A desert plain in Egypt is being investigated to develop new techniques of multisensor data integration for groundwater
exploration. A combination of multispectral, thermal and microwave data (ASTER and PALSAR) and supported by
ground measurements (GPR, field spectroradiometry and magnetometry) were used to investigate surface sediment
characteristics of the El-Gallaba Plain area, NW of Aswan. This desert plain once hosted an ancestral river system long
before the Nile even existed. Nowadays the fluvial deposits are largely covered by Aeolian and gravelly sands and thus
only detectible with radar and thermal images. Results show two broad strips of thermal cooling anomalies arranged in a
linear fashion and diagonally crossing the alluvial basin. Spectral signatures collected along the linear land surface
temperature (LST) anomalies show generally higher reflectance values (higher albedo) than the surrounding sediments.
Both, the cooler LST and higher albedo, suggest that the surface sediments within the anomaly strips have lower
emissivity values (low heat storage capacity). Furthermore, the homogeneity of these sediments was measured with a
ground penetrating radar (GPR) using 250 and 100 MHz shielded antenna. The 12 GPR profiles across the LST anomalies
confirmed that the near-surface sediments (up to 10 m depth) consist of thin horizontal layers of sandstone with very low
gravel content. They show very different textural and compositional characteristics with respect to the surrounding areas
suggesting a different depositional environment. Thus 12 magnetic profiles with 1.5 km average length were acquired
across the LST anomalies to investigate deep seated structures. The results confirmed the existence of graben-like
structures with a maximum depth to the basement of 150 m and shallower depths toward the edges of the LST anomalies.
Consequently, these structurally controlled basins could be promising areas for ground water accumulation and
exploration in the El-Gallaba Plain of the Western Desert in Egypt.