Ballesteros, D., L. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, S. González-Lemos, S. Giralt, D. J. Álvarez-Lao, L. Adrados, and M. Jiménez-Sánchez (2017), New evidence of sea-level lowstands and paleoenvironment during MIS 6 and 4 in the Cantabrian coastal karst: The Cobiheru cave (North Iberia), Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, doi: 10.1002/esp.4115.




he geomorphological evolution of the Cobiheru Cave shows the influence of the non-carbonate coastal mountain ranges on coastal karst evolution, as well as the temporal distribution of the cold-adapted fauna sites in the Cantabrian Coast. Geomorphological observation and uranium/thorium (U/Th) dating lead to the construction of an evolution model. The model comprises two episodes of cave deposition occurring at c. 60–70 and 130–150 ka, linked to cold climate conditions, global sea-level lowstands and the erosion of alluvial fans that covered the karst. Moreover, the comparison between the Cobiheru record and some raised beaches identified in previous studies sets the beginning of the sea-level lowering in the Cantabrian Sea during the marine isotope stages (MIS) 5–4 transition. Two palaeoenvironments are inferred based on finding Equus ferus and Elona quimperiana. A wet deciduous forest would have developed on the emerged marine terrace of the Cobiheru Cave since at least the Middle Pleistocene, and an open landscape with scarce vegetation would have been present at c. 65 ka. The erosional event identified in the Cobiheru Cave helps to understand the temporal distribution of cold-adapted mammals located in the Asturias region. The probable sites of cold-adapted fauna developed in caves and alluvial fans would have disappeared after 65 ka. Therefore, palaeontological and palaeoclimate research based on cold-adapted mammals suggests the occurrence of an hiatus in the palaeontological record prior to 50 ka.

Reference paper

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