Paleo-megalake and paleo-megafan in southern Africa

Joel E. Podgorski, Alan G. Green, Lesego Kgotlhang, Wolfgang K.H. Kinzelbach, Thomas Kalscheuer, Esben Auken, Tiyapo Ngwisanyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The near juxtaposition of the Makgadikgadi Basin (Botswana), the world's largest saltpan complex, with the Okavango Delta, one of the planet's largest inland deltas (technically an alluvial megafan), has intrigued explorers and scientists since the middle of the 19th century. It was clear from early observations that the Makgadikgadi Basin once contained a huge lake, paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi. Several authors have since speculated that this lake also covered wide regions to the north and west of the Makgadikgadi Basin. Our interpretation of unusually high-quality helicopter time-domain electromagnetic (HTEM) data indicates that paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi extended northwestward at least into the region presently occupied by the Okavango Delta. The total area of paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi exceeded 90,000 km2, larger than Earth's most extensive freshwater body today, Lake Superior (North America). Our HTEM data, constrained by ground-based geophysical and borehole information, also provide evidence for a paleo-megafan underlying paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1158
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources

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