The present study focused on investigating the impact of geological setting on the groundwater occurrences of the Lower Cretaceous sandstone aquifer (Malha). The Lower Cretaceous sandstone aquifer is subdivided into 3 units according to their lithological characters for the first time in this present work. The study area is dissected by normal faults with their downthrown sides due north direction. The groundwater flows from southeast recharge area (outcrop) to the northwest direction with an average hydraulic gradient of 0.0035. The hydraulic parameters of the Lower Cretaceous sandstone aquifer were determined and evaluated through 7 pumping tests carried out on productive wells. The Lower Cretaceous aquifer in the study area is characterized by moderate to high potential. The calculated groundwater volume of the Lower Cretaceous aquifer (6300 km2) in the study area attains about 300 bcm, while the estimated recharge to the same aquifer reaches about 44,500 m3/day with an annual recharge of 16 mcm/year. Expended Durov diagram plot revealed that the groundwater has been evolved from Mg-SO4 and Mg-Cl dissolution area types that eventually reached a final stage of evolution represented by a Na-Cl water type. This diagram helps also in identifying groundwater flow direction. The groundwater salinity ranges from 1082 ppm (Shaira) to 1719 ppm (Nakhl), in the direction of groundwater movement towards north.
Geology, Groundwater occurrences, Lower Cretaceous sandstone aquifer, Central Sinai, Egypt