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Journal Articles Quaternary Science Reviews Year : 2010

100,000 Years of African monsoon variability recorded in sediments of the Nile margin

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Marie Revel
S. Migeon
Sidonie Révillon
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J. Mascle
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A. Murat
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Delphine Bosch


Multiproxy analyses were performed on core MS27PT recovered in hemipelagic sediments deposited on the Nile margin in order to reconstruct Nile River palaeohydrological fluctuations during the last 100,000 years. The strontium and neodymium isotope composition of the terrigenous fraction and the major element distribution reveal large and abrupt changes in source, oscillating between a dominant aeolian Saharan contribution during arid periods and a dominant Nile River contribution during pluvial periods. Iron content shows a strong correlation with strontium and neodymium isotopes. This allows the use of a high-resolution continuous Fe record as a proxy of Blue Nile sediment input over the last 100,000 years. The detailed Fe record, with approximately 10 years resolution during pluvial periods, is consistent with subtropical African records of well-dated lake level fluctuations and thus constitutes a first continuous high resolution record of the East African monsoon regime intensity over Ethiopia.;The detailed Fe record shows the two main known pluvial periods attributed to strengthening of the African monsoon over Ethiopia, the Nabtian period from 14 to 8 ka cal BP and the Saharan period from 98 to 72 ka BR For the first time, the last glacial period (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2,3 and 4) is documented with a continuous record showing large oscillations between high and low East African palaeo-monsoon regimes.;The end of the Nabtian period occurred at 8 ka in core MS27PT, i.e. much earlier than on the East Equatorial African region where it ended around 5.5 ka. We interpret this as evidence that the southward shift of the rain belt occurred 3000 years earlier over the Eastern Ethiopian Highland and propose that the gradual southward migration of the rain belt was associated with highly variable intensity and longer rainy seasons from 8 to 5 ka. During the last glacial period, two wet periods are present around 60-50 ka BP and 38-30 ka BP. These two humid periods are in phase with the rise of atmospheric CH4 concentrations suggesting that wetland tropical African area was one of the sources of the atmospheric CH4 during the MIS 3. During the Last Glacial Maximum and MIS 4, high Saharan aeolian influxes in phase with records of aeolian dust deposited in East Antarctica are documented. This study highlights the importance of reconstructions of monsoon rainfall fluctuation at high temporal resolution to better understand the link between low- and high-latitude climate variability at millennial timescales.
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hal-00496481 , version 1 (30-06-2010)



Marie Revel, E. Ducassou, F. E. Grousset, S. M. Bernasconi, S. Migeon, et al.. 100,000 Years of African monsoon variability recorded in sediments of the Nile margin. Quaternary Science Reviews, 2010, 29 (11-12), pp.1342-1362. ⟨10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.006⟩. ⟨hal-00496481⟩
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