Asfawossen Asrat

Asfawossen Asrat
Botswana International University of Science and Technology | BIUST · Mining and Geological Engineering

PhD in Geochemistry and Petrology

About

152
Publications
78,135
Reads
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3,411
Citations
Introduction
Asfawossen Asrat currently works at the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, Botswana International University of Science and Technology and is also affiliated to the School of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University. Asfawossen does research in Igneous Petrology, Geochemistry, Mineral Exploration, Quaternary Geology, Paleoclimatology-Paleoenvironment, Geoarchaeology, Geoheritage, and the broad field of Earth Surface Processes.
Additional affiliations
March 2016 - July 2022
Addis Ababa University
Position
  • Professor
March 2007 - March 2016
Addis Ababa University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2002 - March 2007
Addis Ababa University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 1998 - September 2002
Universite Henri Poincare
Field of study
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
September 1995 - July 1997
Addis Ababa University
Field of study
  • Geology and Geophysics
September 1989 - November 1993
Addis Ababa University
Field of study
  • Geology

Publications

Publications (152)
Article
Full-text available
Efforts to date the oldest modern human fossils in eastern Africa, from Omo-Kibish 1–3 and Herto 4,5 in Ethiopia, have drawn on a variety of chronometric evidence, including ⁴⁰ Ar/ ³⁹ Ar ages of stratigraphically associated tuffs. The ages that are generally reported for these fossils are around 197 thousand years (kyr) for the Kibish Omo I 3,6,7 ,...
Article
Paleoanthropologists have long speculated about the role of environmental change in shaping human evolution in Africa. In recent years, drill cores of late Neogene lacustrine sedimentary rocks have yielded valuable high-resolution records of climatic and ecosystem change. Eastern African Rift sediments (primarily lake beds) provide an extraordinary...
Article
The water resources in the upper Awash basin in central Ethiopia are intensively utilized by the densely populated urban centers and extensive agricultural activities in the wide rift plains surrounding the major cities. The green, blue, grey and total water footprints of major crops dominantly cultivated in the sub-basin (teff, maize, sorghum and...
Article
Full-text available
The evaluation of groundwater geochemistry of transboundary aquifers has an important role in the management and sustainable use of groundwater resources in arid and semi-arid regions. This study presents the results of an integrated hydrogeochemical study of the Bulal transboundary aquifers located in the Borena zone, along the Ethiopia-Kenya bord...
Article
A multiproxy oxygen and carbon isotope (δ 13 C and δ 18 O), growth rate, and trace element stalagmite paleoenvironmental record is presented for the Early Holocene from Ethiopia. The annually laminated stalagmite grew from 10.6 to 10.4 ka and from 9.7 to 9.0 ka with a short hiatus at ∼9.25 ka. Statistically significant and coherent spectral frequen...
Article
The Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) is renowned as a focus of investigations into human origins. It is also the site of many large volcanic calderas, whose eruptions have spanned the timeframe of speciation, cultural innovation, and dispersal of our species. Yet, despite their significance for dating human fossils and cultural materials, the timing and g...
Article
A global survey of researchers was conducted to gather perceptions on the prevalence and impact of predatory academic journals and conferences. The survey was open and inclusive in nature, with 1872 researchers, from a wide array of geographic regions, disciplines and academic career stages, voluntarily participating. Both quantitative and qualitat...
Article
We introduce a new method to compute plant distribution in Ethiopia under paleoclimatic conditions using fuzzy logic. Using a published map of the potential vegetation for Ethiopia we decipher the boundary conditions for the main vegetation units shown, reflecting modern climatic conditions for temperature and precipitation in this region. Fuzzy lo...
Conference Paper
Southern Ethiopia has undergone tremendous climatic changes, from dry and relatively cold during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 25–18 ka) to the African Humid Period (AHP, 15–5 ka), and back to present-day dry conditions. As a contribution to better understand the effects of climate change on vegetation and lakes, we here present a Predictive Veget...
Article
During the last African Humid Period (AHP; 15–5 ka), many lakes in the East African Rift System (EARS) experienced pronounced lake-level variations that dramatically transformed the hydrological landscape. Currently dry, saline or marshy-wetland terminal lakes became vast waterbodies, interconnected via overflow sills resulting in the formation of...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding eastern African paleoclimate is critical for contextualizing early human evolution, adaptation, and dispersal, yet Pleistocene climate of this region and its governing mechanisms remain poorly understood due to the lack of long, orbitally-resolved, terrestrial paleoclimate records. Here we present leaf wax hydrogen isotope records of...
Article
There is ongoing debate concerning whether or not changes in the eastern African climate, both long-term and short-term, affected the evolution, dispersal, cultural development, and technological innovations of Homo sapiens – and if so, in what way. We present the wavelet spectral analysis results of a ∼620 kyr record of environmental change from t...
