There is little geochonological data on sedimentation in dambos (seasonally saturated, channel-less valley floors) found throughout Central and Southern Africa. Radiocarbon dating is problematic for dambos due to (i) oxidation of organic materials during dry seasons; and (ii) the potential for contemporary biological contamination of near-surface sediments. However, for luminescence dating the equatorial site and semi-arid climate facilitate grain bleaching, while the gentle terrain ensures shallow water columns, low turbidity, and relatively long surface exposures for transported grains prior to deposition and burial. For this study, we focused on dating sandy strata (indicative of high-energy fluvial events) at various positions and depths within a second-order dambo in central Uganda. Blue-light quartz optically stimulated luminescences (OSL) ages were compared with infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) and thermoluminescence (TL) ages from finer grains in the same sample. A total of 8 samples were dated, with 6 intervals obtained at ???35, 33, 16, 10.4, 8.4, and 5.9 ka. In general, luminescence ages were stratigraphically, geomorphically and ordinally consistent and most blue-light OSL ages could be correlated with well-dated climatic events registered either in Greenland ice cores or Lake Victoria sediments. Based upon OSL age correlations, we theorize that extreme fluvial dambo events occur primarily during relatively wet periods, often preceding humid-to-arid transitions. The optical ages reported in this study provide the first detailed chronology of dambo sedimentation, and we anticipate that further dambo work could provide a wealth of information on the paleohydrology of Central and Southern Africa. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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An optical age chronology of late Quaternary extreme fluvial events recorded in Ugandan dambo soils