[NAMCO] Nam Co

Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2017

Expedition ID: 99999

Current Status: Approved

deep biosphere
lake drilling
Master Data

Dr. Torsten Haberzettl (First-PI)

Prof. Dr. Volkhard Spieß (PI)
Dr. Gerhard Daut (PI)

Dr. Sebastian Wagner (Scientific Participant)
Arne Ulfers (Scientific Participant)
Nora Schulze (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Thomas Kasper (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schütt (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Thomas Wonik (Scientific Participant)
Mauro Alivernini (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Antje Schwalb (Workshop Participant)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Reicherter (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Peter Frenzel (Workshop Participant)

Geologisches Alter:

Latitude: 30°55'0''N


Regionen & Städte:


Longitude: 91°7'0''E



Drilling Data

Drilling Depth:
Core Yield:
Core Length:
Amount of Drill Holes:
Amount of Drill Locations:

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio:


To achieve the final goal of a successful ICDP drilling at Lake Nam Co (Tibet) we apply for a workshop to discuss feasibility, logistics, and the scientific benefits with experts in all relevant fields. Considering that almost one third of the population of the world depends on the water supply from the Tibetan Plateau, the future development of the monsoon on the Tibetan Plateau will have a major societal impact. To define parameters for future climate change scenarios (IPCC) and their consequences for ecosystems, it is necessary to improve our knowledge of timing, duration, and intensity of past climatic variability and environmental impact, not only on short but also on long geologic time scales. Nam Co represents one of the largest and deepest lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. Due to this location in the modern monsoon regime (wind, precipitation), paleoclimate proxies reflect the spatial and temporal development of large-scale atmospheric circulation systems. Multiproxy studies on a 10.4 m long reference core provided a high-resolution paleoenvironmental record covering the past 24 cal ka BP with proxies that have been validated by extensive modern process studies. An comprehensive set of presite survey seismic data show an infill of >800 m of well layered undisturbed sediments in the central part of the lake, likely spanning several glacial/interglacial cycles. Sediment accumulation rates measured on the reference core and seismostratigraphic investigations suggest an age of the lake formation of >1 Mio years. Situated on the central Tibetan Plateau, Nam Co is ideally located to fill a gap of missing long-term paleoclimate information in two ICDP/IODP transects to allow comparisons of climatic evolution/behavior on a continental scale. Furthermore, the Tibetan Plateau is characterized by a high degree of endemism of organisms that are dependent on continuously existing water bodies. Nam Co likely served as a dispersal center for these organisms, as most other lakes desiccated during dry glacial periods of the Cenozoic. Nam Co appears to be a first class example for studying the link between geological and biological evolution in highly isolated Tibetan Plateau ecosystems including the deep biosphere over long time scales. A continuous, high-resolution, record for these long time scales from Nam Co will further enable to study sediment budget changes under varying climatic and tectonic settings, and contribute to a better understanding of the Quaternary geomagnetic field.

Related Publications

Schulze, Nora (2022). "The Sedimentary and Tectonic Evolution of the Nam Co Basin, Tibetan Plateau, since the Middle Pleistocene" Dissertation p154

Haberzettl, T., Daut, G., Schulze, N., Spiess, V., Wang, J., Zhu, L., the Nam Co workshop, party (2019). "ICDP workshop on scientific drilling of Nam Co on the Tibetan Plateau: 1 million years of paleoenvironmental history, geomicrobiology, tectonics and paleomagnetism derived from sediments of a high-altitude lake" Sci. Dril. 25 p63-70

Ma, Qingfeng, Zhu, Liping, Wang, Junbo, Ju, Jianting, Wang, Yong, Lü, Xinmiao, Kasper, Thomas, Haberzettl, Torsten (2019). "Late Holocene vegetation responses to climate change and human impact on the central Tibetan Plateau" Science of The Total Environment in press p135370

Wang, Junbo, Huang, Lei, Ju, Jianting, Daut, Gerhard, Wang, Yong, Ma, Qingfeng, Zhu, Liping, Haberzettl, Torsten, Baade, Jussi, Mäusbacher, Roland (2019). "Spatial and temporal variations in water temperature in a high-altitude deep dimictic mountain lake (Nam Co), central Tibetan Plateau" Journal of Great Lakes Research 45 p212-223

Kasper, Thomas, Frenzel, Peter, Haberzettl, Torsten, Schwarz, Anja, Daut, Gerhard, Meschner, Stephanie, Wang, Junbo, Zhu, Liping, Mäusbacher, Roland (2013). "Interplay between redox conditions and hydrological changes in sediments from Lake Nam Co (Tibetan Plateau) during the past 4000cal BP inferred from geochemical and micropaleontological analyses" Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 392 p261-271

Su, YouLiang, Gao Xing, Liu QingSong, Hu, PengXiang, Duan, ZongQi, Jiang, ZhaoXia, Wang, JunBo, Zhu, LiPing, Doberschütz, Stefan, Mäusbacher, Roland, Daut, Gerhard, Haberzettl, Torsten (2013). "Mechanism of variations in environmental magnetic proxies of lake sediments from Nam Co, Tibet during the Holocene" Chinese Science Bulletin 58 p1568-1578

Kasper, Thomas, Haberzettl, Torsten, Doberschütz, Stefan, Daut, Gerhard, Wang, Junbo, Zhu, Liping, Nowaczyk, Norbert, Mäusbacher, Roland (2012). "Indian Ocean Summer Monsoon (IOSM)-dynamics within the past 4 ka recorded in the sediments of Lake Nam Co, central Tibetan Plateau (China)" Quaternary Science Reviews 39 p73-85