Journal of
Geology and Mining Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Geol. Min. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9766
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGMR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 172

Full Length Research Paper

The role of isotope geology in the reconstruction of the Cenozoic history of Kenya

Eric O. Odada
Department of Geology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 25 March 2009
  •  Published: 30 April 2009



Geochronology has had a dramatic impact on the understanding of African geology. Consideration of the radiometrically dated geological phenomena in the continent has led to a more complete view of the evolution of Africa. In this paper, the role of isotope geology in constructing the cenozoic history of Kenya is systematically reviewed. The general sequence in the cenozoic volcanics shows a continuous history of rift formation and volcanic activities from mid-Tertiary times. Stable isotope measurements on carbonates have been used to elucidate climatic conditions prevailing at the time of deposition of these materials. Radio-isotopic dates on igneous material have helped to erect an overall time scales for homonid evolution in East Africa. Despite shortcomings in the available ages, isotope geology has played a significant role in the construction of the geological history of Kenya.


Key words: Geochronology, isotopes, cenozoic, rifting, volcanism, palaeoclimate, fossils, homonids, reconstruction, evolution.