EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modern environment characterization of interdunal lakes in Inhambane province (SE Mozambique) as an analogue to understand past environmental changes

Ana Gomes1, Simon Connor2, Maria João Martins1, Brandon Zinsious1,3, Célia Gonçalves1, Delminda Moura4, Elena Skosey-LaLonde1,3, João Cascalheira1, Jonathan Haws1,5, Judite Nhanombe6, Mussa Raja1,6, Paulo Fernandes4, Reginelinda Mauelele6, Roxane Matias1, Sónia Oliveira4, Susana Costas4, and Nuno Bicho1
Ana Gomes et al.
  • 1ICArEHB, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal (
  • 2School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 3Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs-Mansfield, USA
  • 4CIMA, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
  • 5University of Louisville, Louisville, USA
  • 6Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique

To better understand Quaternary environmental changes in Southeastern Mozambique and their role in human evolution, it is first necessary to characterized the modern environment of this area and the environmental drivers on their evolution. For this reason, an international and interdisciplinary team interpreted the Inhambane Province’s geology, hydrographic and tectonic maps and open-access satellite imagery and derived products (for morphometric analysis and landscape interpretation). Inhambane province is in a coastal plain composed of a Pleistocene dune system, within which many lakes can be found. Additionally, a comprehensive review of the existing research for the region was conducted, to choose the most suitable lakes from which to collect sediment records for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. The team carried out fieldwork during the summer of 2019 in four of the selected interdunal lakes (Muangue, Nyalonzelwe, Nhambutse and Chivanene). During fieldwork the vegetation cover and the land uses were carefully described, and the lakes water column parameters were measured. Additionally, in the two lakes that presented the longest sedimentological records (Muangue and Nyalonzelwe), an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) survey was carried out to create high resolution maps and elevation models of the lakes and their surroundings. UAV flights were carried out at 25 and 60 m height, with a front and side overlap between 60 to 70 %, using georeferenced Ground control points (GCPs). The lakes’ areas vary between 0.4 (Muangue) to 0.8 km2 (Chivanene). The longest sedimentological records were found in lakes with a water level 5 m above the Mean Sea Level (MSL) and surrounded by higher dunes (between 31 and 121 m elevation in relation to MSL). Most of the lake margins are used for agriculture, livestock and housing and some have fish farming. Regarding vegetation, between 16 families and 27 species were identified around Nhambutse and 27 families and 43 species around Muangue. The lakes’ maximum depths vary between 1 (Nhambutse) and 4.6 meters (Muangue). All lakes are freshwater except Nyalonzelwe, which is brackish. On average, surface water pH varies between 7.2 (Chivanene) and 9.12 (Nyalonzelwe). Surface water temperature varies between 25.03 (Nhambutse) and 26.6 ° C (Chivanene). All the collected data highlight the diversity of interdunal lake environments in the Inhambane Province, and how these environments may impact the sedimentological record. This work was supported by project PTDC/HAR-ARQ/28148/2017, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

How to cite: Gomes, A., Connor, S., Martins, M. J., Zinsious, B., Gonçalves, C., Moura, D., Skosey-LaLonde, E., Cascalheira, J., Haws, J., Nhanombe, J., Raja, M., Fernandes, P., Mauelele, R., Matias, R., Oliveira, S., Costas, S., and Bicho, N.: Modern environment characterization of interdunal lakes in Inhambane province (SE Mozambique) as an analogue to understand past environmental changes, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11782,, 2020

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Display material version 1 – uploaded on 01 May 2020
  • CC1: Saudation from Inhambane Bay, Gorka Solana Arteche, 04 May 2020


    We are working on Inhambane bai's hidrodinamics as  you can see it in:

    Great work.

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Ana Gomes, 04 May 2020


      Thank you very much for your comment! It is very good to know more people working in Inhambane.