Suguta Valley Project (DFG)

Suguta Valley


PI: apl. Prof. Dr. Martin Trauth Geologist, UP,
Co-PI: Prof. Manfred Strecker Geologist, UP,
Members: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Annett Junginger Geologist, U Tübingen
  Dr. Daniel Melnick Geologist, Postdoc
  Dr. Yannick Garcin Geologist, Postdoc

Veronica Acosta Torres Geologist, Graduateschool GRK1364
  Dipl.-Geol. Sven Borchardt Remote Sensing Specialist, BMWi EnMAP
  Dipl.-Geol. Thomas Ebert Remote Sensing Specialist, Graduateschool GRK1364

Dr. Matthias Konrad-Schmolke Geochemist, UP,
Dr. Alan Deino Geochronologist, BGC, USA

Prof. Dr. Mark Maslin Paleoclimatologist,University College London, UK

Prof. Dr. E. Odada Paleoclimatologist, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Prof. Dr. Daniel Olago Paleolimnologist, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Logistics: Benjamin Simpson Helicopter Pilot, Tropic Air Kenya
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft GRK 1364, TR419/6-1, -3 and -5, 2007-2014
Permit: MOST 13/001/30C 59/22, NCST/RRI/12/1/BS011/78 and NCST/RCD/14/013/219
Summary: A two-week expedition in June 2007 was carried out to investigate the late Cenozoic structural inventory and lacustrine deposits of the Suguta Valley in Northern Kenya. The first objective of this study is the mapping of tectonic structures to better understand the structural evolution, depositional environment, and drainage networks in the Northern Kenya Rift. The second objective of this expedition is to map paleo-lake shorelines, sample lacustrine strata and paleosoils, datable tephras, and volcanic flows to reconstruct the environmental history of the region. This study will close a crucial 200-km-long gap in the tectonic and sedimentary record of East Africa. This new information will provide data needed for a better understanding of environmental changes in the course of the volcano-tectonic evolution and climate fluctuations during the last five million years. Ultimately, paleoclimate records from the Northern Kenya Rift may help provide new insights into (1) the spatial and temporal synchroneity of the Early Holocene climate optimum in East Africa, (2) the role of the tropics in glacial-interglacial transitions during the Pleistocene, and (3) the linkages between Plio-Pleistocene climate changes and hominin evolution in East Africa.
Publications: Trauth, M.H., Bergner, A.G.N., Foerster, V., Junginger, A., Maslin, M.A., Schaebitz, F. (2015) Episodes of Environmental Stability and Instability in Late Cenozoic Lake Records of Eastern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 87, 21-31.

Maslin, M.A., Shultz, S., Trauth, M.H. (2015) A synthesis of the theories and concepts of early human evolution. Philosophical Transactions B, 370, 20140064.

Maslin, M.A., Brierley, C.M., Milner, A.M., Shultz, S., Trauth, M.H., Wilson, K.E. (2014) East African climate pulses and early human evolution, commissioned review paper. Quaternary Science Reviews, 101, 1-17.

Trauth, M.H. (2014) A new probabilistic technique to build an age model for complex stratigraphic sequences. Quaternary Geochronology, 22C, 65-61.
  Junginger, A., Roller, S., Trauth, M.H. (2014) The effect of solar irradiation changes on water levels in the paleo-Lake Suguta, Northern Kenya Rift, during the late Pleistocene African Humid Period (15 - 5 ka BP). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, in press.
  Junginger,  A., Trauth, M.H. (2013) Hydrological constraints of paleo-Lake Suguta in the Northern Kenya Rift during the African Humid Period (15 - 5 ka BP). Global and Planetary Change, 111, 174–188.
  Borchardt, S., Trauth, M.H. (2012) Remotely-sensed evapotranspiration estimates for an improved hydrological modeling of the early Holocene mega-lake Suguta, northern Kenya Rift. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 361-362, 14-20.
  Garcin, Y., Melnick, D., Strecker, M.R., Olago, D., Tiercelin, J.-J. (2012) East African mid-Holocene wet–dry transition recorded in palaeo-shorelines of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya Rift: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 331-332, 322-334.
  Melnick, D., Garcin, Y., Quinteros, J., Strecker, M.R., Olago, D., Tiercelin, J.-J. (2012) Steady rifting in northern Kenya inferred from deformed Holocene lake shorelines of the Suguta and Turkana basins: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 331-332, 335-346.
  Trauth, M.H., Maslin, M.A., Deino, A., Junginger, A., Lesoloyia, M., Odada, E., Olago, D.O., Olaka, L., Strecker, M.R., Tiedemann, R. (2010) Human Evolution and Migration in a Variable Environment: The Amplifier Lakes of East Africa.Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, 2981-2988.
  Trauth, M.H., Larrasoaña, J.C., Mudelsee, M. (2009) Trends, rhythms and events in Plio-Pleistocene African climate.Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 399-411.
  Garcin, Y., Junginger, A., Melnick, D., Olago, D.O., Strecker, M.R., Trauth, M.H. (2009) Late Pleistocene-Holocene rise and collapse of the Lake Suguta, northern Kenya Rift.Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 911-925.
  Trauth, M.H., Maslin, M.A., Deino, A., Strecker, M.R., Bergner, A.G.N., Dühnforth, M. (2007) High- and low-latitude forcing of Plio-Pleistocene African climate and human evolution. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 475-486.
  Trauth, M.H., Maslin, M.A., Deino, A., Strecker, M.R. (2005) Late Cenozoic Moisture History of East Africa.Science, 309, 2051-2053.
Media Coverage: "Geological Journey II" by Nick Eyles and Kenton Vaughn, CBC Television Documentary, October 2010. – "In der Welt der ersten Menschen", by Lars Abromeit, Jörn Auf dem Kampe, Christian Ziegler, GEO, March 2010. –"Becoming Human" by Grahman Townsley, PBS/NOVA Televison Documentary, November 2009. – "Wiege der Menschheit", by Ina Matthes, Märkische Oderzeitung, June 2009. – "Knochenjob im Norden Kenias",RadioEins Interview by Jörg Thadeusz, June 2009. –"Suche nach der Wiege der Menschheit", by Mario Beltschak, Badische Neuste Nachrichten, December 2008. – "In die Wiege der Menschheit geschaut", by Elke Partovi, Rheinpfalz, November 2008. – "Die große Stunde der Generalisten",original text by Jan Kixmüller, Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten, September 2008. – "Rocking the cradle of humanity",original text by Beth Christensen, M. Maslin, Geotimes, January 2008. – "Knochenjob bei sengender Sonne",original text by by Bettina Micka, PORTAL, October 2007. – "A Changing Climate for Human Evolution",original text by M. Maslin, M. Trauth, B. Christensen, Geotimes, September 2005. – "Mit den Füßen im Wasser",original text by C. Meinke, Scienzz Ticker, September 18, 2005. – "Climate Flux Could Have Forstered Human Evolution, Speciation, Diatom Study Suggests",original text by K. Wong, Scientific American, August 19, 2005.