Journal of Geographic Information System, 2011, 3, 12-17
doi:10.436/jgis.2011.31002 Published Online January 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
Geomorphosite Va lorization a Vi ew to Sustainable
Development: Case of Ait Hajji, Oued Boulahmayel
Valley, Central Morocco
Nahraoui Fatima Zahra, El Wartiti Mohamed, Zahraoui Mohamed, Dabi Sanaa
Laboratory of Ap pl i ed Geology, Department of Geology, Facul t y of Sci e n ces Rabat ,
Université Mohammed V-Agdal, Rabat, Morocco
Received July 31, 201 0; revised September 2, 2010; accepted September 8, 2010
The Pleistocene Fluvial-lacustrine of Ait Hajji Formation is located in South East of Tiddas, and in the Qua-
ternary deposits of the Moroccan Central Plateau. These outcrops represent on a geomorphosite of great im-
portance for the study of geological heritage, and for a natural eco-tourism valorization in Morocco. For to
aim a natural tourism promotion, for indigenous peoples, this geomorphosite in question has an fluorescent
and dense flora with a diversified fauna in the heart of one Ordovician quartzite bar and Devonian limestone
ridges. In Oued Boulahmayel geomorphosite contains a memory geological Formation of a Pleistocene epi-
sode, beginning firstly by a dynamic fluviatil land synchronous with a local volcanic activity (Phonolite
nephelinc) replaced by a lake sedimentation related to the formation of a dam natural, created a few hundred
meters downstream from Boulahmayel. For valorizing of the hinterland of the plains towns, it is necessary to
develop a geo-eco-tourism integrated who provide its harvest and will argue the benefits resources of rural
people of high-mountains in their own environment. It is proposed in the perspective to initiate a sustainable
development approach, while ensuring the conservation and ensure the continued natural existence of the
surroundings environments and to appreciate the potential of the region. Thus that beauty hidden in the hin-
terland upstream to a tourist eager for discoveries, to encourage them to practice their stay as short as it is, in
a safe space and very quiet. In order to materialize the concept of geo-eco-tourism, we must deploy the ef-
forts of local people, policy makers and scientists in order to produce tourist maps with different interesting
routes, to implant signal panels, to develop tracks campsites and trails within the forests, creating shelters
and rest houses in private homes, as well as provide training for specialized guide’s rescuers.
Keywords: Geological Site, Geomorphology, Central Morocco, Ait Hajji, Oued Boulahmayel,
Fluvial-Lacustrine Formations, Geo-Eco-Tourism, Sustainable Development
1. Introduction
Throughout the world there are many examples of rocks,
fossils and landscapes showing the history of the Earth,
like geotope and geofacies [1]. Some are exceptionally
beautiful and/or spectacular, others are more common
but essential to understanding the evolution of our planet.
These later are considered important tools for enhancing
the natural geological heritage, and for public awareness
on environmental issues, for enhance the value of land-
scape eco-tourism and to serve as demonstration tools
development sustainable. Currently there are a large
number of geomorphosite of great importance and some
of them were classified as IUCN (International Union for
Conservation of Nature) such as overlap of Glarus in
Switzerland [2], Park Natural de Cazorla in Las Villas [3]
or the volcanoes in Australia [4].
In recent years, Morocco like any other country has
attached a great importance to the geomorphosite such as
a national heritage for providing a geo-écoutouristic ac-
tivity in these natural areas [5-7]. These last offer for
these visitors’ fantastic occasions for the admiration of
wealth natural and teaching professional of the conserva-
tion importance to geomorphosite and also for the pres-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
ervation of local heritage.
In Morocco, more specifically in Central Morocco and
in southern of Tiddas include many landscapes of great
importance that deserve particular attention, especially
that of river-lake series Plio-Quaternary of Ait Hajji.
Thus, the aim of the present paper is to develop several
of geomorphosite characteristic of socio-cultural view-
point and ecotourism for a sustainable development and
to explain how to better safeguard natural richness in th is
geomorphosite of Ait Hajji.
2. Geographic and Stratigraphic
The Ait Hajji Formation is located at 12 km in southern
of Tiddas (Figure 1), about 200 m crossing the track
leading from Moulay Bouazza and Oued Boulahmayel,
with Lambert coordinates: X = 426,6 et Y = 318,7 [8].
2.1. Geological Framework
This landscape is part of the succession of formations
fluvial-lacustrine of Ait Hajji rever basin Figures 2, 3
these last are located on the right bank of the Oued Bou-
lahmayel and they occupy the bench of a large subcircu-
lar depression bounded by a thick edges of Ordovician
quartzite who outcropping in sandstone-pelitic deposits
Devonian [8].
