ICDP workshop on the Lake Tanganyika Scientific Drilling Project: A late Miocene-present record of climate, rifting, and ecosystem evolution from the world's oldest tropical lake


James M. Russell, Brown University
Philip Barker, Lancaster Environment Centre
Andrew Cohen, The University of Arizona
Sarah Ivory, Pennsylvania State University
Ishmael Kimirei, Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
Christine Lane, University of Cambridge
Melanie Leng, British Geological Survey
Neema Maganza, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation
Michael McGlue, University of Kentucky
Emma Msaky, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation
Anders Noren, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Lisa Park Boush, University of Connecticut
Walter Salzburger, Universität Basel, Zoologisches Institut
Christopher Scholz, Syracuse University
Ralph Tiedemann, Universität Potsdam
Shaidu Nuru, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation
Christian Albrecht, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Rahma Ali, Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority
Ramon Arrowsmith, Arizona State University
Danstan Asanga, Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority
Yemane Asmerom, The University of New Mexico
Charles Bakundukize, University of Burundi
Thorsten Bauersachs, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Catherine Beck, Hamilton College
Melissa Berke, University of Notre Dame
Emily Beverley, University of Houston
Martin Blaauw, Queen's University Belfast
Lisa Boush, University of Connecticut
Erik Brown, University of Minnesota Duluth
Chris Campisano, Arizona State University
Barbara Carrapa, The University of Arizona
Isla Castaûeda, University of Massachusetts System
Andy Cohen, The University of Arizona
Sylvia Dee, Rice University
Alan Deino, Berkeley Geochronology Center
Cindy Ebinger, Tulane University

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The Neogene and Quaternary are characterized by enormous changes in global climate and environments, including global cooling and the establishment of northern high-latitude glaciers. These changes reshaped global ecosystems, including the emergence of tropical dry forests and savannahs that are found in Africa today, which in turn may have influenced the evolution of humans and their ancestors. However, despite decades of research we lack long, continuous, well-resolved records of tropical climate, ecosystem changes, and surface processes necessary to understand their interactions and influences on evolutionary processes. Lake Tanganyika, Africa, contains the most continuous, long continental climate record from the mid-Miocene (∼ 10 Ma) to the present anywhere in the tropics and has long been recognized as a top-priority site for scientific drilling. The lake is surrounded by the Miombo woodlands, part of the largest dry tropical biome on Earth. Lake Tanganyika also harbors incredibly diverse endemic biota and an entirely unexplored deep microbial biosphere, and it provides textbook examples of rift segmentation, fault behavior, and associated surface processes. To evaluate the interdisciplinary scientific opportunities that an ICDP drilling program at Lake Tanganyika could offer, more than 70 scientists representing 12 countries and a variety of scientific disciplines met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in June 2019. The team developed key research objectives in basin evolution, source-to-sink sedimentology, organismal evolution, geomicrobiology, paleoclimatology, paleolimnology, terrestrial paleoecology, paleoanthropology, and geochronology to be addressed through scientific drilling on Lake Tanganyika. They also identified drilling targets and strategies, logistical challenges, and education and capacity building programs to be carried out through the project. Participants concluded that a drilling program at Lake Tanganyika would produce the first continuous Miocene-present record from the tropics, transforming our understanding of global environmental change, the environmental context of human origins in Africa, and providing a detailed window into the dynamics, tempo and mode of biological diversification and adaptive radiations.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Scientific Drilling