Project availability

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Reconstructing sedimentary infilling histories at Naracoorte Cave palaeontological sites


This honours project will reconstruct the late Pleistocene infill histories of several fossil sites from Naracoorte Caves.

The project will utilise state-of-the-art single-grain optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, combined with geochemical analysis and sediment provenance techniques.

The fossil-rich infill sediments at Naracoorte Caves preserve major ecological turnovers spanning the last 500 ka, and provide a unique opportunity for elucidating the causes of late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction in Australia.

Establishing reliable numerical age estimates on these fossil sites and reconstructing their past infilling dynamics is critical for understanding long-term biodiversity shifts over glacial-interglacial timescales.

Fieldwork and OSL sample collection will be conducted by the student and research team during autumn 2019. The dating samples will prepared and measured by the student at the University of Adelaide’s Prescott Environmental Luminescence Laboratory. The chronologies established in this study will be compared with other dating results obtained on related sites, and used to examine whether past faunal successions were driven by major climate change or human interactions.

Prerequisites: Good numerical skills and a capacity to conduct meticulous laboratory research. There is no prerequisite course, although Earth Systems History III would be beneficial.

Tagged in Honours projects - Environmental geoscience, Honours projects - Lee Arnold, Honours projects - Liz Reed, Honours projects - Martina Demuro