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A 1.2-Myr record of isotopic changes in a late Pliocene Rift Lake, Ethiopia

Nature volume 296, pages 640642 (15 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The Hadar fluvio-lacustrine formation (Ethiopia) contains an original hominid fossil Australopithecus afarensis and an abundant vertebrate faunal assemblage1,2. The formation3,4 consists of a 150–300 m thick sequence of fine-to-coarse detrital sediments, originating from the Ethiopian Plateau escarpment, with some interbedded pyroclastic layers. The three lower members of the formation were formed in a lacustrine environment, which was occasionally interrupted by fluvial drainage. The upper member is quite distinct and formed as an alluvial fan delta. This sedimentary sequence was deposited at the end of the Pliocene between 3.9 and 2.7 Myr, as indicated by magnetostratigraphy5 (the palaeomagnetic record spans the Gilbert–Gauss transition period), K/Ar dating6,7 and biostratigraphy8. We consider here the oxygen and carbon isotope variations observed throughout the formation and their palaeo-hydrological implications.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Departement des Sciences de la Terre, Université du Québec à Montréal, BP 8888, Succ. A., Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3P8

    • C. Hillaire-Marcel
  2. CNRS (Laboratoire de Géologie du Quaternaire), Université Marseille-Luminy, Case 907, 13288 Marseille Cédex, France

    • M. Taieb
    • , J. J. Tiercelin
    •  & N. Page

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https://doi.org/10.1038/296640a0

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