Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2027-2039, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-14-2027-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
07 Aug 2014
Flood analysis of the Limpopo River basin through past evolution reconstruction and a geomorphological approach
M. Spaliviero1, M. De Dapper2, and S. Maló3 1United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Nairobi, Kenya
2Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
3Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique
Abstract. This research reconstructs the past evolution of the Limpopo River, a transboundary system located in south-eastern Africa, and describes its geomorphological settings through a literature review and field work activities, with the aim of analysing flood hazard in the basin. Major changes have occurred since the late Jurassic–early Cretaceous period due to successive tectonic events. The paper demonstrates that the apparently abandoned drainage conformation of the palaeo-Limpopo in the upper and middle stretches of the river today constitutes preferential flood-prone areas in the case of major rainfall events. An important palaeo-delta is identified in the lower Limpopo, which imposes a particular drainage pattern onto the floodplain in Mozambique and influences the flood dynamics at present. The adopted method is helpful in determining flood hazard in a data-scarce area showing complex fluvial dynamics, and allows for the identification of unsuitable locations for human settlements.

Citation: Spaliviero, M., De Dapper, M., and Maló, S.: Flood analysis of the Limpopo River basin through past evolution reconstruction and a geomorphological approach, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2027-2039, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-14-2027-2014, 2014.
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