Carboniferous plant imprints in the Western Desert (Egypt/Sudan)
(Jebel Uweinat, Gilf Kebir and surrounding

Norbert Brügge, Germany


The most inclusive results up to now of found plant remains from field works 1977 - 1984 in the region of Jebel Uweinat and Gilf Kebir were published by KLITZSCH and LEJAL-NICOL in two articles.

KLITZSCH, E. & LEJAL-NICOL, A. (1984) : Flora and fauna from strata in southern Egypt and northern Sudan
 (Nubia and surrounding areas). Berliner geowiss. Abh., (A) 50, p. 47-79.

LEJAL-NICOL, A. (1987) : Flores nouvelles du Paleozoique et du Mesozoique D’Egypte et du Soudan septentrional.
Berliner geowiss. Abh., (A) 75.1, p. 151-248.

The plant remains are described, determineted and photos were published.
The predominant quantity of the finds are Lycophyta (Lepidodendron etc.) of Lower Carboniferous age
and they were found in the Wadi Abdel Malik area (northern part of the Gilf Kebir = Abdel-Malik Plateau)
and in the Karkur Murr (Jebel Uweinat). They were all found in a overlay of Carboniferous strata,
which came transgressive from the Kufra Basin.

Some plant remains are evidently younger as the Carboniferous age. They were found at the northern edge of Gilf Kebir (Abdel-Malik Plateau) and southern Gilf Kebir (Kemal-el-Din Plateau) respectively near the Aqaba passage and in the Wadi Wassa. These deposits are classified as Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous age consequently. But recent findings suggest errors.

It is for everybody not easy to organize the publications, therefore the plant remains are reproduced here,
in the anticipated agreement with the authors Dr. Annie Lejal-Nicol, France, and Prof. Dr. Eberhard Klitzsch, Germany.

The collection of Carboniferous plant-remains were completed in the past years with new finds. It are accidental finds by participants of trekking-tours.

Up to now known locations of Carboniferous strata and plant imprints


1. Gilf Kebir


 Carboniferous plant imprints from the Wadi Abdel Malik area (historic finds)

cf. Amadokia bureaui LEJAL-NICOL

Caenodendron primaevum ZALESSKY

Archaeosigillaria minuta LEJAL-NICOL

Lepidodendron volkmannianum STERNBERG

cf. Heleniella costulata LEJAL

Cordaites regularis LEDRAN

Lepidosigillaria intermedia LEJAL

Lepidosigillaria intermedia LEJAL

Prelepidodendron lepidodendropsis LEJAL

Prelepidodendron rhomboidale CORSIN

Prelepidodendron rhomboidale CORSIN

Lepidodendropsis hirmeri LUTZ

Lepidodendropsis sinaica JONGMANS

Lepidodendropsis lissoni JONGMANS

Lepidodendropsis vandergrachti JONGMANS

Triphyllopteris gothani DABER

Eremopteris whitei BERRY;
foreland nearby Abu Ras

      Triphyllopteris gothani DABER

Rhodea sp.                          

                          Eskdalia malikense LEJAL-NICOL                                                      Eskdalia malikense LEJAL-NICOL


 Carboniferous plant imprints from the Wadi Talh area (northern Gilf Kebir plateau = Abdel-Malik Plateau)

Eskdalia malikense LEJAL-NICOL

cf. Asterocalamites

Ursula Steiner
and Hans Hartmann
visited the Abdel-Malik Plateau
(northern Gilf Kebir) in 2008.
They have found various
Carboniferous plant imprints.
The location is the Wadi Talh.

cf. Rhodea

cf. Asterocalamites



cf. Eremopteris







It is Paleoweichselia

We can see
a mesh venation !




 Carboniferous plant imprints from "NE Gilf Kebir" (northern Gilf Kebir plateau = Abdel-Malik Plateau)





Three brand-new finds of Lepidosigillaria imprints from the north-eastern Gilf Kebir in 2012.
Ursula Steiner and participants giving first detailed information to the locality of Lepidosigillaria in the foreland of the north-eastern Gilf Kebir (Wadi Gongoi), near the Great Sand Sea. The appearance of the imprints indicates a fluvial-terrestrial facies.


Two photos of Sigillaria in soft bright sandstones (24°14.523'N / 25°27.014'E). Provided on 16.08.2018 by Aly Barakat.

