Linking surface and subsurface volcanic stratigraphy in the Turkana Depression of the East African Rift System

Nick Schofield* (Corresponding Author), Richard Newton, Scott Thackrey, Douglas Watson, David Jolley, Chris Morley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Northern Kenya Rift is an important natural laboratory for understanding continental rifting processes. However, much of the current understanding of its geological evolution is based on surface outcrops within footwall highs due to a lack of subsurface geological constraints. Within this paper, we present an investigation of the Cenozoic stratigraphy and volcano-tectonic relationship of the volcanic sequences within the Turkana Depression (namely the North Lokichar, North Kerio and Turkana Basins). We integrate regional seismic reflection data collected as part of ongoing petroleum exploration in the area with lithological and biostratigraphic data from new wells that where drilled in 2014 and 2015 (Epir-1 and Emesek-1). This has allowed linking and extrapolation of the detailed stratigraphy of paleontologically important Lothagam site to the volcanic sequences within the Napedet Hills, North Lokichar, North Kerio Basins and Turkana Basins. The site of the Plio-Pleistocene-age Turkana Fault, which separates the North Lokichar Basin from the Turkana and North Kerio Basin, appears prior to have acted as a focus of Middle Miocene volcanism approx. 5 Ma prior to the main period of movement on the fault. Our study highlights how subsurface and outcrop information can be combined to give a more in-depth knowledge of the magmatic history within rift basins.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Sep 2020


  • EARS
  • Turkana
  • Lothagam
  • Volcanics
  • Kenya
  • Lokichar

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