Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Geology of Wadi Hauran, the Largest Valley in Iraqi Western Desert

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  • Abstract

    Wadi (valley) Hauran is the largest valley not only in the Iraqi Western Desert but the whole Iraqi Territory. The length of the valley inside Iraq is about 420 Km, whereas the drainage basin area inside Iraq is 16550 Km2. The valley exhibits different forms along its course; like shallow and wide, deep and wide, and canyon. The valley starts from the Iraqi Saudi Arabian international borders and even inside Saudi Arabia and runs generally northeast wards; with slight changes in its main course trend, exhibiting many right angle meanders. The oldest exposed rocks along the course and banks of wadi Hauran belong to the Upper Triassic Zor Hauran Formation, whereas the youngest exposed rocks belong to the Middle Miocene Nfayil Formation. Different Quaternary sediments occur in the valleys course and banks. The main structural elements along the course of wadi Hauran are a set of NW SE trending faults, beside extensive jointing of the rocks, especially in the left bank northwest of Rutbah town. Different geomorphological units and forms are developed along the course of the valley and on its banks. From economical point of view, enormous amounts of sand and gravel are developed as valley fill sediments. Limestone for cement industry and many other metallurgical industries with huge geological reserves is available in different formations, like Ratga and Euphrates. Pure silica for glass and crystal industry is available in Rutbah Formation. Bauxite and sedimentary iron are available in Hussainiyat Formation. Clays for different industrial uses are available in different formations; like Ubaid, Hussainiyat, Muhaiwir, Hartha, Tayarat and Akashat formations. The different forms of wadi Hauran along its course with different exposed rocks and developed different slopes along its banks have developed different mass wasting phenomena in different parts. Among the most common forms are: Toppling, rock fall, slumping, creep and very rare sliding.

    Keywords: Wadi (valley) Hauran; Fluvial Units; Fault; Mass Wasting Forms; Iraq.