Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 23–35

Fossil diatoms and the mid to late holocene paleolimnology of Lake Turkana, Kenya: a reconnaissance study

  • John D. Halfman
  • David F. Jacobson
  • Carolyn M. Cannella
  • Kurt A. Haberyan
  • Bruce P. Finney
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00197029

Cite this article as:
Halfman, J.D., Jacobson, D.F., Cannella, C.M. et al. J Paleolimnol (1992) 7: 23. doi:10.1007/BF00197029

Abstract

A 12 m sediment core recovered from the south basin of Lake Turkana, northwestern Kenya, reveals four major diatom assemblages that span approximately 5450 to 1070 years BP based on AMS radiocarbon analyses. The oldest assemblage, Zone D (5450 to 4850 yr BP), is dominated by Melosira nyassensis and Stephanodiscus spp. and is interpreted to reflect higher lake levels, fresher water and more variable seasonal mixing of the water column than the modern lake. Melosira dominates the assemblage in Zone C (4850 to 3900 yr BP) with some Surirella engleri and Stephanodiscus. This assemblage indicates a continuation of relatively high lake levels and seasonal mixing of a stratified lake. The brief peak of Surirella, interpreted as benthic, suggests an episode of slightly lower lake level. Thalassiosira rudolfi and Surirella predominate since the beginning of Zone B (3900 to 1900 yr BP), reflecting a decrease in lake level and increase in water column salinity. Increasing dominance of Surirella in Zone A (1900 to 1070 yr BP) may suggest that the lake continued to decrease in depth. Salinity probably rose to levels comparable with the modern lake. These results are consistent with paleoclimatic interpretations based on carbonate abundance, lamination thickness, oxygen isotope and bulk geochemistry profiles from this core and cores recovered from the north basin. It extends the known paleolimnology beyond 4000 yr BP of the earlier research to 5450 yr BP and into the early to mid Holocene pluvial phase in northern intertropical east Africa.

Key words

diatomspaleolimnologypaleoclimatologysedimentsradiocarbon chronologyEast Africa (Kenya)

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Halfman
    • 1
  • David F. Jacobson
    • 1
  • Carolyn M. Cannella
    • 1
  • Kurt A. Haberyan
    • 2
  • Bruce P. Finney
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and Geological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTroy State UniversityTroyUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA