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Recent environmental history of the desert oasis lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad

(2016) JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY. 55(2). p.167-183
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Abstract
The Sahara desert oasis of Ounianga Serir in northern Chad comprises seven shallow but perennial lakes, which are maintained against an extremely negative local moisture balance by continuous inflow of fossil groundwater from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer. Here we analyze the lithostratigraphy, charcoal, and fossil mollusks in short, dated sediment cores from three of these lakes (Edem, Hogou, and Agouta) to assess the hydrological and environmental stability of these unique aquatic ecosystems over the last few centuries. Our results indicate that the studied lakes remained relatively stable and fresh over the past 200-600 years, confirming the dominant and constant nature of groundwater input, preventing desiccation. Modest lake-level fluctuations did occur but were not synchronous between the lakes, arguing against climate variability being their primary cause. Likely, their site-specific history was determined by variations in groundwater through-flow, influenced by migration of sand dunes separating the lakes. The desert setting is responsible for characteristic lacustrine sediments comprised of carbonate mud with silt and sand. The associated fossil assemblages of freshwater mollusks suggest that the present-day mollusk fauna of Ounianga Serir may be more species-rich than previously thought. Our data expand the known distribution of the Palaearctic snail Valvata nilotica markedly south and westward into the central Sahara.
Keywords
Mollusks, Charcoal, Sedimentology, Desert oasis, SAHARA, SEDIMENTS, BASIN, Paleohydrology, Sahara

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Citation

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Chicago
Creutz, Mike, Bert Van Bocxlaer, Moussa Abderamane, and Dirk Verschuren. 2016. “Recent Environmental History of the Desert Oasis Lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad.” Journal of Paleolimnology 55 (2): 167–183.
APA
Creutz, M., Van Bocxlaer, B., Abderamane, M., & Verschuren, D. (2016). Recent environmental history of the desert oasis lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad. JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY, 55(2), 167–183.
Vancouver
1.
Creutz M, Van Bocxlaer B, Abderamane M, Verschuren D. Recent environmental history of the desert oasis lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad. JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY. 2016;55(2):167–83.
MLA
Creutz, Mike, Bert Van Bocxlaer, Moussa Abderamane, et al. “Recent Environmental History of the Desert Oasis Lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad.” JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY 55.2 (2016): 167–183. Print.
@article{7189985,
  abstract     = {The Sahara desert oasis of Ounianga Serir in northern Chad comprises seven shallow but perennial lakes, which are maintained against an extremely negative local moisture balance by continuous inflow of fossil groundwater from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer. Here we analyze the lithostratigraphy, charcoal, and fossil mollusks in short, dated sediment cores from three of these lakes (Edem, Hogou, and Agouta) to assess the hydrological and environmental stability of these unique aquatic ecosystems over the last few centuries. Our results indicate that the studied lakes remained relatively stable and fresh over the past 200-600 years, confirming the dominant and constant nature of groundwater input, preventing desiccation. Modest lake-level fluctuations did occur but were not synchronous between the lakes, arguing against climate variability being their primary cause. Likely, their site-specific history was determined by variations in groundwater through-flow, influenced by migration of sand dunes separating the lakes. The desert setting is responsible for characteristic lacustrine sediments comprised of carbonate mud with silt and sand. The associated fossil assemblages of freshwater mollusks suggest that the present-day mollusk fauna of Ounianga Serir may be more species-rich than previously thought. Our data expand the known distribution of the Palaearctic snail Valvata nilotica markedly south and westward into the central Sahara.},
  author       = {Creutz, Mike and Van Bocxlaer, Bert and Abderamane, Moussa and Verschuren, Dirk},
  issn         = {0921-2728},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY},
  keyword      = {Mollusks,Charcoal,Sedimentology,Desert oasis,SAHARA,SEDIMENTS,BASIN,Paleohydrology,Sahara},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {167--183},
  title        = {Recent environmental history of the desert oasis lakes at Ounianga Serir, Chad},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10933-015-9874-y},
  volume       = {55},
  year         = {2016},
}

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