Using Luminescence Dating to Constrain Lake Sediment Records: A New Age Model for the 1.38Ma Lake Malawi Drill Core, Eastern Africa

Laura Streib, Simon Armitage, Christopher Scholz

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The 2005 Lake Malawi deep scientific drill core is the longest and most continuous high-resolution record from the continental tropics, extending to ~1.38 Ma. While extensive sets of paleoclimate proxy data have been generated from this core, a gap in directly dated sediment, between ~74 ka and ~590 ka (28-167 meters below lake floor), has limited the understanding of climatic drivers in this system. Previous age models fill the gap in direct dates by tuning to the global δ18O stack and interpreting paleomagnetic excursions, but these methods and the resulting models remain disputed. We fill this gap in chronology using luminescence dating, with 31 samples collected at ~4 m resolution in this section of the core. Luminescence dating can sometimes be limited by relatively large uncertainties (typically ~7%) and difficulty estimating the water content history of samples. We overcome these limitations by employing a high sampling density and using the sediment record to understand changes in water content during the burial period. This yields a vastly improved and robust age model that indicates changes in sedimentation rates not discernible in prior age models.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Apr 2024

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