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The Lake Albert Rift (Uganda, East African Rift System): sediment budget, deformation, basin and relief evolution since 17 Ma

Abstract : This study is based on a coupled basin infilling study and a landforms analysis of the Lake Albert Rift located at the northern part of the western branch of the East African Rift. The basin infilling study is based on both subsurface data and outcrops analysis. The objective was to (1) actualize age model, (2) to reconstruct the 3D architecture of the rift using sequence stratigraphy correlations and seismic data interpretation, (3) to characterize the deformation and its changes through times and (4) to quantify the accommodation for several time intervals. The infilling essentially consists of isopach fault-bounded units composed of lacustrine deposits wherein were characterized two major unconformities dated at 6.2 Ma (Uppermost Miocene) and 2.7 Ma (Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary), coeval with major subsidence and climatic changes. The landforms analysis is based on the characterization and relative dating of Ugandan landforms which consist of stepped planation surfaces and incised valleys. We here proposed a seven-steps reconstruction of the deformation-erosion-sedimentation relationships of the Lake Albert Basin and its catchments: - 55-45 Ma: formation of laterites corresponding to the African Surface during the very humid period of the Lower-Middle Eocene; - 45-22: stripping of the African Surface in response of the beginning of the East-African Dome uplift and formation of a pediplain which associated base level is the Atlantic Ocean; - 17-2.5 Ma: Initiation of the Lake Albert Basin around 17 Ma and creation of local base levels (Lake Albert, Edward and George) on which three pediplains tend to adapt; - 18-16 Ma to 6.2 Ma: ”Flexural” stage (subsidence rate: 150- 200 m/Ma; sedimentation rate 1.3 km3/Ma between 17 and 12 Ma and 0.6 km3/Ma from 12 to 6 Ma) – depocenters location (southern part of Lake Albert Basin) poorly controlled by fault; - 6.2 Ma to 2.5 Ma: Rift stage 1 (subsidence rate: > 500m/Ma up to 600-800 m/Ma; sedimentation rate: 2.4 km3/Ma) – Rifting climax; - 2.5-0.4 Ma: uplift of the Ruwenzori Mountains and shifting from an alluvial system to a network of bedrock river incision – Rift Stage 2 (subsidence rate: 450 to 250 m/Ma; sedimentation rate: 1.5 km3/Ma); - 0.4-0 Ma: long wavelength downwarping of the Tanzanian Craton, initiation of the Lake Victoria trough, drainage network inversion and uplift of the present-day Ugandan escarpment (normal faulting motion of the border faults) with formation of perched valleys associated to the Lower Pleistocene (2.5-0.4 Ma) rivers network. The sediment budget is successful with, between 17 and 2.5 Ma, an excess of 16 % of upstream eroded material compared to the sediment volume deposited that can be explained by the chemical erosion prevailing at this period in Central Africa. The significant (60%) opposite difference between 2.7 and 0 Ma may be the consequence of a high sediment supply resulting from the erosion of the uplifted Ruwenzori Mountains.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 2:34:59 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:17:51 PM

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Brendan Simon, François Guillocheau, Cécile Robin, Olivier Dauteuil, Thierry Nalpas, et al.. The Lake Albert Rift (Uganda, East African Rift System): sediment budget, deformation, basin and relief evolution since 17 Ma. 25 ème Réunion des sciences de la Terre (RST 2016), Société Géologique de France, Oct 2016, Caen, France. pp.294. ⟨insu-01388722⟩

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