Groundwater threatens Egyptian treasures

Jan 01, 2008

Encroaching groundwater threatens the foundations, columns and walls of Egyptian treasures in Cairo's Giza Plateau, scientists and engineers say.

Some flooding caused by farming, urban development and residential housing near the monuments already has begun, Kyodo News reported Monday.

Reda Mohamed el-Damak, director of the Center of Studies and Designs for Water Projects at Cairo University, told the Japanese news agency that groundwater poses a threat to the fabled Sphinx, carved from the bedrock of the Giza Plateau.

"It is not pure water, but rather sewage containing toxic waste and chemicals'' that is causing structural damage, Damak said.

Damak leads a team of scientists trying to save relics from groundwater, which hydrologists said comes from the nearby el-Mansuriya Canal, a drainage channel located less than a mile from the Sphinx.

Hafez Abdel Azim Ahmed, director of the university's Archaeological and Environmental Engineering Center, said residents of Nazlet el-Samman at the foot of the pyramids throw garbage into el-Mansuriya Canal, "clogging up the drain and causing the water table to rise and spill over the Sphinx area."

He said one possible way of saving the treasures is draining the water into smaller wells to reduce the water table level.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers develop new instrument to monitor atmospheric mercury

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Tiger heavyweight' Nepal hosts anti-poaching summit

9 hours ago

Nepal's success in turning tiger-fearing villagers into their protectors has seen none of the endangered cats killed for almost three years, offering key lessons for an anti-poaching summit opening in Kathmandu ...

Japan launches new spy satellite

9 hours ago

Japan on Sunday successfully launched a back-up spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, after cancelling an earlier lift-off due to bad weather.

NASA launches satellite to measure soil moisture

9 hours ago

NASA on Saturday launched a new Earth-observing satellite that aims to give scientists high-resolution maps showing how much moisture lies in soil in order to improve climate forecasts.

Recommended for you

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports

Jan 30, 2015

Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly ...

Who's been affected by Australia's extreme heat? Everyone

Jan 30, 2015

Australia has been hit by two years of heat: 2013 was the hottest ever recorded and 2014 wasn't far behind, taking third place. The country has also sweltered through several significant heatwaves, and, though ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.