A2 members just returned from another equally demanding as rewarding four-week expedition in the Tibesti mountains. The team comprised Quaternary geologist Stefan Kröpelin, archaeologist Jan Kuper, botanist Frank Darius, volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer (U Cambridge, UK), documentary filmmaker Srdan Keca (U Stanford, Palo Alto) and seven Chadians. Once more, the mission was fully supported by Baba Mallaye, president of the World Heritage Technical Committee of Chad, and by the government which provided an airfreighter to Bardai that avoided a whole week of driving.

Fieldwork focused on the ascent of Pic Toussidé, the second highest and youngest volcano of the Tibesti (3313 m); sampling of a complete section of Holocene diatomites and presumably late Pleistocene carbonate crusts at the bottom of the Trou au Natron; and the very first scientific exploration of the central Tieroko massif, which remains unknown even to the local population. It is expected that absolute dating will put the knowledge on the late Quaternary and volcanological evolution of the largest and highest mountains of the Sahara to a new level, and provide new data on the possible spread of modern humans alongside.

 

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View from Pic Toussidé on the almost 1000 m deep caldera of the Trou au Natron with apparently Holocene lava flows and secondary cones.
Photo: Stefan Kröpelin

 

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Members of the expedition.
Photo: Stefan Kröpelin

 

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RWTH Aachen University

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