RIFTLINK - Rift dynamics, uplift and climate change in Equatorial Africa
interdisciplinary research funded by the DFG
Feedback between tectonic uplift and erosional denudation can have drastic effects on global and regional climate patterns, which in turn have a significant impact on ecosystems and biogeographic zone distributions. RIFTLINK addresses the causes of rift-flank uplift in the East African Rift since the Late Miocene, its impact on climate changes in Equatorial Africa, and the possible consequences for the evolution of hominids. The immediate objective is to gain a process understanding of rift-flank uplift by investigating the origin of the more than 5000 meter high Rwenzori Mountains, which are located within the Ugandan part of the East African Rift. RIFTLINK integrated research includes geophysics, petrology, low-temperature thermochronology, structural geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, paleontology, isotope geochemistry, climatology and numerical modelling. An ideal outcome of RIFTLINK would be a significant step towards a comprehensive geodynamic understanding of rift systems.