It is the purpose of this brief review to provide the engineer with some background information and bibliographic sources to geomorphological studies relating to arid areas, especially the Middle East.
Table 1 summarises some aspects of engineering work in deserts in which geomorphological studies have a role to play, especially with respect to resource appraisals and to the environmental hazards in arid and semi-arid areas.
The analysis of aerial photographs and field survey to map features and deposits of engineering significance can be carried out on a variety of scales (see below). Landforms can be used as indicators of other environmental phenomena of importance to engineering (see Fookes, this vol.). Hazard maps including maps of flooding, unstable sand dunes and salt-weathering processes are frequently produced, and hence the geomorphologist can also help to establish the ways in which undesirable hazards and environmental processes can be ameliorated.
Tricart & Cailleux (1969) and Cooke & Warren (1973) give general treatments of desert landforms and processes and provide extensive multilingual bibliographies. Two important bibliographies are those by Lustig (1968) and by Perrin & Mitchell (1969). Many of the modern techniques of quantitative geomorphological analysis and monitoring that have been applied to deserts have been brought together by Schick, Yaalon & Yair (1974), while desert sediments and sedimentary structures of ephemeral streams have been investigated by Glennie (1970) and Picard & High (1973) respectively. Bagnold’s classic work on wind processes remains an essential introduction to aeolian geomorphology (Bagnold 1941).
Certain specific desert features have
- © The Geological Society, London 1978