delware environmental institute

UDaily: Doctoral student studies natural radioactivity in Nubian Aquifer in Egypt

UDaily: Doctoral student studies natural radioactivity in Nubian Aquifer in Egypt

University of Delaware doctoral student Mahmoud Sherif is studying the origin and distribution of natural radioactivity in the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System in Egypt. The Nubian Aquifer is one of the most important groundwater basins in the entire world. Located underground in the eastern end of the Sahara desert, it is considered the world’s largest aquifer, spanning four countries in northeastern Africa (Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Chad) with corresponding formations in Jordan, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula. It underlies approximately 80 percent of the total land area of Egypt.

“There is a huge reservoir of high quality groundwater in the Nubian Aquifer system, but in some places such as Jordan, the water has been found to contain levels of radium that are unsafe for human consumption,” Sherif said.

Sponsored to study at UD by the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education, Sherif is conducting a systematic regional survey of the origin and distribution of natural radioactivity from radium, uranium and radon, and other heavy metals. The work is aimed at understanding the conditions under which groundwater may become unsafe for human consumption, in order to help guide water resource management strategies in Egypt.