Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: II. Geochronologies and mass sedimentation rates based on 14C and 210Pb data

Brent A. McKee, Andrew S. Cohen, David L. Dettman, Manuel R. Palacios-Fest, Simone R. Alin, Gerard Ntungumburanye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

We established sediment geochronologies for cores from eight deltaic areas in Lake Tanganyika (the Lubulungu, Kabesi, Halembe, Malagarasi, Nyasanga/Kahama, Mwamgongo, Nyamusenyi, and Karonge/Kirasa River deltas), recording a range of watershed disturbance histories from the eastern margin of this African rift valley lake. Cores from currently disturbed sites on the central Tanzanian coast display remarkably uniform and low rates of sediment accumulation from the 18th century until the early 1960s, when a synchronous and dramatic rise in rates occurs. Through this same time interval sedimentation rates offshore from undisturbed Tanzanian watersheds either remain unchanged or decline. Further north, at disturbed sites along the northern Tanzania and Burundi coasts, the pattern of sedimentation rate increase is more complex. Although a mid-late 20th century increase is also evident in these sites, indications of earlier periods of increasing sediment erosion, dating from the mid-late 19th century, are also evident. Synchronous changes in sediment accumulation rates dating from the early 1960s may be the result of exceptionally wet years triggering an increase in the discharge of previously eroded and unconsolidated alluvium and stream/beach terrace deposits, previously accumulated in the deltas and stream valleys of impacted watersheds. Sedimentation rate impacts of deforestation on lake ecosystems are likely modulated by short-term climatic forcing events, which can impact the specific timing and location of sediment discharge to lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

Keywords

  • Deforestation
  • East Africa
  • Lake Tanganyika
  • Late Holocene
  • Mass accumulation rates
  • Soil erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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