Article
Full-text available
Gaet’ale (GAL) and Mud’ara (MUP) are two hypersaline ponds located in the Danakil Depression recharged by underground water from the surrounding highlands. These two ponds have different pH, salinity, and show variation in the concentration of many ionic components. Metagenomic analysis concludes that GAL is dominated by bacteria as in the case of...
Article
Full-text available
During the past 25 ka, southern Ethiopia has undergone tremendous climatic changes, from dry and relatively cold during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 25–18 ka) to the African Humid Period (AHP, 15–5 ka), and back to present-day dry conditions. As a contribution to better understand the effects of climate change on vegetation and lakes, we here pre...
Preprint
Full-text available
A multiproxy oxygen and carbon isotope (d13C and d18O), growth rate and trace element stalagmite paleoenvironmental record is presented for the Early Holocene from Achere Cave, Ethiopia. The annually laminated stalagmite grew from 10.6 to 10.4 ka, and from 9.7 to 9.0 ka with a short hiatus at ~9.25 ka. Using oxygen and carbon isotopic, and cave mon...
Article
The hypothesis of a connection between the onset (or intensification) of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, the stepwise increase in African aridity (and climate variability), and an important mammalian (including hominin) species turnover is a textbook example of the initiation of a scientific idea and its propagation in science. It is, however, also...
Article
Full-text available
The acid ponds of the Danakil Depression in northern Ethiopia are polyextreme environments that exceed the normal physicochemical limits of pH, salinity, ion content, and temperature. We tested for the occurrence of DNA-based life in this environment using Metagenomic Shotgun DNA sequencing approaches. The obtained sequences were examined by the bi...
Article
Despite eastern Africa being a key location in the emergence of Homo sapiens and their subsequent dispersal out of Africa, there is a paucity of long, well-dated climate records in the region to contextualize this history. To address this issue, we dated a ∼293 m long composite sediment core from Chew Bahir, south Ethiopia, using three independent...
Article
Full-text available
Reconstructions of climatic and environmental conditions can contribute to current debates about the factors that influenced early human dispersal within and beyond Africa. Here we analyse a 200,000-year multi-proxy paleoclimate record from Chew Bahir, a tectonic lake basin in the southern Ethiopian rift. Our record reveals two modes of climate cha...
Article
In this study, we synthesize terrestrial and marine proxy records, spanning the past 620 ky, to decipher pan-African climate variability and its drivers and potential linkages to hominin evolution. We find a tight correlation between moisture availability across Africa to El Niño Southern Ocean oscillation (ENSO) variability, a manifestation of the...
Article
Full-text available
Annually laminated speleothems have the potential to provide information on high-frequency climate variability and, simultaneously, provide good chronological constraints. However, there are distinct types of speleothem annual laminae, from physical to chemical, and a common mechanism that links their formation has yet to be found. Here, we analyze...
Article
The Chew Bahir Drilling Project (CBDP) aims to test possible linkages between climate and hominin evolution in Africa through the analysis of sediment cores that have recorded environmental changes in the Chew Bahir basin (CHB). In this statistical project we used recurrence plots (RPs) together with a recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) to di...
Article
Full-text available
Establishing robust environmental proxies at newly investigated terrestrial sedimentary archives is a challenge, because straightforward climate reconstructions can be hampered by the complex relationship between climate parameters and sediment composition, proxy preservation or (in)sufficient sample material. We present a minimally invasive hypers...
Article
Full-text available
A global investigation discovers where annually laminated stalagmites are found, analyzes their growth properties, and explains how they can be best used in Earth science research.
Article
Obsidian is abundant in the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER). Petrological and geochemical features of obsidian from four volcanic centers in the MER, namely Birenti, Dofen, Fentale and Kone, are presented. Compositional and petrological variability is noted among the Dofen and Fentale obsidian, but not in those from Kone and Birenti where each have separ...
Article
The Tulu Kapi syenite-hosted gold mineralization in the Western Ethiopian Shield has been under exploration during the last few decades. The geochemical and petrological characterization of the intrusive rocks and their alterations including the gold hosting syenites are crucial in appraising the economic potential of the mineralized belt on a larg...
Article
Full-text available
We present new mineralogical and geochemical data from modern sediments in the Chew Bahir basin and catchment, Ethiopia. Our goal is to better understand the role of modern sedimentary processes in chemical proxy formation in the Chew Bahir paleolake, a newly investigated paleoclimatic archive, to provide environmental context for human evolution a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Efforts to date the oldest modern human fossils in East Africa, from Omo-Kibish and Herto in Ethiopia, have drawn on a variety of chronometric evidence, including 40Ar/39Ar ages of stratigraphically-associated tuffs. The generally-accepted ages for these fossils are ca. 196 thousand years (ka) for the Kibish Omo I and ca. 160-155 ka for the Herto h...
