Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

ULVS XIX: A Reconnaissance Survey of the Cenozoic Geomorphology of the Wadi Merdum, Beni Ulid, in the Libyan Pre-desert

  • D. D. Gilbertson (a1), C. O. Hunt (a2), F. Hivernel (a3) and J. E. Burnett (a4)

Abstract

A geological reconnaissance of the Beni Ulid — Wadi Merdum region of the pre-desert of Tripolitania shows that at least twenty, stratigraphically distinct geomorphic events can be recognised from field exposures, field mapping and the analysis of Spacelab metric camera photography. The earliest events are provisionally attributed to the early Cenozoic and include uplift, tilting, faulting, the formation of karstic and karst-tectonic landforms, and erosion by meandering river systems. Some of these valleys were infilled with lava flows from the south-south-west in the ?late Palaeocene/early Eocene. Re-excavation of the ancient landscape by rivers followed. Pleistocene deposits of powerful, often braided rivers occur in the wadi floor. The wadi sides are clothed in complex sequences of alluvial fans, screes, windblown, waterlain and anthropogenic deposits, sometimes with weathering horizons and calcretes of uncertain stratigraphic significance. The plateaux contain large alluvial basins, palaeosols, soils and weathering horizons of uncertain age. Accelerated soil erosion caused by human activity appears to have been important in the area — slope deposits of scree and midden between 4 and 8 metres in thickness have accumulated beneath one gasr during a 500 year period. The most recent deposits identified are complex aeolian deposits at the wadi edge and the interdigitating series of floodloams and aeolian sands on the wadi floors.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Almond, D. C., Busrewil, M. T. and Wadsworth, W. J. 1974. The Gharian Tertiary Volcanic Province of Tripolitania, Libya. Geological Journal 9: 1728.
Anketell, J. M. and Ghellali, S. M. 1983. Stratigraphic studies on Quaternary Floodplain deposits of the Eastern Gefara Plain, S.P.L.A.J. Libyan Studies 14: 1638.
Barker, G. W. W. and Jones, G. D. B. 1981. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey, 1980. Libyan Studies 12: 948.
Barker, G. W. W. and Jones, G. D. B. 1982. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey 1979-1981: Palaeoeconomy and environmental archaeology in the pre-desert. Libyan Studies 13: 134.
Barker, G. W. W. and Jones, G. D. B. 1984. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey VI: Investigations of a Romano-Libyan farm, part 1. Libyan Studies 15: 145.
Barker, G. W. W., Gilbertson, D. D., Griffin, C. M., Hayes, P. P. and Jones, D. A. 1983. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey V. Sedimentological properties of Holocene wadi floor and plateau deposits in Tripolitania, north-west Libya. Libyan Studies 14: 6985.
Busrewil, M. T. and Wadsworth, W. J. 1980. The Basanitic Volcanoes of the Gharyan Area, NW Libya. In Salem, M. J. and Busrewil, M. T. (eds.). The Geology of Libya Volume III. London, Academic Press: 10951105.
Clark, G. 1986. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey XIV: Archaeozoological evidence for stock-raising and stock management in the pre-desert. Libyan Studies 14: 6985.
Dore, J. N. and Van der Veen, M. 1986. Radiocarbon dates from the Libyan Valleys Survey. Libyan Studies 17: 6568.
Dorsett, J. E., Gilbertson, D. D., Hunt, C. O. and Barker, G. W. W. 1984. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey VIII: Image analysis of Landsat Satellite data for archaeological and environmental surveys. Libyan Studies 15: 7180.
Fieller, N. R. J., Gilbertson, D. D. and Olbricht, W. 1984a. A new method for the environmental analysis of particle size data from shoreline environments. Nature 311: 648651.
Fieller, N. R. J., Gilbertson, D. D. and Olbricht, W. 1984b. Skew log Laplace distributions to interpret particle size distribution data. Manchester-Sheffield School of Probability and Statistics Research Report no. 235, 17 pp.
Fieller, N. R. J., Gilbertson, D. D. and Timmins, D. A. Y. 1987a. Sedimentological analyses of Shell-Midden Sites. In Mellars, P. A. (ed.). Excavations on Oronsay: Prehistoric Human Ecology on a Small Island. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press: 7890.
Fieller, N. R. J., Gilbertson, D. D., Briggs, D. J., Griffin, C. M. and Jenkinson, R. D. S. 1987b. The first use of log skew Laplace distribution to model the textural properties of cave sediments. University of Sheffield Department of Probability and Statistics Research Report no. 301/87.
Flenley, E. C., Fieller, N. R. J. and Gilbertson, D. D. 1987. The statistical modelling of ‘mixed’ grain size distributions from aeolian sands in the Libyan Pre-Desert using log skew Laplace distributions. In Reid, I. and Frostick, L. E. (eds.). Desert Sediments: Ancient and Modern. Special Publication of the Geological Society of London, 35: 271280.
Gale, S. J. and Hunt, C. O. 1986. The hydrological characteristics of floodwater farming systems. Applied Geography 6: 3342.
