Abstract

The surface travertines, included cave deposits, and other associated phenomena along the Kaap escarpment (Campbell Rand) of the Union of South Africa are mapped and described with emphasis on chronology. The Thabaseek, Norlim, Oxland, and Blue Pool travertines (new names) at Buxton in the Taungs Native Reserve, type locality of Australopithecus africanus Dart, are of different ages and are related to each other and to water-cut channels in such a manner as to represent a long, seven-stage sequence of events, the first of which antedates Middle Pleistocene time. Several cave faunas, including the Australopithecus fauna, and archeological material of Middle and Late Stone Age of South Africa are correlated with the travertine sequence. Australopithecus occurs in the youngest part of the oldest travertine. Other travertines and associated phenomena along the Kaap escarpment are correlated with the Buxton sequence, and a tentative correlation is made with the diamond gravels of the Vaal River. Buxton travertines seem to have been formed during the waning of wet (pluvial) periods; on this basis, two earlier major travertines and two later minor travertines at Buxton correlate with the two earlier major and the two later minor pluvials interpreted from the gravels and terraces of the Vaal River by H. B. S. Cooke. Australopithecus and its associated fauna are considered no older than Lower Pleistocene on the basis of physical and biological data. There is no concrete evidence for a Pliocene age.

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