Textural and compositional variability across littoral segments of Lake Tanganyika: The effect of asymmetric basin structure on sedimentation in large rift lakes

Michael J. Soreghan, Andrew Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


Lake Tanganyika, part of the East African rift system, represents one of the most widely cited modern analogs for interpreting ancient rift lakes. To date, few published detailed sedimentologic studies of the modern sediments allow for comparisons to outcrop- and well-bore-scale observations within ancient strata. Four recurrent structural margin types exist along the alternating half-graben structure of the lake: hinged margins, axial margins, accommodation zone margins, and escarpment margins. The hinged margin consists of a series of structurally controlled benches over which long, continuous tracts of bioclastic lag deposits predominate; clastic sands are limited to moderate-size silty deltas and long, narrow shoreface sands. The axial margin is dominated by a wave-dominated, silt-rich delta system. Accommodation zone margins consist of bioclastic lag deposits atop structural highs, whereas carbonate and clastic mud accumulates farther offshore. Escarpment margins contain small fan-delta deposits alternating along shore with talus deposits; offshore carbonate and clastic mud is present away from active gravity-flow deposition. Total organic carbon (TOC) and pyrolysis data from fine-grained samples subtly reflect the contrasts in margin types, but these values are controlled more directly by water depth. Although facies are similar among all margin types, their spatial distribution, in particular the degree to which facies tracts trend parallel to shore, best discriminates among the different margin types. These data suggest that unique but predictable associations of reservoir, seal, and source facies exist along each of the different margin types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-409
Number of pages28
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology

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