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J Hum Evol. 2007 Nov;53(5):504-14. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Plio-Pleistocene facies environments from the KBS Member, Koobi Fora Formation: implications for climate controls on the development of lake-margin hominin habitats in the northeast Turkana Basin (northwest Kenya).

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414, USA. clepre@rci.rutgers.edu

Abstract

Climate change is hypothesized as a cause of major events of Plio-Pleistocene East African hominin evolution, but the vertically discontinuous and laterally confined nature of the relevant geological records has led to difficulties with assessing probable links between the two. High-resolution sedimentary sequences from lacustrine settings can provide comprehensive data of environmental changes and detailed correlations with well-established orbital and marine records of climate. Hominin-bearing deposits from Koobi Fora Ridge localities in the northeast Turkana Basin of Kenya are an archive of Plio-Pleistocene lake-margin sedimentation though significant developmental junctures of northern African climates, East African environments, and hominin evolution. This study examines alluvial channel and floodplain, nearshore lacustrine, and offshore lacustrine facies environments for the approximately 136-m-thick KBS Member (Koobi Fora Formation) exposed at the Koobi Fora Ridge. Aspects of the facies environments record information on the changing hydrosedimentary dynamics of the lake margin and give insights into potential climatic controls. Seasonal/yearly climate changes are represented by the varve-like laminations in offshore mudstones and the slickensides, dish-shaped fractures, and other paleosol features overprinted on floodplain strata. Vertical shifts between facies environments, however, are interpreted to indicate lake-level fluctuations deriving from longer-term, dry-wet periods in monsoonal rainfall. Recurrence periods for the inferred lake-level changes range from about 10,000 to 50,000 years, and several are consistent with the average estimated timescales of orbital precession ( approximately 20,000 years) and obliquity ( approximately 40,000 years). KBS Member facies environments from the Koobi Fora Ridge document the development of lake-margin hominin habitats in the northeast Turkana Basin. Environmental changes in these habitats may be a result of monsoonal rainfall variations that derive from orbital insolation and/or glacial forcing.

PMID:
17919684
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.01.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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