Article
The biggest and most spectacular blister caves in the world are found in the Fentale–Metehara area, in the Main Ethiopian Rift, where we inventoried 639 blisters and blister caves in an area of 80 sq. km straddling between the southern foot of Fentale volcano and the northern shore of Lake Beseka. The blisters were formed by a unique geological pro...
Article
The Adwa-Yeha felsic plugs and domes are chain of towering inverted cone-shaped isolated plugs and circular domes with wide basal diameters and steep-sided, narrow tops. They form contrasting prominent topography from the Trap basalt ridges of the Adwa-Axum-Tekeze volcanic ridge, located just west of the Northern Afar Depression. The felsic plugs a...
Article
Current models of early hominin biological and cultural evolution are shaped almost entirely by the data accumulated from the East African Rift System (EARS) over the last decades. In contrast, little is known about the archaeological record from the high-elevation regions on either side of the Rift. Melka Wakena is a newly discovered site-complex...
Article
An integrated field, petrological, as well as major and trace element geochemical study of a suite of basaltic and associated rhyolitic rocks of the Alaje Formation from the continental flood basalts of the Aiba area of northern Ethiopia has been conducted. The study constrained the geochemical and petrogenetic association of the basaltic and rhyol...
Article
Full-text available
The Ethiopian rift is known for its diverse landscape, ranging from arid and semi-arid savannahs to high and humid mountainous regions. Lacustrine sediments and paleo-shorelines indicate water availability fluctuated dramatically from deep fresh water lakes, to shallow highly alkaline lakes, to completely desiccated lakes. To investigate the role l...
Conference Paper
This paper reports on the application of advanced hyperspectral analysis to support the nondestructive study of samples from long sediment cores (up to 280 m coring depth) collected under the Hominin Sites and Paleolake Drilling Program (HSPDP) in the Chew Bahir region of southern Ethiopia. For this purpose, the bidirectional reflectance of 35 core...
Article
The Gohatsion Formation consists of a cyclic intercalation of fine siliciclastic and evaporite/carbonate beds and has been subdivided into three informal members, namely the Lower Mudrock Member, the Gypsum Member and the Upper Mudrock Member. Four lithostratigraphic sections were constructed at the Gohatsion, Dejen, Mugher and Jemma localities. Li...
Article
Full-text available
The Chew Bahir Drilling Project (CBDP) aims to test possible linkages between climate and evolution in Africa through the analysis of sediment cores that have recorded environmental changes in the Chew Bahir basin. In this statistical project we consider the Chew Bahir palaeolake to be a dynamical system consisting of interactions between its diffe...
Poster
Full-text available
Tana Basin is characterized by a widespread dike and pipe feeders which contributed to the mid-Tertiary flood basalt flows of the sector of the Ethiopian plateau. Moreover, It is also characterized by complex lithological and tectonic features with erosional escarp-ment on western side of Lake Tana. These volcanic events are followed by Quaternary...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Eastern African hydroclimate in the early Holocene created a lush landscape in what is commonly referred to as the African Humid Period (AHP: ∼15 to 5 ka). The termination of the AHP was characterised by a climatic shift towards drier conditions. This resulted in the desiccation of many lakes and may have pressured hunter-gather societies to move t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The sediments of the Chew Bahir playa lake in southern Ethiopia were cored down to 280 m depth in the context of HSPDP (Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project) and CRC (Collaborative Research Center) 806 "Our way to Europe" projects. The main aim is to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions during the development of anatomically moder...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Kenyan and Ethiopian rifts in eastern Africa are known for their diverse landscape, ranging from arid and semi-arid savannahs to high and lush mountainous regions, where anatomically modern humans were present since ∼195 ka BP. Lacustrine sediments and paleo-shorelines indicate water availability fluctuated dramatically during this period from...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
How do we convert variabilities and trends in hundreds of potential parameters that are typically analyzed in the framework of a scientific drilling project to actual climate proxies? Using the case study from the Chew Bahir core from the southern Ethiopian Rift, we will show that deciphering climate information from lake sediments is challenging,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Investigations on short (≤18.8 m) sediment cores retrieved along a NW-SE transect across the Chew Bahir (CB) basin, Southern Ethiopian Rift, have shown that they can provide valuable climate information (Förster et al., 2012). The relationship between mineralogical and geochemical properties of the core samples is closely linked to the hydroclimate...
Chapter
Although broad-based tourism is well established in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and to some extent in South Africa, across the rest of the continent there is an emphasis on wildlife and cultural tourism. Sustainability concerns focus mainly on habitat loss and support for rural communities. The single UNESCO Geopark in Morocco ref...
