Paleoglaciated landscapes in Simen and other high-mountain areas of Ethiopia

Hurni, Hans (2015). Paleoglaciated landscapes in Simen and other high-mountain areas of Ethiopia. In: Billi, Paolo (ed.) Landscapes and landforms of Ethiopia (pp. 139-146). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer 10.1007/978-94-017-8026-1_6

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In the present-day Ethiopia, glaciated landscapes do not exist, but paleoglaciated landscapes have been documented on a few mountain tops, which have altitudes higher than about 4,350 m asl in northern Ethiopia (Simen Mountains) and about 4,100 m asl in southern Ethiopia (Arsi and Bale Mountains). Glaciers were associated with the Late Pleistocene cold stages and reached as far down as 3,760 m asl in northern and 3,200 m asl in southern Ethiopia. Bale Mountains had the most extensive Late Pleistocene glaciation, covering over 190 km2, followed by Arsi Mountains (about 85 km2). In Simen, the Late Pleistocene glaciers covered merely 13 km2. In addition, paleo-periglacial slope deposits are found on all above-mentioned paleoglaciated mountains and in further mountain systems which did not host glaciers. This allows the reconstruction of the Late Pleistocene paleoclimate as being about 8 °C colder than at present (2014), much more dry, and probably without monsoon, at least in northern Ethiopia. Most probably in the Early Holocene, the re-emergence of monsoonal rains led to a strong erosion phase, which was followed by an extended stable phase with soil formation, building up about 70-cm-deep A-horizons (Andosol) on the paleo-periglacial slope deposits. These soils have been heavily degraded due to human-induced soil erosion up to about 3800 m asl since agriculture started several decades to millennia ago.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography > Unit Sustainable Land Management
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Hurni, Hans


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics








Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2016 16:19

Last Modified:

19 Feb 2019 09:52

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