The sedimentary response to a rapid change in lake level in Lake Tanganyika

James McManus, Silke Severmann, Andrew S. Cohen, Jennifer L. McKay, Bo R. Montanye, Anne M. Hartwell, Rebecca L.P. Brucker, Robert Wheatcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We present records of sedimentary organic carbon, nitrogen, and carbonate, and stable isotope records of organic material and carbonate from a series of sediment cores that straddle the permanent chemocline in Lake Tanganyika. Sedimentation rates for these cores are consistent among the sites (~0.05-0.1cm y-1), and all records show an increase in sedimentary carbonate (aragonite) content centered at ~1879. The mid-19th century coincides with a major (~10m) lake level transgression. Throughout the period of lake level transgression and subsequent regression, the organic matter δ13C and δ15N records develop a prominent and coincident negative excursion followed by a return to values similar to those prior to the lake level transgression. This negative excursion in δ15N and δ13C is also coincident with an increase in carbonate-corrected organic carbon. We interpret the δ13C results as a decline in primary production during the transgression with the δ15N results signaling a concomitant increase in the reliance on nitrogen fixation as the nitrogen source. The coincident peak in organic carbon is interpreted as being a result of enhanced preservation driven by the precipitation and burial of aragonite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-658
Number of pages12
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015


  • Geochemistry
  • Lake Tanganyika
  • Little Ice Age
  • Transgression
  • δC
  • δN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'The sedimentary response to a rapid change in lake level in Lake Tanganyika'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this