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    Assessing the paleoenvironmental potential of Pliocene to Holocene tufa deposits along the Ghaap Plateau escarpment (South Africa) using stable isotopes

    Dorana, T.L. and Herries, A.I.R. and Hopley, Philip J. and Somebroek, H. and Hellstrom, J. and Hodge, E. and Kuhng, B.F. (2015) Assessing the paleoenvironmental potential of Pliocene to Holocene tufa deposits along the Ghaap Plateau escarpment (South Africa) using stable isotopes. Quaternary Research 84 (1), pp. 133-143. ISSN 0033-5894.

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    Abstract

    The tufa deposits of the Ghaap Plateau escarpment provide a rich, yet minimally explored, geological archive of climate and environmental history coincident with hominin evolution in South Africa. This study examines the sedimentary and geochemical records of ancient and modern tufas from Buxton-Norlim Limeworks, Groot Kloof, and Gorrokop, to assess the potential of these sediments for providing reliable chronologies of high-resolution, paleoenvironmental information. Chronometric dating demonstrates that tufa formation has occurred from at least the terminal Pliocene through to the modern day. The stable isotope records show a trend toward higher, more variable δ18O and δ13C values with decreasing age from the end of the Pliocene onwards. The long-term increase in δ18O values corresponds to increasingly arid conditions, while increasing δ13C values reflect the changing proportion of C3/C4 vegetation in the local environment. Analysis of the Thabaseek Tufa, in particular, provides valuable evidence for reconstructing the depositional and chronological context of the enigmatic Taung Child (Australopithecus africanus). Collectively, the results of the present study demonstrate the potential of these deposits for developing high-precision records of climate change and, ultimately, for understanding the causal processes relating climate and hominin evolution.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Tufa, Stable isotope analysis, Radiocarbon dating, Uranium-series dating, Taung, Paleomagnetism
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 10:02
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 12:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/12293

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