A late Holocene palaeoenvironmental ‘snapshot’ of the Angamma Delta, Lake Megachad at the end of the African Humid Period

Charlie Bristow, Jonathan Holmes, Dave Mattey, Ulrich Salzmann, Hilary Sloane

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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During the African Humid Period (AHP) there was a dramatic increase in the area of lakes and wetlands. Lake Megachad, one of several huge lakes, underwent dramatic fluctuations during the AHP prior to regression in the mid Holocene. However, the timing and nature of AHP termination has been disputed. We present evidence from sediments of the Angamma Delta, from the northern end of the palaeolake, for Lake Megachad lake-level fluctuations at the end of the AHP. Delta slope deposits were deposited over 7000 cal BP at the height of the AHP. Overlying bioclastic sediments, from 4300 – 4800 cal BP and an elevation of 285 – 290 m, lie below the palaeolake highstand (339 m) but close to the elevation of the Bahr el Ghazal sill, which divided the lake’s two sub-basins. Ostracod d 36 18O values indicate that the waters of the northern sub-basin were evaporated to levels similar to modern Lake Chad. Palaeoecological evidence suggests that the lake was perennial and evaporative enrichment is attributed to restricted circulation of lake waters as the sill emerged. The age and elevation of the bioclastic sediment, coupled with published lake level reconstructions, suggests a complex lake-level history with a major regression at the end of the AHP, followed by a short lived, lake level rise after the followed by a transgression. This new evidence for changes in lake level provide support for other geological records and some modelling experiments that suggest rapid fluctuations in hydroclimate at the end of the AHP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-196
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018


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