The present study of the ground-water conditions in the Sirte area was made during December 1961 and March-April 1962 at the request of officials of the Government of Libya. Particular attention was given to the potential of the fresh-water aquifer near Qasr Bu Itadi as a source of water for Sirte.
The Sirte area lies on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea about 450 kilometers east-southeast of Tripoli, cocapital of Libya. Although the area receives some winter precipitation, the climate is arid. The surface rocks of the area are chiefly Miocene limestone containing marl, clay, and some sandstone, though Quaternary deposits occur along the wadis and mantle the Miocene rocks in the coastal plain.
Fresh ground water occurs locally in Recent sand dunes near Zaafran and in Miocene limestone near Qasr Bu Hadi, south of a probable fault. Elsewhere in the Sirte area, ground water occurs generally in Tertiary rocks but contains 3,000 or more parts per million of dissolved solids.
To establish the hydraulic characteristics of the fresh-water aquifer in the Qasr Bu Itadi area, two test wells were drilled and a controlled pumping test was made. The coefficient of transmissibility was found to be about 25,000 gallons per day per foot (13.68 cubic meters per hour per meter), and the coefficient of storage, about 0.00055. The pumping test also established the presence of two barrier-type hydraulic boundaries for the aquifer, one about 250 meters westward and another about 535 meters northward from well 9a. The first boundary is probably the small anticline on which stands the fort of Qasr Bu Itadi; the second boundary is probably a northwest trending fault. Using the transmissibility and storage coefficients derived from the pumping test, the writer concludes that (1) the total draft from the fresh-water aquifer should not exceed 13.5 cubic meters per hour and (2) production wells should be at least 3 kilometers south of well 9a.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground water in the Sirte area, Tripolitania, United Kingdom of Libya