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Reconstruction of late Pleistocene climate in the Valsequillo Basin (Central Mexico) through isotopic analysis of terrestrial and freshwater snails

Stevens, Rhiannon E.; Metcalfe, Sarah E.; Leng, Melanie J.; Lamb, Angela L.; Sloane, Hilary J.; Naranjo, Edna; Gonzalez, Silvia. 2012 Reconstruction of late Pleistocene climate in the Valsequillo Basin (Central Mexico) through isotopic analysis of terrestrial and freshwater snails. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 319-320. 16-27. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.12.012

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Abstract/Summary

We aim to reconstruct the climatic and environmental conditions in the Valsequillo Basin during the deposition of the Valsequillo gravels between c. 40,000 and 8000 years ago, when large mega-fauna and potentially humans occupied the basin. Fossil freshwater (Fossaria sp. and Sphaeriidae (Family)) and terrestrial (Polygyra couloni, Holospira sp. and Cerionidae (Family)) snail shells from sections within the Barranca Caulapan were collected for oxygen and carbon stable isotope analysis. Oxygen and carbon isotopes in terrestrial and freshwater snail shells relate to local climatic parameters and environmental conditions prevailing during the lifetime of the snail. Whole shell isotope analysis showed that c. 35,000 years ago climate in the Valsequillo Basin was similar to the present day. Between c. 35,000 and 20,000 BP conditions became increasingly dry, after which conditions became wetter again, although this record is truncated. Intra-shell isotopic analyses show that the amount of precipitation varied seasonally during the late Pleistocene. If people did reach this part of the Americas in the late Pleistocene they would have experienced changing long-term and seasonal climatic conditions and would have had to adapt their life strategies accordingly.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.12.012
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory
ISSN: 0031-0182
Date made live: 24 Feb 2012 15:55
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/16919

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