface geology of the Misaha trough and the Southern Dakhla Basin, Berliner geowiss., Abh., (A), 75.1, 137–150, 1987.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mohamed Abdel Zaher.

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zaher, M.A., Senosy, M.M., Youssef, M.M. et al. Thickness variation of the sedimentary cover in the South Western Desert of Egypt as deduced from Bouguer gravity and drill-hole data using neural network method. Earth Planet Sp 61, 659–674 (2009).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Bouguer anomaly map
  • isopach map
  • Dahkla
  • Kharga
  • Oweinat
  • Aswan
  • Bir Safsaf