Hydrogeology of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Open-File Report 2008-1136
Prepared in cooperation with the World Bank, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Futures Group
By:  and 



Hydrogeologic maps were constructed for the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The ground-water flow system in the country can best be described as two interconnected regional systems: the porous Continental Terminal coastal system and the interior, fractured sedimentary Taoudeni Basin system. In these systems, ground-water flow occurs in fill deposits and carbonate, clastic, metasedimentary, and metavolcanic rocks. Based on an evaluation of the potentiometric surface, there are three areas of ground-water recharge in the Taoudeni Basin system. One region occurs in the northwest at the edge of the Shield, one occurs to the south overlying the Tillites, and one is centered at the city of Tidjikdja. In contrast to the flow system in the Taoudeni Basin, the potentiometric surfaces reveal two areas of discharge in the Continental Terminal system but no localized recharge areas; the recharge is more likely to be areal. In addition to these recharge and discharge areas, ground water flows across the country's borders. Specifically, ground water from the Atlantic Ocean flows into Mauritania, transporting dissolved sodium from the west as a salt water intrusion, whereas fresh ground water discharges from the east into Mali. To the north, there is a relatively low gradient with inflow of fresh water to Mauritania, whereas ground-water flow discharges to the Senegal River to the south. A geographical information system (GIS) was used to digitize, manage, store, and analyze geologic data used to develop the hydrogeologic map. The data acquired for map development included existing digital GIS files, published maps, tabulated data in reports and public-access files, and the SIPPE2 Access database. Once in digital formats, regional geologic and hydrologic features were converted to a common coordinate system and combined into one map. The 42 regional geologic map units were then reclassified into 13 hydrogeologic units, each having considerable lateral extent and distinct hydrologic properties. Because the hydrologic properties of these units are also influenced by depth and degree of fracturing, the hydraulic conductivity values of these hydrogeologic units can range over many orders of magnitude.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrogeology of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2008-1136
DOI 10.3133/ofr20081136
Edition Version 1.0
Year Published 2008
Language ENGLISH
Publisher Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s) U.S. Geological Survey
Description vi, 32 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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