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|Title:||Late pleistocene and holocene environments in the Nile basin|
|Citation:||Global and Planetary Change, 2009; 69(1-2):1-15|
|Publisher:||Elsevier Science BV|
|Martin A.J. Williams|
|Abstract:||Owing to the very gently sloping nature of the flood plain in the lower White Nile valley, which is underlain by a former lake-bed, the depositional record in that area is unusually well preserved. In Egypt and along the Blue Nile phases of erosion have destroyed segments of the sedimentary record, but the White Nile sequence is a good proxy for both the main Nile and the Blue Nile. During the last 15 ka, at least, times of high flow in the Blue Nile and main Nile were synchronous with those in the White Nile. Not all the White Nile flood deposits have been preserved but calibrated radiocarbon dates obtained on fossil freshwater and amphibious Pila shells and fish bones indicate that White Nile levels were high around 14.7–13.1 ka, 9.7–9.0 ka, 7.9–7.6 ka, 6.3 ka and 3.2–2.8 ka. The Blue Nile record is more fragmentary and that of the main Nile even more so except for the Holocene Nile delta. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for high Blue Nile flows indicate very high flood levels towards 13.9–13.2 ka, 8.6 ka, 7.7 ka and 6.3 ka. Incision by the Blue Nile and main Nile has caused progressive incision in the White Nile amounting to at least 4 m since the terminal Pleistocene 15 ka ago and at least 2 m over the past 9 ka. The Blue Nile seems to have cut down at least 10 m since 15 ka and at least 4 m since 9 ka. The time-transgressive and relatively late inception of plant domestication in the Nile valley may partly reflect this history of incision. Nile incision would propagate upstream into the White Nile valley, draining previously swampy areas along the valley floor, which would then become accessible to cultivation.|
|Keywords:||Nile; Late Pleistocene; Holocene; climate change; floods; swamps; early agriculture|
|Appears in Collections:||Geography, Environment and Population publications|
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