Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 311–322 | Cite as

Water-level variations in Lake Nhauhache, Mozambique, during the last 2,300 years

  • Karin Holmgren
  • Jan Risberg
  • Johan Freudendahl
  • Mussa Achimo
  • Anneli Ekblom
  • Joao Mugabe
  • Elin Norström
  • Sandra Sitoe
Original paper


Stratigraphic variations in diatom composition and phytolith abundance in a sediment core from a small, hydrologically isolated waterbody, Lake Nhauhache, Mozambique, provide evidence of water-level fluctuations over the past ~2,300 years. Ten AMS radiocarbon dates on bulk sediment samples show that the lake came into existence about 2,300 years ago and that it has dried out since then, but only for brief time periods. Changes in the diatom assemblage composition indicate that lake level fluctuated in response to shifting humidity conditions. The changes reflect wetter conditions ca. 300 BC–AD 800, more variable conditions between AD 800 and 1150, a distinct dry phase within the time span AD 1150–1700 and a return thereafter to more humid conditions until present. There is general agreement between the Lake Nhauhache record and other records from the Southern Hemisphere summer rainfall region. This suggests that sediments from small interdunal lakes, which are abundant along the coast of southern Africa, provide reliable, regional paleoenvironmental information about an area from which more such data are needed.


Southern Africa Lake-level changes Paleohydrology Paleoclimatology Microfossils 



We thank Elidio Massuanganhe and Helene Gröndahl for assistance during fieldwork in Mozambique, SIDA for providing a Minor Field Study scholarship to Johan Freudendahl. The work was, in part, carried out within the framework of Karin Holmgrens VR-funded project Holocene climate variability in southern Africa.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Holmgren
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Risberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Johan Freudendahl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mussa Achimo
    • 3
  • Anneli Ekblom
    • 4
  • Joao Mugabe
    • 3
  • Elin Norström
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandra Sitoe
    • 3
  1. 1.Bert Bolin Centre of Climate ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary GeologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of Eduardo MondlaneMaputoMozambique
  4. 4.Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, African and Comparative ArchaeologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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