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Geological Society of America's top journal, Geology, begins 2014 with 10 new articles
Date:1/8/2014

e of the most climatically sensitive areas on Earth, varying from lake-studded savannah woodland to hyperarid desert over the course of a glacial-interglacial cycle. In currently semiarid Sudan there is widespread evidence that a very large freshwater lake once filled the White Nile River valley. This paper by Timothy Barrows and colleagues presents the first quantitative estimate for the dimensions of the lake and a direct age for the emplacement of its shoreline. Using a dating approach based on exposure to cosmic rays, they estimate an exposure age of 109 thousand years (plus or minus eight thousand) for this megalake, indicating that it probably formed during the last interglacial period. This age is supported by optically stimulated luminescence dating of Blue Nile paleochannels associated with the lake. Using a high-resolution digital elevation model, Barrows and colleagues estimate that the lake was more than 45,000 square kilometers in area, making it comparable to the largest freshwater lakes on Earth today. They attribute the lake's existence to seasonal flood pulses as a result of local damming of the White Nile by a more southern position of the Blue Nile and greatly increased precipitation associated with an enhanced monsoon.


Heading down early on? Start of subduction on Earth
Simon Turner et al., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; simon.turner@mq.edu.au. Published online ahead of print on 6 Jan. 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34886.1.

This study by Simon Turner and colleagues compares the rock succession and geochemistry from a modern example of plate subduction (where one tectonic plate descends beneath another beneath a line of volcanoes) with this from the oldest rocks on Earth. The favorable comparison is used to suggest that modern-day plate tectonics
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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