Cairo July 2009
Mokattam is Creeping
By Dr. Mohamed El Gazzar
Geologically Mokattam ranges which rises above Cairo to the east form the classical outcrop area of middle and upper Eocene of Egypt.
Looking at Mokattam from far, two distinct units, differing lithology can be observed, the upper unit is a reddish brown Lime stone, Marl and shale designated as Maadi formation underlained by white to massive Lime stone named Mokattam Formation. It is imperative to note that this unit is more resistant than the overlying Maadi Formation.
Mokattam has been the subject of studies by a quite number of workers, such:
Zettel (1883), Blankenhorn M. (1900), Barron T. (1907), Cuiveller J. (1924/30), Saiid R. (1962).
As mentioned before, Mokattam formation consists of a series of massive grey to white Lime stone at Mokattam ranges, and has a thickness of about 150m. The Maadi formation is composed of easily identified, well developed brownish Lime stone beds exposed on the top of Mokattam Formation at Mokattam hills with thickness exceeding 60m.
The Edlene succession of Pyramid Plateau is much thinner than that of Mokattam Hills on the eastern side of the Nile. A total thickness of 40m is exposed at the pyramid's plateau comparing with 150m at the Mokattam Hills (as illustrated in the enclosed sketch).
Although the Mokattam hills having several complicated problems, mainly as:
I- Complicated and active faulting system that should be monitored and investigated properly and periodically.
II- Random and heavy construction operations regardless of the nature of the rock formation, and
III- Population density increasing without any concern about the nature of these hills and/or the type of rock formation etc.
The purpose of writing this note is not to discuss the real problem of Mokattam Hills because I am dead sure that many specialists already used their knowledge and wrote many articles concerning the last crisis but without any consideration or attention to the history of the previous work, that is to say if we review the Mokattam subject we will find the following:
- On 1883, Zettel was the first to discuss this subject followed by By Blankenhorn on 1900 and Barron on 1907 and last by Cuiveller during the period 1927 to 1930. However there was a gap of 32 years where Dr. Roshdy Saiid wrote abount the subject and since the year 1962 and up till now there was nothing written to be mentioned or discussed except after every crisis.
50 million years of age, a Natural Fence around greater Cairo area is ignored and left behind without any attention while it requires several studies and care, not realizing that without this giant great hills, the ancient Egyptians couldn't build their great monuments such as the Pyramids, temples, Sphinx and Egypt could be left without any antiquities or monuments.
Finally it is essential to establish a specialized organization to watch, maintain and develop the Mokattam hills in addition to put it into consideration while planning for any future development in the Greater Cairo Area.