Sand movement patterns in the Western Desert of Egypt: An environmental concern

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Wind action is the most dominant agent for erosion and deposition in the vast Western Desert of Egypt. Analysis of wind data from seven meteorological stations distributed along the Western Desert reveals that this desert is characterized by high-energy wind environments along the northern and southern edges and low-energy wind environments throughout the rest of the desert. Accordingly, sand drift potential follows the pattern of wind energy. Maximum sand drift potential was observed at the southern edge (571 vector units, which equals 40 m3/m width/year). Sand drift direction was observed towards the southeast except at the southern part of the desert where the trend of sand movement was towards southwest. The major dune type recognized on satellite images was the simple linear type. Linear dunes are generally associated with bimodal wind regime. Rates of sand drift potential and sand dune migration were greatest at East of Owinate region at the extreme southern part of the desert. Measurements of crescentic sand dune advance from two satellite images reveal a maximum advance rate of about 9 m/year at the southern part of the desert. Dune movement creates potential hazard to the infrastructures in this open desert.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1127
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Drift potential
  • Landsat
  • Sand dunes
  • Western Desert

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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