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Sequence of tuffs between the KBS Tuff and the Chari Tuff in the Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia

posted on 2016-06-21, 12:02 authored by Francis H. Brown, Bereket Haileab, Ian McDougall

This paper describes a sequence of tuffs between the KBS and the Chari Tuff of Omo Group formations in Kenya and Ethiopia. These tuffs have recently been shown to be 1.87 ± 0.02 Ma and 1.38 ± 0.03 Ma in age, respectively. The sequence of tuffs that is derived is consistent with 40Ar/39Ar ages reported separately, and provides the stratigraphic framework for interpreting those ages. Further, new correlations are established to the Konso Formation in southern Ethiopia. As drainage from the Ethiopian Rift to the Omo–Turkana Basin developed after deposition of the Konso Formation, pumice clasts in tuffs of the Omo–Turkana Basin probably were transported there by the Omo River. The tuffs are divided into five groups on the basis of their stratigraphic position in relation to extensive ash layers. The sequence of tuffs has import for the placement and age of archaeological sites in the Koobi Fora Formation, and for ages of mammalian faunas (including hominids). Many tuffs were deposited during a 90 ka interval during which Mediterranean sapropels are lacking, suggesting that Nile flow was reduced, and that the level of a lake that occupied the Omo–Turkana Basin at the time was low. Thus the record of climatic influence on deposition in the Omo–Turkana Basin, previously shown for the Kibish Formation (≤200 ka), extends at least to early Pleistocene time.