Overview of Fault Zones Based on Remote Sensing Data as Contribution to the Safety of Infrastructure and Land Use in Southern Egypt


Theilen-Willige, B. (2024). Overview of Fault Zones Based on Remote Sensing Data as Contribution to the Safety of Infrastructure and Land Use in Southern Egypt. Prevention and Treatment of Natural Disasters, 3(1), 17–50.


Part of a requisite for natural hazard awareness and damage prevention in Egypt is the detailed monitoring of surface fault zones. The inventory of active faults and their risk assessment is an essential contribution to the safety of settlements, land use and infrastructure (railroads, highways, pipelines) and to damage prevention. Thus, this study aims to contribute to the detection, inventory, and documentation of fault zones. Surface faulting hazard assessment considers any surface consequences caused by surface near faults such as abrupt horizontal and vertical displacements and rotations, or mass movements after stronger earthquakes. Long-term, aseismic, slow-creeping movements along fault zones have to be considered as well. Southern Egypt offers unique and optimal conditions for the research of fault zones and their different structural expressions and conditions because of the dry desert climate conditions and relatively low human influence on the landscape in extended areas, especially for the investigation of different types of faults, their interactions with each other and the outcropping rocks, and fault-related deformation structures. Volcanic activity has been influenced in the geologic past often by larger fault zones as dike intrusions, volcanic cones and plugs or craters occur concentrated along these zones of weakness facilitating the uprise of magma. Larger fault zones are crossing reservoir areas. Surface water intrusions into deep-seated faults have played a role in triggering earthquake swarms in the reservoir areas during the last decades. Mapping of active faults is not only an important but also a cost-intense task when carried out in the field or when using geodetic and geophysical data. In the scope of this study, fault detection was carried out based on different open-source satellite data (Landsat 8 and 9, Sentinel 2 optical data, Sentinel 1 and ALOSPASAR radar data, and Google Earth and Bing Map high-resolution satellite images) from the southern part of Egypt. Faults were digitized using ArcGIS and QGIS software. An inventory of fault-related structural features (depressions, ridges, rotation structures, etc.) and rift zones was elaborated based on remote sensing data. An overview of different types of faults and their related structures as well as their interactions with their host rock conditions could be achieved. By merging the inventory results with infrastructural and land use data, critical areas with potential damage risk were pointed out.


fault zones fault related structures remote sensing GIS southern-Egypt

Author Biography

retired from TU Berlin, Institute of Applied Geosciences


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