ESE Seminar - Nile

Prof. Dr. Claudio Faccenna (GFZ Potsdam) will give the ESE Departmental Seminar on 21 October, “Deep mantle source of intracontinental rivers“.

Join us online on by clicking “Livestream” on the seminar page at 12pm.

The Nile is the longest river on Earth and has persisted for millions of years. It has been suggested that the Nile in its present path is ~6 million years old, whereas others argue that it may have formed much earlier in geological history. Here, Prof. Dr. Claudio Faccenna presents geological evidence and geodynamic model results that suggest that the Nile drainage has been stable for ~30 million years. He suggests that the Nile’s longevity in essentially the same path is sustained by the persistence of a stable topographic gradient, which in turn is controlled by deeper mantle processes; and proposes that a large mantle convection cell beneath the Nile region has controlled topography over the last 30 million years, inducing uplift in the Ethiopian–Yemen Dome and subsidence in the Levant Sea and northern Egypt. He concludes that the drainage system of some intracontinental large rivers and their evolution over time can be sustained by a dynamic topographic gradient.


Claudio Faccenna, ESE seminar speakerProf. Dr. Claudio Faccenna is a solid Earth Scientist with a broad spectrum of interests around tectonics and geodynamics.

Initially trained as a structural geologist, he devoted most of his career on understanding processes that govern subduction, continental deformation and mantle convection over geological timescale. His cross-disciplinary expertise ranges from field-based studies (Mediterranean – Middle East, South America, Antarctica and North and East-Africa) to modelling.

He has been Chair of Structural Geology at University of Austin, Texas and Professor at Roma TRE University, and recently moved to GFZ Potsdam as Head of the Lithosphere Dynamics Section.