 Carboniferous plant imprints at the western edge of the Gilf Kebir (Abu Ras area nearby the Libyan border)





On stone slabs are to see not well-preserved imprints of Rhodea sp.
 Carboniferous plant imprints at the southern edge auf the Gilf Kebir (Wadi Wassa)


                Stalks of Cordaites

cf. Paleoweichselia

2. Clayton Craters

New ample plant-prints were found first by Geoffrey Kolbe (UK) in 2007 and further by Andras Zboray (Hungary) in 2008.
The place of discovery is the interior of a large Clayton Crater. This crater is located
in the area between Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat. He has found a monotonous flora of
Paleoweichslia and Cordaites from Carboniferous age. The fazies is of shallow-marin origin.



Five new photos sent by Andras Zboray in 2016





cf. Cordaites

Three new photos by the author from the tour 2010 (below)


Cordaites stalks

Southern foreland of Gilf Kebir
(near Kemal-el-Din monument)

Ursula Steiner in 2013 found specimens of ferruginous Neocalamites

 Trachyte plugs "Peter & Paul" (north of Clayton Craters)

not documented

3. Jebel Uweinat

 Carboniferous plant imprints from foothills of Jebel Uweinat and foreland (historic finds)

Eskdalia africana LEJAL-NICOL

Eskdalia malikense LEJAL-NICOL

Cyclostigma sp.

Precyclostigma tadrartense LEJAL-NICOL

Cyclostigma ungeri JONGMANS

Ursodendron aegyptiacum LEJAL-NICOL

Ursodendron aegyptiacum LEJAL-NICOL

Archaeocalamites sp.

Eremopteris elegans E.L.

Lepidodendron veltheimi STERNBERG


 Carboniferous plant imprints from the northern plateau of Jebel Uweinat (new finds)


During a trekking - tour to the Jebel Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir (Egypt) the author found in 2003, November 09, at the Jebel Uweinat a fossil stem imprint of Lepidodendron sp. (Lycophyta). The place of discovery is in the Egyptian part the Jebel Uweinat with approximately following geographical coordinates:

Longitude    25° 08' 18" E
Latitude      21° 59' 24" N


The "Lepidodendron" is found on the northern plateau. The petrified stem remain was found between debris of sandstones nearby a basaltic plug of Tertiary age.
The find has approximately a measurement of 14 x 10 cm, is oval and covers all around with typical leaf - marks of "Lepidodendron". The material is composed of hardened red sandstone. It is a remarkable chance that the fossil was exposed by high temperatures. A complete destruction of the sandstone was prevented by the hardening.



Root-remain, named  Stigmaria.
This root was found in Carboniferous layers at the Jebel Uweinat
by Michael E. Brookfield, Canada


Andras Zboray sent me this photo from his friend Lean-Loic Le Quellec.
The piece was taken at the base of flat topped hill on the plateau
to the north of Karkur Talh by Jean Bernard.
The piece have a affinity to Lepidodendron veltheimi STERNBERG.


Gabor Merkl presented this photo of an Lepidodendron imprint from
Jebel Uweinat

Stigmaria imprint from northern Jebel Uweinat
Andras Zboray visited the Uweinat in 2008 again and he found a further fossil
remain of Stigmaria. This find was made on a terrace about 20 metres above
the north-western branch of Karkur Talh.

Andras Zboray and his groups visited the Uweinat in 2009 and 2010 again. Richard Engberts, RSA, found in 2009 numerous fossil plant imprints in sandstone bedrocks on the northern Uweinat plateau. Augusti Ensesa, Spain, found further imprints in 2010.
Andras Zboray has sent me following Photos.

One piece of all that are similar, is very well preserved. It is a Sigillaria aff. cancriformis of Visean age

Pieces of Sigillaria aff. cancriformis from the tour in 2010

Root-remains of Stigmaria
was found in sandstone bedrocks on the northern Uweinat plateau

Lepidodendron aff. volkmannianum

This beautiful fragment was found
at southeastern plateau of Uweinat (Karkur Delein)

Lepidodendropsis ?
Southern branch of Karkur Talh


Andras Zboray and his group visited the Jebel Uweinat in 2013 again. Mark Borda found large Lycophyta (Lepidodendron) and Sphenophyta (Calamites) imprints in sandstone boulders at eastern Uweinat. The following photos are from Gabor Merkl and Andras Zboray. Two photos are from the latest travel in 2017.