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Title: New chronological constraints for the lowermost stratigraphic unit of Atapuerca Gran Dolina (Burgos, N Spain)
Authors: Duval, Mathieu
Arnold, Lee J.
Demuro, Martina
Parés, Josep María
Campaña Lozano, Isidoro
Carbonell, Eudald
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Keywords: ESR dating;TT-OSL dating;Early Pleistocene;Atapuerca Gran Dolina;Jaramillo Subchron
Issue Date: Aug-2022
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Geochronology, 2022, 71, 101292
Abstract: We present the results of a combined Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) and Luminescence dating study for the lowermost stratigraphic unit (TD1) of the palaeoanthropological site of Atapuerca Gran Dolina, Spain. Ten samples collected through the Main Section were dated using either the Multiple Centre (MC) ESR approach or the single-grain thermally transferred optically stimulated luminescence (SG TT-OSL) technique, both of which were applied to quartz grains. The two methods yield consistent ages, providing a robust chronostratigraphic framework for the TD1 deposits and enabling improved correlation of the magnetostratigraphic succession (comprising three intervals of normal polarity; N1 to N3, from bottom to top) with the Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale. Specifically, the results provide a late Early Pleistocene chronology for TD1, and clearly position the deposits in the post-Olduvai time range (<1.77 Ma). The final age estimates range from 1.30 ± 0.14 Ma (TT-OSL) close to the bottom of the section to a mean ESR age of 1.05 ± 0.12 Ma (1 s.d.) for three samples from the N3 interval towards the top. Consequently, the N3 interval may confidently be correlated to the Jaramillo Subchron, while we propose a correlation of N1 and N2 with the Cobb Mountain subchron and Punaruu excursion, respectively; although we cannot exclude that these two normal intervals may correspond to other, unknown, geomagnetic events given the existing uncertainties associated with the ESR and luminescence ages. From a methodological point of view, the ESR MC approach shows that the Titanium signal provides the most reliable burial ages for TD1. In contrast, the Aluminium centre yields systematically overestimated age estimates, as a result of incomplete resetting of the signal before sediment deposition. The SG TT-OSL ages presented here are amongst the oldest published so far, and highlight the potential of the high temperature SG TT-OSL290 approach for obtaining finite ages exceeding 1 Ma at Atapuerca. Finally, these new dating results provide key insights into the rates and nature of sedimentary processes at Gran Dolina, modifying long-standing interpretations of the cave formation and infilling dynamics. An age of at least 1.4 Ma may be inferred for the base of the sedimentary infill at the Main Section, providing minimum age constraint for the formation of the cavity and, by extension, for the intermediate level of the Atapuerca karst. The opening of the cave, which pre-dates human occupation, most likely occurred close to or slightly after 0.9 Ma. This suggests that both TD4 and TD6 archaeological levels were deposited within a relatively short time range of <100 kyr. The so-called autochthonous fluvial deposits from TD1 unit, or at least those dated in the present study, were also clearly primarily derived from outside the karst system, and were not reworked from older deposits within the karst. They experienced sufficient daylight exposure and minimum transport times within the karst system to enable consistency between the ESR and TT-OSL burial ages and the independent magnetostratigraphic evidence. Our results highlight the need to reconsider the terminology traditionally employed to differentiate the two main phases of Gran Dolina's sedimentary infill.
ISSN: 1871-1014
DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2022.101292
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Datación por Resonancia Paramagnética Electrónica
Geocronología y Geología

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