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High- and low-latitude forcing of the Nile River regime during the Holocene inferred from laminated sediments of the Nile deep-sea fan
Blanchet, C.; Tjallingii, R.; Frank, M.; Lorenzen, J.; Reitz, A.; Brown, K.; Feseker, T.; Brückmann, W. (2013). High- and low-latitude forcing of the Nile River regime during the Holocene inferred from laminated sediments of the Nile deep-sea fan. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 364: 98-110. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2013.01.009
In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0012-821X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    African Humid Period; Nile River; fluvial sources; insolation changes;abrupt climatic events; bottom wseawater oxygenation

Authors  Top 
  • Blanchet, C., more
  • Tjallingii, R., more
  • Frank, M.
  • Lorenzen, J.
  • Reitz, A.
  • Brown, K.
  • Feseker, T.
  • Brückmann, W.

Abstract
    Sediments deposited on deep-sea fans are an excellent geological archive to reconstruct past changes in fluvial discharge. Here we present a reconstruction of changes in the regime of the Nile River during the Holocene obtained using bulk elemental composition, grain-size analyses and radiogenic strontium (Sr) and neodymium (Nd) isotopes from a sediment core collected on the Nile deep-sea fan. This 6-m long core was retrieved at similar to 700 m water-depth and is characterized by the presence of a 5-m thick section of finely laminated sediments, which were deposited between 9.5 and 7.3 ka BP and correspond to the African Humid Period (AHP). The data show distinct changes in eolian dust inputs as well as variations in discharge of the Blue Nile and White Nile. Sedimentation was mainly controlled by changes in fluvial discharge during the Holocene, which was predominantly forced by low-latitude summer insolation and by the location of the eastern African Rain Belt. The changes in relative contribution from the Blue Nile and White Nile followed changes in low-latitude spring/autumn insolation, which highlights the role of changes in seasonality of the precipitation on the Nile River regime. The relative intensity of the Blue Nile discharge was enhanced during the early and late Holocene at times of higher spring insolation (with massive erosion and runoff during the AHP at times of high summer insolation), while it was reduced between 8 and 4 ka at times of high autumn insolation. The gradual insolation-paced changes in fluvial regime were interrupted by a short-term arid event at 8.5-7.3 ka BP (also associated with rejuvenation of bottom-water ventilation above the Nile fan), which was likely related to northern hemisphere cooling events. Another arid event at 4.5-3.7 ka BP occurred as the apex of a gradually drier phase in NE Africa and marks the end of the AHP.

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