[TANGANYIKA] TANGANYIKA - Lake Tanganyika Drilling: Addressing World-Class Scientific Questions In Paleoclimatology, Tectonics And Evolutionary Ecology In Africa's Oldest Lake

Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2018

Expedition ID: 99997

Current Status: Workshop

Master Data

Dr. Elena Jovanovska (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Verena Förster (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Jens Kallmeyer (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Thomas Wonik (Workshop Participant)
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bauersachs (Workshop Participant)
Prof. Dr. Annett Junginger (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Hendrik Vogel (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Christian Albrecht (Workshop Participant)

Geologisches Alter: Late Miocene to Present

Latitude: 6°30'0''S


Regionen & Städte:

Longitude: 29°49'59''E


Drilling Data

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Lake Tanganyika (East Africa) is the one of the oldest, largest, and deepest lakes found anywhere on Earth and provides a truly outstanding opportunity to transform our understanding of processes controlling tropical climate, biological diversification, and Earth surface (source-to-sink) processes in rift basins. Lake Tanganyika contains the only known sedimentary sequence in the tropics that continuously spans the last ~8-10 Ma at drillable depths, and the lake’s sediments are an established world-class archive of high-fidelity records of precipitation, temperature, lake level, vegetation, and atmospheric dynamics. Drill-cores will allow us to test the response of African climate to fundamentally important reorganizations of the Earth System, such as the response of tropical climates to Miocene-present changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, mid-Pliocene termination of a permanent El Niño, and the onset, intensification, and changes in the periodicity of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation. The lake contains textbook examples of aquatic biodiversity and endemism, with deeply rooted patterns of diversification across multiple taxonomic groups. Drill-cores will allow unique assessments of the environmental controls on diversification, stasis, and extinction using both fossil morphology and preserved DNA. The lake is situated within the Miombo woodlands, one of the largest tropical dry forests on Earth and a biodiversity hotspot that is under intense pressure from climate and land use change. Drill-cores will afford new insight into the long-term effects of climate, fire, and disturbance on the ecology and biogeography of tropical dry forests, in the environment in which our early ancestors evolved. Lake Tanganyika is a spectacular natural laboratory to study the rates and processes of extensional deformation, volcanism and coupled surface processes, and patterns of weathering and erosion that may serve as a positive feedback on geodynamics. Drill cores will provide a critical constraint on the rates of these processes over long timescales. In the last four years we have convened a series of workshops attended by ~70 scientists to gauge interest in drilling Lake Tanganyika. These communities have developed a strong consensus that scientific drilling on Lake Tanganyika will transform our understanding of fundamental climate, environmental, and geological processes in the African tropics, and we have thousands of kilometers of industry-grade seismic reflection data from Tanganyika to locate potential drilling targets. Here we propose to convene an ICDP drilling workshop to further build the scientific team, vision, and logistical plans to drill Lake Tanganyika.

Related Publications

Jovanovska, Elena, Wilson, Mallory C., Hamilton, Paul B., Stone, Jeffery R. (2023). "Morphological and molecular characterization of twenty-five new Diploneis species (Bacillariophyta) from Lake Tanganyika and its surrounding areas" Phytotaxa p1-102

Kyalo-Omamo, Margaret, Junginger, Annett, Krueger, Johanna, Epp, Laura S., Stoof-Leichsenring, Kathleen R., Rohland, Stefanie, Trauth, Martin H., Tiedemann, Ralph (2023). "Sedimentary ancient DNA of rotifers reveals responses to 200 years of climate change in two Kenyan crater lakes" Freshwater Biology p1894-1916