Genesis of the Sinkholes at Al-Najaf Governorate, South Iraq


  • Varoujan K. Sissakian University of Kurdistan Hewler, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Hayder Al-Rammahi Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Kufa, Kufa, Iraq
  • Mohammad Kadhim Mohammad College of Health and Medical Technology, Uruk Private University, Baghdad, Iraq



Karstification, Sinkhole, Limestone, Dissolution, Collapse, Breccia


Al-Najaf Governorate covers a large part of the western side of the Southern Desert of Iraq and extends to the Iraqi-Saudi Arabian borders. The western and southern western parts have almost a desert environment with flat terrain, which is dissected by tens of valleys; all trend in SW- NE direction and drain to the Euphrates River. The area under consideration is covered by Umm Er Radhuma, Dammam, Euphrates, Ghar, Nfayil, Injana and Zahra formations ranging in age from Paleocene to Pleistocene age, with different types of Quaternary sediments. The main rock types are limestone and dolostone, with subordinate amounts of marl, sandstone, claystone, and breccia. One of the main characteristics of this wide and flat plain is the karstification, which is expressed by development of sinkholes. Seven large sinkholes were studied with detailed characteristics of each sinkhole to indicate the genesis of their development and relation between them. From the seven studied sinkholes, six are still active, and one of them called Soga’a sinkhole was developed in 1944.




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