Flood analysis of the Limpopo River basin through past evolution reconstruction and a geomorphological approach
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.