Some people asked me where the photo on the cover of the 4th edition of the MRES book was taken. Here is the story about it.
Between 2007 and 2014, Manfred R. Strecker and I, together with an international team of geologists, archeologists, paleoclimatologist and modelers, have had a DFG-funded project on the structural and environmental history of the Suguta Valley in the Northern Kenya Rift. The photo, taken on 23rd September 2013, shows Cathedral Rock, also known as Naperito, and island in Lake Logipi (Namakat) in the northern part of the 60 km long and 30 km wide valley (02°13’21.38″N 36°33’59.36″E).
Access to the largely unexplored Suguta Valley is very limited, mainly because of the lack of roads. In April and May 2007, the ca. 12,800 km2 large catchment of the Suguta Valley received massive rainfalls and therefore, the general very dry valley hosted a large braided and meandering river system in the center part of the valley (Suguta River and its tributaries), extensive swamps and mudbanks, as well as a ca. 80 km2 large alkaline Lake Logipi at the northern end of the valley.
The areas west and east of the river system are characterized by massive sand dunes and active river deltas. The only safe way to access the area and to survey and sample such a large region is via a helicopter. The team lived in a tented camp on the rift-shoulder area near Baragoi for climate and security reasons. The project work included a wide range of field and computer based methods, such as sediment sampling and analysis, mapping of the structural inventory as well as satellite remote sensing and hydrological modeling.
Trauth, M.H., Maslin, M.A., Deino, A., Strecker, M.R. (2005) Late Cenozoic Moisture History of East Africa. Science, 309, 2051-2053.
Trauth, M.H., Maslin, M.A., Deino, A., Junginger, A., Lesoloyia, M., Odada, E., Olago, D.O., Olaka, L., Strecker, M.R., Tiedemann, R. (2010) Human Evolution and Migration in a Variable Environment: The Amplifier Lakes of East Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, 2981-2988.
Junginger, A., Roller, S., Trauth, M.H. (2014) The effect of solar irradiation changes on water levels in the paleo-Lake Suguta, Northern Kenya Rift, during the late Pleistocene African Humid Period (15 – 5 ka BP). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 396, 1-16.
Junginger, A., Trauth, M.H. (2013) Hydrological constraints of paleo-Lake Suguta in the Northern Kenya Rift during the African Humid Period (15 – 5 ka BP). Global and Planetary Change, 111, 174–188.
Trauth, M.H., Bergner, A.G.N., Foerster, V., Junginger, A., Maslin, M.A., Schaebitz, F. (2015) Episodes of Environmental Stability and Instability in Late Cenozoic Lake Records of Eastern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 87, 21-31.