2.2. Startigraphic Description
It is a fluvial-lacustrine Formation poorly consolidated,
characterized by a sequential vertical evolution well
marked. This Pleistocene Formation is consists of two
lithologi cal units w ith differen t colors (Figure 4). The first
one, greyish, is formed by staple deposits composed of
blocks of gravel and sandstone. In addition, there are gran-
itic pebble, basalt and metamorphic rocks. These elements
are linked by a sandy matrix. Also, this same group often
shows the chenal marks and hardground separating the
sequential units. The second set is yellowish color and
thickness of 25 m. It consists of coarse sand to fin and
laminated limestone, w ith rares fo ssils of con tinental veg e-
tal and gastropods [8]. The entire series shows a tectonic
signature due to two generations of faults (Figure 5): the
first is synsedimentary; t he second was m ore later [8].
Figure 1. General information of Ait Hajji geomorphosit.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
Figure 2. General information of Ait Hajji geomorphosit: panoramic view of Ait Hajji gemorphosit (a), view showing the
fluvial deposits overlain by lacustrine deposits (b), view of succession the fluvio-lacustrine formations (right bank of
boulahmayel oued) (c).
Figure 3. Geological framework of Ait Hajji geomorphosit.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
Figure 4. Composite stratigraphic column of Ait Hajji deposits.
3. Results and Discussions
The Geomorphology of Ait Hajji is located on the right
bank of th e oued Boulahmayel (Top of Bou Regr eg) and
in the midst of a great depression subcircular. It is sur-
rounded by reliefs of Paleozoic land covering a geologi-
cal formation that begins firstly by a fluviatile series
synchronous with the local volcan ic activity followed by
lacustrine dep o si t s .
The spatio-temporal organization of these fluvial-
lacustrine indicates that:
The fluvial deposits show the existence a feeding
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
from reliefs in the depression Ait Hajji, where
flowed Boulahmayel Oued.
The lake deposits show an abrupt change in fluvial
dynamics. This leads us to believe that the main
cause of this change is the introduction of naturel
The model proposed for the Boulahmayel Valley in
the upstream Bouregreg, indicates the existence of
nephelinic phonolite flow, with 10-20 m thick, was the
cause of the establishment of a natural dam. Based on
K/Ar data, the Plio-Quaternary phonolitic has been esti-
mated between 2.8 and 0.31 Ma [9] and more precisely
between 1.8 and 0.89 Ma [10].
Thus, the natural roadblock of phono lite was responsi-
ble for blocking the flow of water from the Oued Bou-
lahmayel firstly and then installation of a lake in the
same depression who is surrounded by land Paleozoic in
However, this Ait Hajji geomorphosite has some en-
vironmental and social problems. Among these problems
is the illegal exploitation of sand, gravel and pebbles.
Indeed, in the meandering Boulahmayel Oued, the ex-
traction activity, and exp loitation of th e sand , gravel and
pebbles made by trucks despites the prohibition of re-
moval of the latter, which results in the widening the
channel of the Oued, increase of vulnerability, and loss
of land will be increased.
Another problem that arises for the same site, it’s the
flooding of Boulahmayel Oued. The discharge of coarse
material carried by the floods on the western side of the
river whose topography is flat constitutes a negative im-
pact on the terraces that are cultivated.
These last lose their silty-clay sediments, fertile for
farming and that are dominated by coarses conglomer-
ates, harmful for agricultural practices, as is the case this
year (Winter 2010).
From these various problems listed above, it is there-
fore necessary to decide one strategy for better safe-
guarding for such to geomorphosite which present some
property natural and economic. Consequently, the inter-
vention of local authorities must be strict and tough for
to stop that kind of irrational exploitation. Moreover,
among these backup strategies we can propose solutions
that may constrain the flooding of Boulahmayel Oued by
constructing a dam on the right bank and to build a real
bridge instead of partial bridge washed away by floods
such as this year (Winter 2010); also the construction of
dam or some Restraint-Water upstream in the aim to
moderate the force of a flooded and coarse sediment
transport and their depo sition on agricultural land.
It’s in this context that the geo-eco-tourism concept
should be put in evidence by developing the efforts of
local people, policy makers and scientists in order to
Figure 5. Faulted structure of fluvial series in the Ait Hajji
produce tourist maps with different interesting routes, the
implantation of sign panel, develop the trails campsite
within the forest, creating shelters and rest houses, and
provide the training of guides specialized.
4. Conclusions
From the perspective of sustainable development, Mo-
rocco was conscious of the importance of the natural
richness development, including of the Ait Hajji geo-
morphosite, whic h can be valued on several level:
1) On the academic and scientific plane: view the
geological history significance, of this geomorphosite,
this last been subject of several national research and
2) On the education plane: the geological structures of
Ait Hajji geomorphosite may can to play an important
educational tool for teaching in these different forms
(university, specialist, social promotion …).
3) On geo-touristic plan: the beauty of nature in the
upstream hinterland of this geomorphosite can be a
source of tourist attraction and thirsty people for natural
discoveries and geographic areas enjoy the magnificent
and peaceful spaces.
Thus, in order to achieve the objectives proposed for
the geomorphosite Ait Hajji, including a geo-eco-touris-
tic vision, it is necessary to deploy all popular efforts and
authoritarian for to succeed of the develop and protection
of this geomorphosite from damage as much natural as
5. Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the referee for their constructive
comments and suggestions which significantly improved
our manuscript.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JGIS
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