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Christopher L. Hill and Romuald Schild

Abstract

The sedimentological and lithostratigraphic record from north-central Bir Tarfawi documents the presence of Pleistocene basin-fill deposits. Three topographic basins were created as a result of deflation during climate episodes associated with lowering of the local groundwater table. In each case, the three deflational basins or topographic depressions were subsequently filled with sediments; these basin aggradations coincided with changes from arid climate conditions to wetter conditions and a rise in the groundwater table. The oldest and highest sedimentary remnant is associated with Acheulian artifacts and may reflect spring-fed pond and marsh conditions during a Middle Pleistocene wet climate episode. Lithofacies for a lower stratigraphic sequence (the “White Lake”) documents deposition in a perennial lake that varied in extent and depth and is associated with Middle Paleolithic artifacts. A third episode of deflation created a topographic low that has been filled with Late Pleistocene sediments that are associated with Middle Paleolithic artifacts and fossil remains. Lateral and vertical variations in the lithofacies of this basin-fill sequence and the sediments of the “grey-green” lake phases provide a record of changing hydrologic conditions. These hydrologic conditions appear to reflect variations in water-table levels related to groundwater recharge and, at times, local rains.