Shore-Zone Sedimentation and Facies in a Closed Rift Lake: The Holocene Beach Deposits of Lake Bogoria, Kenya

  1. P. Anadón,
  2. Li. Cabrera and
  3. K. Kelts
  1. R. W. Renaut1 and
  2. R. B. Owen2

Published Online: 14 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303919.ch9

Lacustrine Facies Analysis

Lacustrine Facies Analysis

How to Cite

Renaut, R. W. and Owen, R. B. (1991) Shore-Zone Sedimentation and Facies in a Closed Rift Lake: The Holocene Beach Deposits of Lake Bogoria, Kenya, in Lacustrine Facies Analysis (eds P. Anadón, Li. Cabrera and K. Kelts), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303919.ch9

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N OWO, Canada

  2. 2

    Department of Geography and Earth Science, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, P.O. Box 280, Zomba, Malawi

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 6 SEP 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632031498

Online ISBN: 9781444303919



  • Lake Bogoria, lying within Kenya Rift Valley;
  • types of shoreline in lake basins - ‘coincident margin’ and 'non-coincident margin;
  • Fan-deltas, exhibiting depositional and erosional palaeoshoreline features;
  • linear and curved bars, representing abandoned beaches;
  • non-coincident margins, dominating eastern shoreline;
  • Holocene delta sediments;
  • shore-zone sedimentation and facies


Small beach bars, spits, and barriers, composed predominantly of coarse sand, granules, and pebbles, are present along much of the modern shoreline of Lake Bogoria, a perennial saline, alkaline lake in the Kenya Rift Valley. Study of their distribution and composition indicates that most of the sediments are derived from peripheral fan-deltas, including material brought down in flood, and that derived by erosion of older exposed fan-delta sediments. Much of the sediment is redistributed by longshore currents, induced by winds funnelled along the axis of the lake.

Surrounding the lake, a series of regressive littoral terraces, composed of angular gravels, record shoreline sedimentation associated with former higher lake levels during the Holocene. During terrace formation, many fan-delta platforms were drowned and shoaling effects reduced, thereby increasing wave energy around much of the shoreline. The terraces record a complex history of Holocene lake-level fluctuations.

Although small saline lakes are unfavourable locations for beach development, a combination of factors, including the elongate form, significant fluvial inflow, and steep margins to supply coarse debris to the shore zone, permit a narrow zone of littoral clastic accumulation.

In terms of resources, shoreline clastic sediments in rifts can host metalliferous placer deposits, and can be sources of lime and aggregate. Their potential as hydrocarbon reservoirs increases with lake size and the quartz content of the catchment rocks. Littoral sands in volcanic-rich catchments are unfavourable owing to their high reactivity during diagenesis.