ITCZ and ENSO-like pacing of Nile delta hydro-geomorphology during the Holocene

Nick Marriner, Clément Flaux, David Kaniewski, Christophe Morhange, Guillaume Leduc, Vincent Moron, Zhongyuan Chen, Françoise Gasse, Jean Yves Empereur, Jean Daniel Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Nile valley accommodates the world's longest river and shaped the development of numerous complex societies, providing a reliable source of water for farming and linking populations to sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Its fertile delta lay at the heart of ancient Egyptian civilization, however little is known of its morpho-sedimentary response to basin-wide changes in Holocene hydrology. Here, we present two well-resolved records from the Nile delta (based on ~320 radiocarbon dates) to reconstruct the timing and rhythm of catchment-scale modifications during the past 8000 years. On the orbital timescale, we demonstrate that Nilotic hydrology and sedimentation have responded to low-latitude insolation forcing while, on sub-millennial timescales, many of the major phases of deltaic modification were mediated by climate events linked to El Niño Southern Oscillation-type (ENSO) variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - 29 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank two anonymous referees, R. Bonnefille, M. Taieb and E. Van Campo for critical review and comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Research was funded by ANR Paleomed ( 09-BLAN-0323-01 ), Artemis INSU, PEPS INSHS and PEPS INEE.


  • Civilizations
  • Delta
  • ENSO
  • Holocene climate change
  • ITCZ
  • Nile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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