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Did groundwater processes shape the Saharan and Martian landscapes?

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mohamed Sultan



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An integrated approach using geomorphological, geostatistical, isotopic and geophysical methods was used to unravel the role of groundwater in shaping the Saharan landscape. A logistic regression model shows abundant theater-headed valleys on escarpments bounding depressions, paleolakes and tufa deposits. Geomorphologic evidences reveal streams originated from the scarp faces. Isotopic and geophysical investigations indicate an artesian leakage of deep groundwater along deep-seated structures into shallow aquifers. These evidences indicate groundwater sapping processes which are responsible for the formation of depressions and theater-headed valleys in the Sahara. This result improves our understanding for the origin of theater-headed valleys on Mars.


This poster was presented at the 2015 Western Michigan University Research and Creative Activities Poster Day. The poster and abstract are currently unavailable through ScholarWorks.

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