Holocene evolution of the northeastern corner of the Nile Delta

A. Sneh, T. Weissbrod, A. Ehrlich, A. Horowitz, S. Moshkovitz, A. Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The constructive phase of the modern Nile Delta, as manifested in a 48-m section drilled east of the Suez Canal, commenced in very early Holocene times. Sands rich in marine fauna were deposited in the littoral zone and the shoreline was more than 20 km landward of its present-day position. Subsequently, clays and silts were dumped from the Nile distributaries and the marine faunal spectrum became very limited and brackish. Later in early and middle Holocene times the sediments deposited were rich in freshwater, delta-plain diatoms and pollen and in allochthonous fern spores from the tropics, indicating proximity of a distributary mouth. The middle part of the section (22.5-17.5 m) is very poor in faunal and floral remains; pollen grains from sabkha vegetation are abundant. The environment, which seems lagoonal and slightly hypersaline, is related to the sea regression in middle Holocene times. Euryhaline pelecypods, dating from about 3000 yr B.P., are abundant around the 8-m depth. Upward, there is an increase in pollen grains from sabkhas; the section is poor in diatoms and those present are mostly euryhaline and lagoonal. Allochthonous spores derived from the nearby Pelusiac Branch are abundant. Between 3000 and 2000 yr B.P. the constructive phase of the modern delta terminated and winnowed sands began accreting in front of the delta plain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-206
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1986


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