Journal of Earth Sciences & Environmental Studies(SDRP-JESES)
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Geochronology: Methods and Applications in Quaternary Science, Geomorphology and PaleoenvironmentSubmit Manuscript no this topic Topic Articles: 1
The study of past climate change and its impact on the environment and on human societies is a crucial topic for understanding human evolution. Absolute dating methods allow the chronological reconstruction of the complex interaction between climate, environment and humans.
Humans’ current “solo” status on Earth, the beginning of our dispersal in central Europe, our encounter with our closest cousins, (i.e. the Neanderthals), the putative overlap of the two species, and the cause of Neanderthal demise constitute one of the major challenges in archaeology and human evolution. This Research Topic is aimed at interdisciplinary research related to various dating methods and their applications, to not only investigate the human adaptations, but also what effects past and present anthropic impacts could have on environments today and in the future.
A particular focus is given to the following methods:
Radiocarbon (edited by Sahra Talamo and Bernd Kromer):
Since 1960, radiocarbon (14C) has become the most frequently used chronological framework, not only for archaeology, but also for a variety of disciplines in geosciences. 30 years later, Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy revolutionized the technique and since then, laboratory procedures and spectrometer design have evolved significantly. The radiocarbon ‘clock’ represents the backbone of chronological reconstructions for the time up to 50,000 years ago, and detailed records of past changes in atmospheric Δ14C are critical to the accuracy of 14C dating and form the basis of the calibration process of 14C ages.
Dendrochronology (edited by Manuela Capano):
Tree-ring analysis is used for reconstructing paleoclimate, geomorphology, paleoenvironment and paleoecology by studying archaeological and subfossil woods. Dendrochronology has also been used to establish precise, high-resolution (annually-resolved) regional tree-ring chronologies, used for the dating of archaeological and historical findings or buildings, and enabling the dating of tree felling at seasonal resolution.
Luminescence dating (edited by Christelle Layahe):
Thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence have proven to be cutting-edge dating tools in Quaternary research, especially for establishing a chronological framework of human evolution and dispersal. These techniques can be widely used, referring to both heated materials (e.g burnt stones, ceramics) and sediments. Crossing methods, signals and materials have allowed for better understanding of taphonomic processes. Recent methodological developments, such as the exploration of new signals and protocols, allow us to go further back in time.
ESR (edited by Christophe Falguères):
Electron Spin Resonance is a palaeodosimetric method used in Prehistory and Quaternary Geology. It can be applied on detritic quartz, on hydroxyapatite of the fossil dental enamel and on continental carbonates. Despite relatively large errors, this method is applicable where others are not, for example open sites in fluvial environments.
Paleomagnetism (edited by Giancarlo Scardia):
Paleomagnetism has been applied since the 1960s on the heels of the evolving geomagnetic polarity time scale. The first application of paleomagnetism to human evolution likely dates back to 1963, when the Olduvai chron was discovered in the homonymous gorge. Since then, magnetostratigrapy has been used to date early hominin sites ranging from Pliocene to Early Pleistocene.