Remote sensing, planform, and sedimentological analysis of the Plain of Tineh, Egypt for the remains of the defunct Pelusiac River
Quintanar, Jessica 1987-
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The Pelusiac Branch was a distributary river in the Nile Delta that split off the main trunk of the Nile River as it flowed toward the Mediterranean. At approximately 25 A.D., it was chocked by sand and silt deposits from prograding beach accretion processes. The lower course of the river and its bifurcation point from the trunk of the Nile, have been hypothesized based on ancient texts and maps, as well as previous research with inconsistent results. Previous studies partly mapped the lower course of the Pelusiac River in the Plain of Tineh, east of the Suez Canal but, rapid urbanization related to the inauguration of the Peace Canal mega-irrigation project has covered any trace of the linear feature reported by previous studies. Remote sensing methods were employed in this study to locate and accurately map the course of the defunct Pelusiac River within the Plain of Tineh. Multispectral remote sensing in the form of GeoEye-1 and Landsat, and radar datasets including the TerraSAR-X, PALSAR, and RADARSAT platforms were implemented. Remote sensing analysis identified a linear feature that is 135m wide at its maximum and approximately 13km long. It extends from the Pelusium ruins to the Suez Canal, just north of the Peace Canal. The remotely located linear feature corresponds to the path of the Pelusiac River during Roman times. Planform geomorphology was applied to determine the hydrological regime and paleo-discharge of the river prior to becoming defunct. Planform analysis derived a bankfull paleo-discharge value of ~5700 m3s -1 and an average discharge of 650 m3s -1 using the reach average for the interpreted Pelusiac River. The derived values show a river distributary similar in discharge to the modern dammed Damietta River. Field work completed in April 2012 derived four sedimentary lithofacies of the upper formation on the plain. Diatom and fossil mollusk samples were also identified and support coastal beach and lagoonal environments of deposition. Measured sections and a transect oblique to the shoreline, were also constructed to portray the paleogeography of the Mediterranean coastline in the Plain of Tineh at ~25 A.D and indicate that the sampled study area is the downdrift margin of an asymmetric delta with barrier lagoon systems.