On the Origin and Evolution of the Petra Siq from Geological Perspective, Is It Natural or Man Made?

Abdul Kader Abed, Alaa Al-Katib, Ala’ Allan, Shahd Al-Barghouti, Tareq Khair Allah


Ancient Petra is predominantly carved in the colorful, hematitic, quartz sandstone of the Late Cambrian Umm Ishrin Formation with minor activity within the white quartz sandstone of the Early Ordovician Disi Formation. The entire length of the Siq also runs through the former rock unit. This article seeks to demonstrate through geological evidence that the Siq originated and developed naturally by means of normal geological processes and is not man-made. To achieve this goal, 38 trends of the bends of the Siq and more than 1100 joint trends were measured with a geological compass in the Siq and its surroundings. Rose diagrams of this data show that the major trends of the bends of the Siq of 60-70 and 150-160 degrees coincide almost exactly with the major trends of the joints of 60-70 and 140-150 degrees with the major class at 150-160 degrees. This means that the flood water of Wadi Musa has acted on the two major joint sets, eroding and enlarging them to form the Siq. Simple calculations of the rate of erosion tentatively indicate that erosion of the Siq might have started some 2 million years before present, long before the arrival of the Nabataeans.


Petra, Siq, Joints, Water erosion, Cambrian, Sandstone, Jordan.

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