Magnetostratigraphy of the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP) Baringo-Tugen Hills-Barsemoi core (Kenya)

Mark J. Sier*, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Cor Langereis, Alan L. Deino, John D. Kingston, Andrew S. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The principal objective of the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling project (HSPDP) is to study the relationship between climate and environmental change and the implications on human evolution in eastern Africa. For this purpose, HSPDP has recovered a 228 m core in the Chemeron Formation of the Baringo Basin (Kenya). The Chemeron Formation spans approximately 3.7 Myr, from around 1.6 to 5.3 Ma, and has yielded many vertebrate fossils, including fossil hominins. The magnetostratigraphy of the Baringo core contributes to the chronological framework. A total of 567 individual paleomagnetic samples were collected from 543 levels at regular intervals throughout the core and 264 were processed using thermal and alternative field stepwise demagnetizations. In most samples, distinct Low-Temperature (LT; 20–150 °C) and High-Temperature (HT; 150–550 °C) Characteristic Remanent Magnetization (ChRM) could be determined. Typical demagnetization behaviors and some rock magnetic experiments suggest titanomagnetite acts as the main carrier of the HT ChRM with pervasive secondary overprints in normal polarity expressed by the LT component. Normal and reversed polarities were identified based on the secondary overprints LT ChRM directions, either parallel or antiparallel to the HT ChRM directions respectively. Our study identified four paleomagnetic reversals interpreted as the Matuyama-Gauss, Gauss-Kaena, Kaena-Gauss and the Gauss-Mammoth transitions. These boundaries provide chronostratigraphic tie-points that can be combined with those derived from 40Ar/39Ar dating of tuffs (Deino et al., 2020) and together indicate that the HSPDP Baringo core has an age range of ~3.3 Ma to ~2.6 Ma. The consistent paleomagnetic and radioisotopic age constraints are incorporated into a Bayesian age model of the core (Deino et al., 2020).

Original languageEnglish
Article number110190
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021


  • Drillcore orientation
  • Gauss
  • ICDP
  • Kaena
  • Lower Matuyama
  • Mammoth


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