East African lake evidence for Pliocene millennial-scale climate variability

Wilson, Katy E.; Maslin, Mark A.; Leng, Melanie J. ORCID:; Kingston, John D.; Deino, Alan L.; Edgar, Robert K.; Mackay, Anson W.. 2014 East African lake evidence for Pliocene millennial-scale climate variability. Geology, 42 (11). 955-958.

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Late Cenozoic climate history in Africa was punctuated by episodes of variability, characterized by the appearance and disappearance of large freshwater lakes within the East African Rift Valley. In the Baringo-Bogoria basin, a well-dated sequence of diatomites and fluviolacustrine sediments documents the precessionally forced cycling of an extensive lake system between 2.70 Ma and 2.55 Ma. One diatomite unit was studied, using the oxygen isotope composition of diatom silica combined with X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and taxonomic assemblage changes, to explore the nature of climate variability during this interval. Data reveal a rapid onset and gradual decline of deepwater lake conditions, which exhibit millennial-scale cyclicity of ∼1400–1700 yr, similar to late Quaternary Dansgaard-Oeschger events. These cycles are thought to reflect enhanced precipitation coincident with increased monsoonal strength, suggesting the existence of a teleconnection between the high latitudes and East Africa during this period. Such climatic variability could have affected faunal and floral evolution at the time.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0091-7613
Date made live: 06 Oct 2014 13:57 +0 (UTC)

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