British Scientists Use Lake Sedimentation To Uncover Vanuatu's Climate History

University of Southampton team analyzing mud at bottom of Lake Emaotul

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 30, 2017) – A team of world leading scientists from the university of Southampton, UK, are using the mud that has accumulated over thousands of years in the bottom of Lake Emaotul on Efate, to reconstruct the story of Vanuatu’s climate and history.

When it rains, sod washes into the lakes, but when it is dry the mud contains more plant material.

Using scientific equipment, the researchers analyse the mud to see periods of wet and dry.

Preliminary results have revealed a 2000 year record that includes changes from wetter climate to drier about 1000 years ago – a time of change across the Pacific.

The record in the mud also captures the Kuwae volcanic eruption of 1458 – one of the largest in the historical record.

The top of the mud contains records of cyclone Pam, and the strong El Nino of 1992.

The team is back to present their report to the Geo Hazards and Climate Division, and to share their results with the people of Vanuatu “It’s your lake, your story”.

The team hope to go deeper into the past, to a time before the first Ni-Vanuatuans arrived.

“We are so excited, this is a unique record from a very special place.”

Vanuatu Daily Post
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