Climate induced sub-basin source-area shifts of Zambezi River sediments over the past 17 ka

Janna Just*, Enno Schefuß, Holger Kuhlmann, Jan Berend W. Stuut, Ju¨rgen Pa¨tzold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Geochemical and mineralogical proxies for paleoenvironmental conditions have the underlying assumption that climate variations have an impact on terrestrial weathering conditions. Varying properties of terrigenous sediments deposited at sea are therefore often interpreted in terms of paleoenvironmental change. Also in gravity core GeoB9307-3 (18° 33.99' S, 37° 22.89' E), located off the Zambezi River, environmental changes during Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS 1) and the Younger Dryas (YD) are accompanied by changing properties of the terrigenous sediment fraction. Our study focuses on the relationship of variability in the hydrological system and changes in the magnetic properties, major element geochemistry and granulometry of the sediments. We propose that changes in bulk sedimentary properties concur with environmental change, although not as a direct response of climate driven pedogenic processes. Spatial varying rainfall intensities on a sub-basin scale modify sediment export from different parts of the Zambezi River basin. During humid phases, such as HS 1 and the YD, sediment was mainly exported from the coastal areas, while during more arid phases sediments mirror the hinterland soil and lithological properties and are likely derived from the northern Shire sub-basin. We propose that a de-coupling of sedimentological and organic signals with variable discharge and erosional activity can occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-199
Number of pages10
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2014


  • Heinrich Stadial 1
  • Holocene
  • Paleoclimate
  • Provenance
  • Southeast Africa
  • Terrigenous sediments


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