KIVU12 Project

Funding by: MacArthur Foundation

The Kivu rift zone project was funded by the MacArthur Foundation to provide baseline studies for geohazards and climate change in the Rwanda-DRC zone of the East African rift system. The project was led by Tony Vodacek at RIT, and involved Large Lakes Observatory (Bob Hecky) , Syracuse (Chris Scholz), and Rochester.

Lake Kivu lies at the center and highest zone of the Albertine rift, in the Western rift, East Africa. It is a focal point for biodiversity in the highlands forests, as well as for the cichlid fish populations, for which it hosts a critical ancestor. A rapidly growing population surrounds Lake Kivu, which partially fills a fault-bounded rift basin.

New data show high levels of earthquake activity around the Virunga volcanoes at the north end of the lake, and active faulting along the entire length of the lake basin. Our interdisciplinary project has already resulted in two publications demonstrating the active sedimentary and volcano-tectonic systems operative in the lake system. Hubert Zal completed his MSc at University of Rochester, and he has now started a PhD at U Wellington. He is working on SKS and crustal anisotropy from the KIVU12 array. Grad student Gabrielle Tepp, Ebinger, and collaborator Simon Carn have found clear correlations between very low frequency earthquakes and SO2 gas emissions detected by satellite. Ebinger is a member of the Lake Kivu Monitoring Program Advisory Committee, serving to advise the methane gas extraction project on geohazards.

Zhang, X., C. A. Scholz, R. E. Hecky, D. A. Wood, H. Zal, C. J. Ebinger, Climatic control of the Late Quaternary turbidite sedimentology of Lake Kivu, East Africa: Implications for deep mixing and geological hazards, Geology, 42, 811-814, 2014.

Wood, D., H. Zal, C. A. Scholz, C. J. Ebinger, I. Nizéré, Evolution of the Kivu rift, East Africa: Interplays between tectonics and magmatism, Basin Research, doi: , doi: 10.1111/bre.12143.

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