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Preliminary (super 14) C dates on bulk soil organic matter from the Black Creek megafauna fossil site, Rocky River, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Matt Forbes, Erick Bestland, Rod Wells

Abstract


Radiocarbon age determinations and stratigraphy suggest that the deposits in Black Creek Swamp on Kangaroo Island record 3 phases of deposition and associated soil development which spanned at least the last 20,000 yr. Four new (super 14) C age determinations on bulk soil organic matter and their stratigraphic context are presented in this paper. Three of these age determinations (FP6: 15,687+ or -110 BP [WK11487]; FP7: 16,326+ or -385 BP [WK11488]; and FP8: 17,618+ or -447 BP [WK11489]), are from the organic-rich fossil layer located 45-75 cm below the current floodplain surface. The fourth, a much younger date, FP5: 5589+ or -259 BP (WK11486), was obtained from the base of the overlying modern soil. The dates for the fossil layer increase systematically with depth and correlate well with 5 previous (super 14) C dates (Hope et al., unpublished), ranging between 15,040+ or -120 BP and 19,000+ or -310 BP. This suggests that the data set represents a possible minimum age of the bulk organic matter, and considering the high organic matter contents of approximately 8%, has implications for the age of the megafauna buried in this layer. The overlying modern soil, with its much younger date, contains lower levels of organic matter (3-7%) and gastropods not seen in the fossil layer. This suggests a substantial change in environmental conditions probably due to an alteration in the floodplain drainage conditions. This chronological and sedimentological discontinuity indicates that 2 distinct depositional regimes existed and were separated by up to 10,000 (super 14) C yr. A calcareous, sandy silt deposit underlying the fossil layer is a calcarenite deposit with low total organic content and is considered the base of the section; it suggests a third separate depositional episode. As such, the Black Creek Swamp in the southwest corner of Kangaroo Island formed intermittently over at least the last 20,000 yr during 3 distinct depositional phases, one of which was the formation of the fossil-laden, organic-rich floodplain surface, which has a possible minimum age of approximately 15,000 to 19,000 BP.

Keywords


absolute age;Australasia ;Australia ;Black Creek Swamp;bones ;C 14;C 14 C 12;carbon ;Cenozoic ;Chordata ;dates ;Diprotodonta ;Flinders Chase National Park;Foraminifera ;fossil localities;Holocene ;Invertebrata ;isotopes ;Kangaroo Island;Mammalia ;Marsupialia ;megafauna ;Metatheria ;microfossils ;organic compounds;Pleistocene ;preservation ;Protista ;Quaternary ;radioactive isotopes;Rocky River;shells ;soils ;South Australia;stable isotopes;Sthenurus ;stratigraphy ;Tetrapoda ;Theria ;upper Pleistocene;Vertebrata ;Zygamaturus

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