Workshop on drilling the Nicaraguan lakes : bridging continents and oceans (NICA-BRIDGE)

 An international, multidisciplinary research group is proposing the “NICA-BRIDGE” drilling project, within the framework of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). The project goal is to conduct scientific drilling in Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua (Nicaragua, Central America) to obtain long lacustrine sediment records to (a) extend the neotropical paleoclimate record back to the Pliocene, making it one of the longest continental tropical climate archives in the world, and to (b) provide geological data on the long-term complex interplay among tectonics, volcanism, sea-level dynamics, climate change, and
biosphere. The lakes are the two largest in Central America, and they are located in a trench-parallel half graben that hosts the volcanic front, which developed during or prior to the Pliocene, as a consequence of subduction-related
tectonic activity. The lakes are uniquely suited for multidisciplinary scientific investigation as their long, continuous sediment records (several Myr) will facilitate the study of (1) terrestrial and marine basin development at the southern Central American margin, (2) alternating lacustrine and marine environments in response to tectonic and climatic changes, (3) the longest record of tropical climate proxies, (4) the evolution of (and transition between) the Miocene to Pliocene/Pleistocene and Pleistocene to present volcanic arcs, which were separated by slab rollback, (5) the significance of the lakes as hot spots for endemism, and (6) the Great American Biotic Interchange at this strategic location, i.e., the N–S and reverse migration of fauna after the land bridge between the Americas was established.


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