Abstract

Incremental laser-heating analyses of supergene cryptomelane clusters extracted from three distinct weathering profiles from the Mary Valley region, southeast Queensland, Australia, yield reproducible and well-defined plateau ages ranging from 346 ± 15 to 291 ± 14 ka (2 σ). Precipitation of supergene cryptomelane in this period implies that relative humid climate prevailed in southeast Queensland from 340 to 290 ka, a result consistent with oxygen isotope analyses of marine sediments from Ocean Drilling Program Site 820 and with regional pollen and spore records. These results, the first report on the precise 40Ar/39Ar dating of Quaternary supergene cryptomelane, indicate that 40Ar/39Ar analysis of pedogenic minerals provides a reliable geochronometer for the study of Quaternary surficial processes useful in the study of soil formation rates, continental paleoclimates, and archaeological sites devoid of datable volcanic minerals.

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