Article
Oxygen and carbon (d 18 Ο/d 13 C) isotope, growth rate and trace element data are reported for a U-Th dated, annually-laminated stalagmite, GM1 from Goda Mea Cave, Ethiopia. The stalagmite grew intermittently around the last interglacial. The proxy records are used to develop a conceptual growth model of the stalagmite and to assess its potential f...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological findings, numerical human dispersal models and genome analyses suggest several time windows in the past 200 kyr (thousands of years ago) when anatomically modern humans (AMH) dispersed out of Africa into the Levant and/or Arabia. From close to the key hominin site of Omo-Kibish, we provide near continuous proxy evidence for environme...
Article
We used a change point analysis on a late Pleistocene–Holocene lake-sediment record from the Chew Bahir basin in the southern Ethiopian Rift to determine the amplitude and duration of past climate transitions. The most dramatic changes occurred over 240 yr (from ~15,700 to 15,460 yr) during the onset of the African Humid Period (AHP), and over 990...
Article
Full-text available
The nations that are most vulnerable to climate change must drive discussions of modelling, ethics and governance, argue A. Atiq Rahman, Paulo Artaxo, Asfawossen Asrat, Andy Parker and 8 co-signatories.
Article
Deciphering paleoclimate from lake sediments is a challenge due to the complex relationship between climate parameters and sediment composition. Here we show the links between potassium (K) concentrations in the sediments of the Chew Bahir basin in the Southern Ethiopian Rift and fluctuations in the catchment precipitation/evaporation balance. Our...
Article
The nature and amplitude of past environmental changes and their postulated correlation with steps in the evolution of humans, with their cultural and technological developments, and with their expansion out of Africa, are all subject to continuing debate. We present a change point analysis of a Late Quaternary high-resolution lake-sediment record...
Article
Given its proximity to the Strait of Bab el Mandeb and the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa is particularly important for understanding human and faunal migration events to and from Africa. Towards the end of the Pleistocene, the Middle/Later Stone Age (MSA/LSA) transition represents a critical step in human cultural evolution. However, in the Horn of A...
Article
The Melka Wakena archaeological site-complex is located at the eastern rift margin of the central sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), in south central Ethiopia. This wide, gently sloping rift shoulder, locally called the “Gadeb plain” is underlain by a succession of primary pyroclastic deposits and intercalated fluvial sediments as well as rew...
Article
Abstract Excavations at the site of Goda Buticha, Ethiopia, have recovered a small sample of engraved ostrich eggshell (EOES) fragments. The earliest specimens date to ~ 34 ka and ~ 43 ka, thus representing the oldest known examples of EOES in eastern Africa, and occur in association with a Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithic assemblage. The occurrence o...
Chapter
This chapter outlines a summary of potential geoheritage sites in Ethiopia and discusses some promotion and conservation challenges. Ethiopia can be considered as one of the major geoheritage hotspots in the world. It hosts unique and diverse geological features including active volcanic and tectonic processes leading to the birth of a new oceanic...
Article
Corbetti caldera is the southernmost large volcanic system in Ethiopia, and has been categorized at the highest level of uncertainty in terms of hazard and risk. Until now, the number and frequency of past explosive eruptions at Corbetti has been unknown, due to limited studies of frequently incomplete and patchy outcrop sequences. Here we use volc...
Article
Full-text available
Corbetti caldera is the southernmost large volcanic system in Ethiopia, and has been categorized at the highest level of uncertainty in terms of hazard and risk. Until now, the number and frequency of past explosive eruptions at Corbetti has been unknown, due to limited studies of frequently incomplete and patchy outcrop sequences. Here we use volc...
Article
Full-text available
The central objective of this paper is to show how a geomorphosite inventory can improve the knowledge of geomorphological and geological heritage in developing countries. We propose an inclusive and systematic approach of protection and outreach of the geomorphological heritage based on a geomorphosite inventory. Twenty-one geomorphosites were ide...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous volcanoes in the Afar Triangle and adjacent Ethiopian Rift Valley have erupted during the Quaternary, depositing volcanic ash (tephra) horizons that have provided crucial chronology for archaeological sites in eastern Africa. However, late Pleistocene and Holocene tephras have hitherto been largely unstudied and the more recent volcanic hi...
Article
The possibility of a causal relationship between Earth history processes and hominin evolution in Africa has been the subject of intensive paleoanthropological research for the last 25 years. One fundamental question is: can any geohistorical processes, in particular, climatic ones, be characterized with su cient precision to enable temporal correl...
Article
Full-text available
Goda Buticha is a cave site near Dire Dawa in southeastern Ethiopia that contains an archaeological sequence sampling the late Pleistocene and Holocene of the region. The sedimentary sequence displays complex cultural, chronological and sedimentological histories that seem incongruent with one another. A first set of radiocarbon ages suggested a lo...