Introduction

The Lake Malawi Drilling Project recently completed a scientific drilling campaign on Lake Malawi, recovering a series of continuous sediment cores for paleoclimate studies. Lake Malawi is situated at the southern end of the East African Rift Valley, and has long been recognized as an outstanding laboratory and archive for the study of tropical paleoclimatology, extensional tectonics, and evolutionary biology. Along with Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi holds the promise of a high-resolution paleoclimate record of unparalleled antiquity in the continental tropics. Lake Malawi is one of the world's largest, deepest (maximum water depth of 700 m), and oldest lakes (>7ma?), and is the largest lake in the southern hemisphere (9º-14ºS) after Lake Tanganyika.


Bathymetric map of Lake Malawi with locations of two 2005 drill sites.  Small   images to right are 
seismic reflection profiles acquired over the two core   sites.  Bathymetric contour interval is 100 m.  
Drilling operations mobilized   from Chipoka, and the project was resupplied from the ports of 
Nkhata Bay and Chilumba.
High Resolution Image Malawi Drill Barge departing The dynamically-positioned drilling barge Viphya, departing port. Lake Malawi is one of the world's largest and deepest lakes, and along with Lake Tanganyika contains more than 80% of the surface freshwater on the African continent. New drill core evidence shows that the 700 m-deep lake was reduced by more than 500 m prior to 75,000 years ago, indicating periods of severe aridity. Image courtesy of M.R. Talbot, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bergen. High Resolution Image
Viphya Flyover
Aerial view of the 160' drilling barge on Lake Malawi in 2005, where 26 members of the drill team,  
science team, and ships crew lived for six weeks.   
Image courtesy of I. Castaneda, University of Minnesota.     
High Resolution Image

Key Scientific Objectives



Science team rig floor
Members of the science team await the next sample on the crowded rig floor.
Image courtesy of C.A. Scholz, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University.
High Resolution Image


Scientific Drilling Completed on Lake Malawi – March 2005

 

Outreach I
Science team member briefs a group of secondary school students on rig operations. 
Image courtesy of C.A. Scholz, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University 
High Resolution Image

Outreach II
Science team member shows an example of a lake sediment core to a group of  Malawian secondary 
school students. 
Image courtesy of I. Castaneda, University of Minnesota.     
High Resolution Image


 Waterspout with lake flies
Waterspout near drilling barge Viphya at conculsion of drilling operation, along with hatch of lake flies. 
Image courtesy of C.A. Scholz, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University. 
High Resolution Image


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