Geologist Says Muqattam Heights May Be Exposed to Worse Disasters
Ikhwanonline reporter held an interesting interview with the renowned Geologist Professor Khaled Ouda to highlight the scientific causes of the tragic rockslide that hit Addeweqa slums in the eastern Cairo district of Al Muqattam Saturday leading to the death of more than 30 of the poor slum residents and the injury of tens others. Ouda warned of similar catastrophes in the same area, because the edges of Al Muqattam mountain have recently grew vulnerable to collapses.
Dr. Khaled Ouda was the President of the Egyptian Working Group of the Paleocene/Eocene boundary of the International Sub commission on Paleogene stratigraphy, itself part of the International Sub commission on Paleogene stratigraphy, itself part of the International commission on Stratigraphy under the auspices of the International Union Geological Scientists (IUGS).
What is your scientific explanation for what happened at Addweqa district on Saturday?
Dr. Khaled Ouda*: What happened at Addweqa is very normal and expected since the year 1993. The edges of Al Muqattam Mountain overlooking
So what was the result reached by those committees?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: They reached the result that the limestone -forming the Mountain- dissolves because water leaks into it, especially wastewater, and the fissures between rocks are widening and eroded, and so it was expected that the edges will collapse.
Some people said that the real reason for collapse is that the clay layer under the limestone shrinks; which leads to the rockslide. Is this explanation compatible with the findings of the specialized committees?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: This is not a scientific explanation. The clay layer under the limestone in this Mountain is very small and its contraction does not affect the mount rocks any way. This perception may happen if the clay layer is thick and this is found at Isna district (
But at Addweqa, it was a collapse resulting from water leak into limestone as it is known scientifically that limestone dissolves from water with a proportion of acid, even if it is low.
Could this happen at many other regions?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: Definitely, any building under Al Muqattam Mountain –from Maadi to
Is this edge still exposed to violations till now?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: Certainly, the permits of constructions on the mountain, the beautiful and luxurious cities seen on it everyday, are the greatest danger with its wastewater and water leak from digging foundations.
Do you expect worst accidents?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: Yes, I expect that the Mountain itself will collapse. The
So what is the alternative then?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: The only alternative is to remove all the buildings, because the upper threatens the lower. Moreover, we often check buildings on the mount with foundations’ problems as a result of the limestone dissolving under it.
The rescue men try since to budge the collapsed lime blocs or break them but in vain, what is the best solution?
Dr. Khaled Ouda: The best solution is that which was used by the ancient Egyptians seven thousand years ago. It is to budge rocks as they are on vehicles made of tree trucks with many wheels and be pulled. The ancient Egyptians moved much larger blocks than these rocks from Al Muqattam district to Al Ahramat (pyramids) district at
Dr. Khaled Ouda is a Professor of Geology at