Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP)
This large project involves more than 100 scientists from around the world where approximately 2,000 meters of core have been collected from Kenya and Ethiopia. Five locations were targeted for their proximity to important archaeological sites in Northern Awash and Chew Bahir (Ethiopia) and West Turkana, Tugen Hills, and Lake Magadi (Kenya). The goal was to collect continuous lacustrine paleoclimate records in the same basins as the fossils and artifacts, which would be used to understand the relationship between climate and tectonics during critical intervals of human evolution. After cores were collected and split in 2013 and 2014, the scientists realized that these lakes seemed to abruptly dry up, forming paleosols directly on top of lake sediments. I have been working with Catherine Beck (Hamilton) and Craig Feibel (Rutgers) on the West Turkana core to use these paleosols to understand more about climate. For more information visit the HSPDP website or watch this short doccumentary about the project.
This is a new project I just began in 2016 with Cat Beck and Craig Feibel at a new Miocene site in West Turkana, known as Longerangan. So far we know there are lots of paleosols in a variety of beautiful colors: red, green, purple, brown, gray, and orange. They also contain an impressive number of coprolites (fossil poop).