The Lake Victoria Drilling Project (LVDP)

Unraveling the climate and environmental history of the world’s most populated lake

Photo taken by Emily Beverly

 

The shallow, broad nature and large surface area to catchment size make Lake Victoria an extremely sensitive archive of past hydroclimate variability. Prior work on Lake Victoria and its terrestrial watershed have demonstrated that the size and extent of Lake Victoria is highly coupled to changes in precipitation. The lake has likely desiccated and refilled multiple times in its approx. history spanning 400,000 years. These fluctuations drive expansion, contraction, fragmentation, adaptation, and diversification of the flora and fauna in the lake as well as the broader watershed, thus, contributing to the dispersal of early populations of Homo sapiens across Africa and the formation and subsequent extinction of diverse communities of large-bodied herbivores that once roamed an extended Serengeti-like ecosystem.

The proposed workshop is to strategize a relatively low-cost sediment core recovery from Lake Victoria, containing a rich archive of equatorial African tectonic, climatic, and environmental change. Our goal is to recover the entire estimated 400 kyr sedimentary sequence and integrate the lacustrine and terrestrial archives of deposition, climate, and biota with climate and hydrologic modeling of the region. The Lake Victoria Drilling Project (LVDP) will leverage decades of prior research at Lake Victoria, previously restricted to available Holocene lacustrine records and limited snapshots from existing outcrops.

 

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