Gradual or abrupt? Changes in water source of Lake Turkana (Kenya) during the African Humid Period inferred from Sr isotope ratios

H.J.L. van der Lubbe, J. Krause-Nehring, A. Junginger, Y. Garcin, J.C.A. Joordens, G.R. Davies, C. Beck, Craig S. Feibel, T.C. Johnson, H.B. Vonhof

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• Strontium isotope ratios of Lake Turkana reflect the runoff balance of various rivers.
• Strontium isotopes document large changes in water source areas over the last 14 kyrs.
• Relative contribution of the SW rivers was enhanced during the African Humid Period.
• Lake level declined abruptly, while the rainfall locus moved gradually northwards.
• Rainfall changes appear controlled by E-W adjustments in atmospheric circulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date23 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


We gratefully acknowledge the Government of Kenya and the National Museums of Kenya for facilitating our research in the Koobi Fora, Ileret and West Turkana regions. This study was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; grant no. 824.01.005 ) and the Leakey Foundation (grants to CSF in 2009 and to JCAJ in 2012). We thank the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI; notably Louise Leakey and Meave Leakey) for logistical support and collaboration in the field. We are grateful to Thure Cerling for kindly providing unpublished data, and to Dirk van Damme for making shell material available for analysis. Mathijs van de Ven and Janne Koornneef provided analytical assistance at the VU University Amsterdam. The constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers further improved the previous version of this manuscript.

FundersFunder number
CS Fund
Fetzer Institute
Leakey Foundation
City West Water
Government of Canada
Museums Association
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek824.01.005


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