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CRC 806 – Our Way to Europe: Ethiopian lakes – Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction in the Source Region of Modern Man (project A3)


In the source region of modern man, several lakes located at different altitudes offer the opportunity to reconstruct and understand the complex climate and environmental context of human mobility during the Late Quaternary. During the first CRC-period, coring of lake sediments concentrated on sites in the southern Rift Valley and in the central part of Ethiopia. Furthermore, preliminary site surveys were conducted in the Afar region and on the northeastern margin of the Main Ethiopian Rift . The lacustrine records of Chew Bahir and Lake Chamo have already shown short-term variations in the strength of the East African monsoon, and their links to D/O, NAO and ENSO oscillations left identifiable traces in the lake records. Palaeomagnetic measurements of these cores support a reliable stratigraphy and helped develop the age models. Our results demonstrate the great potential especially of the Chew Bahir basin for a continuous reconstruction covering the last 200 ka if we are able to core to about 150-200 m depth. For the new funding period, we propose to deep drill the promising Chew Bahir site and collect more palaeodata from other lakes in Ethiopia.

Chew Bahir fieldwork in 2010 (Photo by Verena Förster)