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paleogeographical reconstruction of successive rift lake environments in the northern and central segments of the Kenya rift from paleogene to middle-upper miocene

Abstract : The present-day rift morphologies and sedimentary environments of the northern (NKR) and central (CKR) segments of the Kenya Rift are characterized by a single half-graben rift basin that hosts today Lake Turkana in the north (5° to 3°N) and a double, fully symmetric half-graben system to the south (from about 2°30'N). To the west is the Kerio half-graben, which is occupied by a single, semi-perennial fluvial system, and to the east is a complex half-graben basin that hosts the shallow freshwater Lake Baringo to the north and the saline, alkaline and organic-rich Lake Bogoria to the south. Early rifting processes in this part of the Eastern Branch of the East African Rift System started during Eocene times in the region located between 3° and 2°30'N, and resulted in the development of a set of two parallel, N-S oriented half-graben basins - the Lokichar Basin to the west; the North Kerio Basin to the east. Vertical movements along the major border faults in the NKR resulted in two long-lived lacustrine environments, Lake Lokichar to the west and the North Kerio Lake to the east. These lakes developed from Eocene under tropical climatic conditions that induced the deposition of thick high TOC shales alternating with wide fluvio-deltaic regression bodies. During the Eocene period in the CKR, sedimentation of unknown type developed into the precursors of the Kerio and Baringo-Bogoria Basins. The presence at depth of sedimentary deposits is only demonstrated by geophysical data obtained in the Kerio and Baringo Basins, and by the Kimwarer and Kamego Formations, both poorly exposed in the Kerio and Baringo Basins and which are possible relicts of early rift deposits. These basement-sourced sediments are mainly of alluvial fan and fluvial type, with brief occurrences of shallow lake environment. At the contrary of the southern NKR, abundant volcanism marked by large volumes of basaltic/ phonolitic lavas resulted in the complete filling by lavas of the whole central segment from 23 to 15 Ma. Later on, major vertical movements along the Elgeyo, Saimo and Laikipia border faults contributed to create two new half-grabens prefiguring the present-day Kerio and Baringo Basins. From early to middle Miocene, large lake bodies developed in these two basins, where they are illustrated by the Tambach and Ngorora Formations, both representative of large freshwater to saline lake environments with a good source rock potential. From about 8 Ma, rifting migrates from west to east, resulting in a single tectonically active half-graben that hosted a suite of lacustrine environments of which present-day Lakes Baringo and Bogoria are the remnants.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 4:29:59 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:17:34 PM

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  • HAL Id : insu-00913422, version 1

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George Muia, Jean-Jacques Tiercelin. paleogeographical reconstruction of successive rift lake environments in the northern and central segments of the Kenya rift from paleogene to middle-upper miocene. 14 ème congrès français de sédimentologie, Nov 2013, Paris, France. pp.289. ⟨insu-00913422⟩

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