Forcing mechanisms of tropical climate in continental areas remain poorly understood, due in large part to a lack of continuous, long-term, high-fidelity records. Sediment core T97-52V from Lake Tanganyika provides new insight into the timing and mechanisms behind East African climate change over the past 90+. kyr. This record is particularly important, because, other than a recently recovered scientific drill core from Lake Malawi, there are no other continuous, well-dated records from East Africa prior to 60. ka. The high resolution age model presented here provides a large degree of age certainty for the past 45+. kyr, and our suite of proxies allows a thorough examination of Lake Tanganyika's dynamics. From core stratigraphy and chemical analyses, we present evidence of a lake level drop greater than 400. m sometime prior to ~. 90. ka, much greater than that inferred for the LGM, suggesting a period of intense aridity sometime around 100. ka. Additionally, core T97-52. V preserves evidence of worm burrows detected by X-radiographic imagery as indicated by burrow-shaped deposits of iron oxide, indicating a shallow lake at the time of deposition of that material. Intermittently high lake levels between ~. 78. ka and ~. 72. ka developed at the same time as a weakened Asian monsoon and a pluvial phase in Northeast Brazil, suggesting a global reorganization of climate, possibly forced by a reduction in orbital eccentricity. Over the past 60. ka this core preserves the same events recorded in a core collected ~. 100. km away in the southern basin of Lake Tanganyika, including an unexplained increase in biogenic silica at ~. 37. ka, suggesting that this vast lake is responding coherently across both major bathymetric basins to regional and global climate forcing.
- East Africa
- Intertropical convergence zone
- Lake Tanganyika
- Rift lakes
- Tropical paleoclimate