|Title||Short-lived increase in erosion during the African Humid Period: Evidence from the northern Kenya Rift|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Garcin Y, Schildgen TF, Acosta VTorres, Melnick D, Guillemoteau J, Willenbring J, Strecker MR|
|Journal||Earth and Planetary Science Letters|
|Keywords||African Humid Period; Baragoi; Be 10; erosion; northern Kenya Rift; paleo-delta|
The African Humid Period (AHP) between ∼15 and 5.5 cal. kyr BP caused major environmental change in East Africa, including filling of the Suguta Valley in the northern Kenya Rift with an extensive (∼2150 km2), deep (∼300 m) lake. Interfingering fluvio-lacustrine deposits of the Baragoi paleo-delta provide insights into the lake-level history and how erosion rates changed during this time, as revealed by delta-volume estimates and the concentration of cosmogenic 10Be in fluvial sand. Erosion rates derived from delta-volume estimates range from 0.019 to 0.03 mm yr−1. 10Be-derived paleo-erosion rates at ∼11.8 cal. kyr BP ranged from 0.035 to 0.086 mm yr−1, and were 2.7 to 6.6 times faster than at present. In contrast, at ∼8.7 cal. kyr BP, erosion rates were only 1.8 times faster than at present. Because 10Be-derived erosion rates integrate over several millennia, we modeled the erosion-rate history that best explains the 10Be data using established non-linear equations that describe in situ cosmogenic isotope production and decay. Two models with different temporal constraints (15–6.7 and 12–6.7 kyr) suggest erosion rates that were ∼25 to ∼300 times higher than the initial erosion rate (pre-delta formation). That pulse of high erosion rates was short (∼4 kyr or less) and must have been followed by a rapid decrease in rates while climate remained humid to reach the modern 10Be-based erosion rate of ∼0.013 mm yr−1. Our simulations also flag the two highest 10Be-derived erosion rates at ∼11.8 kyr BP related to non-uniform catchment erosion. These changes in erosion rates and processes during the AHP may reflect a strong increase in precipitation, runoff, and erosivity at the arid-to-humid transition either at ∼15 or ∼12 cal. kyr BP, before the landscape stabilized again, possibly due to increased soil production and denser vegetation.
|Short Title||Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.|