Gale, S. J., Gilbertson, D. D. and Hunt, C. O. 1986. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey XII: Infill sequence and water-carrying capacity of an ancient irrigation channel, Wadi Gobbeen, Tripolitania. Libyan Studies 17: 15.
Gilbertson, D. D. 1986a. Runoff (floodwater) farming in rural arid lands. Applied Geography 16(3): 511.
Gilbertson, D. D. (ed.) 1986b. Runoff Farming in Rural Arid Lands: an ‘Applied Geography Theme Volume’. Applied Geography 6(1/2), 122 pp.
Gilbertson, D. D., Hayes, P. P., Barker, G. W. W. and Hunt, C. O. 1984. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey VII: An Interim Classification and Functional Analysis of Ancient Wall Technology and Land Use. Libyan Studies 15: 4570.
Gilbertson, D. D., Holyoak, D. T., Hunt, C. O. and Paget, F. N. 1983. The palaeoecology of Late Quaternary floodplain deposits in Tuscany I: The Feccia Valley at Frosini. Archeologia medievale X: 340350.
Gilbertson, D. D., Hunt, C. O., Briggs, D. J., Coles, G. M. and Thew, N. M. 1987. ULVS XVIII: The Quaternary geomorphology and calcretes of the area around Gasr Banat in the pre-desert of Tripolitania. Libyan Studies 18: 1527.
Gilbertson, D. D., Hunt, C. O., Briggs, D. J., Mills, C. M., Coles, G. M. and Thew, N. M. In press. Palaeoecology of Late Quaternary Floodplain Deposits in Tuscany II. Interim Report on the fluvial geomorphology, palaeoecology and medieval water resource management in the Pian di Feccia. Archeologia medievale.
Gile, L. H. 1981. 1981 supplement to the Desert Project Soil Monograph. Los Cruces. New Mexico State University Library, Rio Grande Historical Collections, 84 pp., 43 soil maps.
Gile, L. H. and Grossman, R. B. 1979. The Desert Project Soil Monograph. Washington D.C. Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 984 pp.
Gile, L. H., Hawley, J. W. and Grossman, R. B. 1981. Soils and Geomorphology in the Basin and Range Area of Southern New Mexico — Guidebook to the Desert Project. Memoir no. 39. Socorro, N. M. New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources.
Gile, L. H., Peterson, F. F. and Grossman, R. B. 1966. Morphological and genetic sequences of carbonate accumulation in desert soils. Soil Science 101: 347360.
Hunt, C. O., Gale, S. J. and Gilbertson, D. D. 1985. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey IX: Anhydrite and limestone karst in the Tripolitanian Pre-desert. Libyan Studies 16: 113.
Hunt, C. O., Mattingly, D. J., Gilbertson, D. D., Barker, G. W. W., Dore, J. N., Burns, J. R., Fleming, A. M. and Van der Veen, M. 1986. ULVS XIII: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ancient Farming in the Wadi Mansur, Tripolitania. Libyan Studies 17: 2363.
Hunt, C. O., Gilbertson, D. D., Jenkinson, R. D. S., Van der Veen, M., Yates, G. and Buckland, P. C. 1987. ULVS XVII: Palaeoecology and agriculture of an abandonment phase of gasr Mm10, Wadi Mimoun, Tripolitania. Libyan Studies 18: 113.
Jones, G. D. B. and Barker, G. W. W. 1980. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey. Libyan Studies 11: 1136.
Jones, G. D. B. and Barker, G. W. W. 1983. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey: the 1981 Season. Libyan Studies 14: 3968.
Jones, G. D. B. and Barker, G. W. W. 1984. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey VI: Investigations of a Romano-Libyan Farm, Part 1. Libyan Studies 15: 144.
Megerisi, M. and Mamgain, V. D. 1980. The Upper Cretaceous-Tertiary formations of Northern Libya. In Saleem, M. J. and Busrewil, M. T. (eds.). The Geology of Libya. Volume II. London, Academic Press: 6772.
Piccolo, C. 1971. Outlines of volcanism in northern Tripolitania. In Gray, C. (ed.). Symposium on the Geology of Libya. Tripoli, Faculty of Science, University of Libya: 323331.
Salem, M. J. and Busrewil, M. T. 1980. The Geology of Libya. Volume III. London, Academic Press.
Singh, G. D. S. 1980. Structural control of groundwater flow in the Mesozoic sandstone aquifers of the eastern part of the Jabal Nafusah, Libya. In Saleem, M. J. and Busrewil, M. T. (eds.). The Geology of Libya. Volume II. London, Academic Press: 643658.
der Veen, M. Van. 1985. The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey X: Botanical evidence for ancient farming in the pre-desert. Libyan Studies 16: 1528.
Vita-Finzi, C. 1969. Post-Roman Changes in Wadi Lebda. In Willimot, S. G. and Clarke, J. I. (eds.). Field Studies in Libya. Durham, University of Durham: 4651.
Vita-Finzi, C. 1969. The Mediterranean Valleys: geological changes in historical times. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Vita-Finzi, C. 1971. Alluvial history of northern Libya since the last interglacial. In Gray, C. (ed.). Symposium on the Geology of Libya. Tripoli, University of Tripoli: 409429.
Wagstaff, J. M. 1981. Buried assumptions: some problems raised in the interpretation of the ‘Younger Fill’ raised by recent data from Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 8: 247264.
Zivanovic, M. 1977. Geological map of Libya: 1:250,000 sheet, Beni Walid NH 32-2. Exploratory Booklet. Industrial Research Centre, Tripoli, 64 pp.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed