Monday، 09 November 2015 - 12:00 AM
The White Desert is located at the northern region of the Farafra Oasis.It is steadily growing as a main touristic attraction that draws several visitors to Egypt who wish to experience another enriching sight.
The white desert has been classified by Egypt as a natural protectorate in 2002 and covers an area of 3010 square kilometers.
The geology of the white desert is stunning.
In the southern part, several layers of limestone cover the area and are known to contain fossils of invertebrates and pre historic shark teeth.
Probably the most stunning view created by limestone are these columnar geological features that resemble enormous mushrooms, or like local Egyptians like to call them Desert Ice.
These columnar features have been million of years in the making, thanks to blowing winds and sand storms.
The White Desert origin
At the end of the cretaceous period, 60 millions years ago, a shallow sea covered the deep layer of Nubian sandstone of this area.
During the following 30 million years, 300m of limestone and shalk accumulated at the sea bottom.
Less than 30 million years ago, the ice formation in the Atlantic made the sea above the white desert to retrieve.
The current white desert stunning sculptures result from erosion. Today, we still find many marine deposits on limestone layers: mollusks, crustaceans, fishes, coral reef...fossilized. Among the sand and the limestone, the floor is covered by some black minerals with various shapes: round, elongated, star shaped...).
These are iron sulfides and oxyde that had been developed in a shalky mud.
They are called Marcassite, Pyrite and Hematite. Hematite chunks were used as red pigment in the past. We can also find some silex stones.
The white desert area represents an open museum of geology, paleontology and natural history.
Tourists not only enjoy the beauty of the geology, but experience a rare dose of clean fresh air. The area is also host ancient tools, tombs, carvings and caves left over by the roman civilization.
No wonder why they have been flocking to this area every year. If your travel plans will take you to Egypt in the near future, make sure you check Egypt's White desert.
You will not regret it.