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Surface Exposure Dating on Waterfalls to Reconstruct the Landscape Evolution of South Central Africa
Olivotos, S.; Niedermann, S.; Mouslopoulou, V.; Merchel, S.; Cotterill, F.; Flugel, T.; Gärtner, A.; Rugel, G.; Scharf, A.; Bookhagen, B.
Northern Zambia and south-eastern Katanga Province (D.R. Congo) comprise a tectonically dynamic landscape, which lies within the southwest extension of the East African Rift System. The seismotectonic research in the area has been minimal, despite the fundamental importance of neotectonics, which controls all landscapes southwest of the Tanganyika graben. Two major sets of fault systems (Mweru and Upemba) were revealed by preliminary Google Earth mapping. The recorded seismicity patterns of both systems, during the last 35 years, indicate their current active behavior.
The novelty of our interdisciplinary project is to combine methods, such as DNA sequencing of selected fish groups to define molecular clocks with surface exposure dating of key landforms using cosmogenic nuclides (CNs). Quartz-rich samples were collected from selected waterfalls with the aim of quantifying exposure ages and erosion rates.
Combined analyses of radionuclides ¹⁰Be and ²⁶Al and stable ²¹Ne are necessary, due to the complex exposure scenarios involving surface erosion or retreat of waterfalls. First results from Northern Zambia indicate burial of a large area for an extended period of time. This specific burial may confirm the existence of a significantly deeper Paleo-Lake Mweru before the modern drainage evolved (Dixey, 1943).
²¹Ne and ¹⁰Be-²⁶Al measurements took place at the GFZ Noble Gas Laboratory and at the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility of the HZDR, respectively. ¹⁰Be and ²⁶Al targets were prepared at the CN laboratories of University of Potsdam and HZDR. More results from Northern Zambia will be presented.
Dixey F. 1943. South African Geographical Journal 25: 20-41.
Keywords: AMS; DNA; geomorphology; TCN; noble gas; dating
PhD Seminar Geosciences University Potsdam, 25.01.2019, Golm, Deutschland