Preliminary seismic hazard assessment, shallow seismic refraction and resistivity sounding studies for future urban planning at the Gebel Umm Baraqa area, Egypt

Mohamed H. Khalil, Sherif M. Hanafy, Mohamed A. Gamal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Gebel Umm Baraqa Fan, west Gulf of Aqaba, Sinai, is one of the most important tourism areas in Egypt. However, it is located on the active Dead Sea-Gulf of Aqaba Levant transform fault system. Geophysical studies, including fresh water aquifer delineation, shallow seismic refraction, soil characterization and preliminary seismic hazard assessment, were conducted to help in future city planning. A total of 11 vertical electrical soundings (1000-3000 m maximum AB/2) and three bore-holes were drilled in the site for the analysis of ground water, total dissolved solids (TDS) and fresh water aquifer properties. The interpretation of the one-dimensional (1D) inversion of the resistivity data delineated the fresh water aquifer and determined its hydro-geologic parameters. Eleven shallow seismic refraction profiles (125 m in length) have been collected and interpreted using the generalized reciprocal method, and the resulting depth-velocity models were verified using an advanced finite difference (FD) technique. Shallow seismic refraction effectively delineates two subsurface layers (VP ∼ 450 m s-1 and VP ∼ 1000 m s-1). A preliminary seismic hazard assessment in Umm Baraqa has produced an estimate of the probabilistic peak ground acceleration hazard in the study area. A recent and historical earthquake catalog for the time period 2200 BC to 2006 has been compiled for the area. New accurate seismic source zoning is considered because such details affect the degree of hazard in the city. The estimated amount of PGA reveals values ranging from 250 to 260 cm s-2 in the bedrock of the Umm Baraqa area during a 100 year interval (a suitable time window for buildings). Recommendations as to suitable types of buildings, considering the amount of shaking and the aquifer properties given in this study, are expected to be helpful for the Umm Baraqa area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysics and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Finite difference
  • Gebel Umm Baraqa
  • One-dimensional inversion
  • Peak ground acceleration
  • Preliminary seismic hazard assessment
  • Shallow seismic refraction
  • Sinai
  • Vertical electrical soundings
  • West Gulf of Aqaba

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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