Tephrostratigraphy of the hadar and busidima formations at Hadar, Afar depression, Ethiopia

Christopher Campisano, Craig S. Feibel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper documents the lithology and geochemistry of vitric tephra deposits from the Pliocene-Pleistocene Hadar and Busidima Formations from the early hominin site of Hadar in Ethiopia. Vitric tephras of the Hadar Formation (ca. 3.45-2.9 Ma) are limited to certain facies of the Sidi Hakoma Tuff, the Kada Hadar Tuff, and the Bouroukie Tuff 2 (BKT-2) Complex, the latter of which is discussed in detail in this study. In contrast, this systematic study identified at least 12 distinct vitric tephras preserved in the Busidima Formation at Hadar (ca. 2.7-0.81 Ma), which are represented by no less than 20 chemical modes. These analyses are used to construct the first tephrostratigraphic-based sequence for the highly complex and discontinuous Busidima Formation deposits preserved at Hadar. Busidima Formation correlations have also been established between Hadar and neighboring project areas, specifically Dikika and Gona. Artifact Site Tuff 3 (AST-3), the Inaalale Tuff, and the Ken Di Tuff are correlated between Hadar and Dikika. AST-1, AST-3, the Ken Di Tuff, the Dahuli Tuff, and several localized tuffs of the Busidima Formation are correlated between Hadar and Gona. However, tuffs associated with the earliest archaeology in the two regions, namely AST-2 from Gona and BKT-3 from Hadar, were not identified outside their respective project areas. Nonetheless, the sequence of tephra provides important information for the placement and relationship of archaeological and paleontological sites both within Hadar and between Hadar and adjacent project areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-162
Number of pages28
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Chronostratigraphy
  • Geochemistry
  • Hominin
  • Pliocene
  • Tephra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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