ProjectMIDSHIRE PROJECT – Geomorphotectonic Evolution of the South Malawi Rift: Implications for paleogeography and early…

Basic data

Geomorphotectonic Evolution of the South Malawi Rift: Implications for paleogeography and early hominid evolution.
01/06/2018 to 31/12/2019
Abstract / short description:
The East African Rift System (EARS) is one of the world’s natural laboratories where active tectonic processes responsible for continental rifting can be observed directly together with their environmental consequences. The rifting processes in the region have created diverse geological/ geographical environments, which over long geological times have become conducive habitats for endemic flora and fauna. Owing to its biodiversity and a rich fossil record, the EARS is an ideal environment for the study of earth-shaping and evolutionary processes including early hominin evolution. Malawi, located within the southern end of the western branch of the EARS is an area with significant potential for hominin fossil finds. The partial geographical and climatic similarities of Malawi to both the eastern and the southern Africa region within the hominin corridor of eastern and southern Africa can provide insights into the evolutionary patterns of early Homo that have been discovered in these regions to date. However, lack of detailed mapping and knowledge on the Cenozoic geology of the southern part of Malawi and its paleogeography has hampered this understanding. The present study therefore proposes to carry out detailed geological investigations in the southern part of the Malawi Rift, within the area of the Cenozoic Matope Beds, which are crucial for our understanding of tectonic and biological evolution in the Hominin Corridor between southern and eastern Africa.
Middle Shire River sediments

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Palaeobiology Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Washington, D.C., United States

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