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Paleomagnetic and rock-magnetic study on volcanic units of the Valsequillo Basin: implications for early human occupation in central Mexico

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Abstract

Alleged human and animal footprints were found within the upper bedding surfaces of the Xalnene volcanic ash layer that outcrops in the Valsequillo Basin, south of Puebla, Mexico (Gonzalez et al, 2005). The ash has been dated at 40 ka by optically stimulated luminescence analysis, thereby providing new evidence that America was colonized earlier than the Clovis culture (about 13.5 Ma). We carried out paleomagnetic and rock magnetic analysis on 18 Xalnene ash block and core samples collected at two distinct localities and 19 standard paleomagnetic cores belonging to nearby monogenetic volcanoes. Our data provide evidence that both the volcanic lava flow and Xalnene ash were emplaced during the Laschamp geomagnetic event spanning from about 45 to 39 ka.

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Correspondence to Avto Goguitchaichvili.

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Key words

  • Paleomagnetism
  • volcanic ash
  • central Mexico
  • Lashamp event
  • human evolution