Turbidite systems of lacustrine rift basins: Examples from the Lake Kivu and Lake Albert rifts, East Africa

Xuewei Zhang, Christopher A. Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The Holocene turbidite systems of Lake Kivu and the Pliocene turbidite systems of Lake Albert in the East African Rift were examined using high-resolution 2-D and 3-D seismic reflection data and sediment core information. Based on investigations of seismic facies and lithofacies, several key turbidity-flow depositional elements were observed, including channels, overbank levees with sediment waves, and depositional lobes. Analyses of the sources of the recent and ancient turbidite systems in these two extensional basins suggest that flood-induced hyperpycnal flows are important triggers of turbidity currents in lacustrine rift basins. From source to sink, sediment dispersal, facies distribution, and depositional thickness of the turbidite systems are strongly influenced by rift topography. The Lake Kivu and Lake Albert rifts serve as excellent analogues for understanding the sedimentary patterns of lacustrine turbidites in extensional basins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages15
JournalSedimentary Geology
StatePublished - Jul 5 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the two anonymous reviewers and editor Dr. J. Knight for constructive comments. We gratefully acknowledge the Uganda and the Rwanda governments for permission to conduct this research, and for providing the Semliki 3-D seismic data and Lake Kivu bathymetric data. Support for this research was provided by the MacArthur Foundation, Anadarko, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Shell, Statoil, Tullow, and Vanoil Energy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Depositional element
  • East Africa Rift
  • Lacustrine rift basin
  • Lake Albert
  • Lake Kivu
  • Turbidite

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