Geochronology of the mammal-bearing late Cenozoic on the northern Altiplano, Bolivia

L. G. Marshall, C. C. Swisher, A. Lavenu, R. Hoffstetter, G. H. Curtis

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Samples of seven tuff or ignimbrite units associated with known land mammal faunas of late Miocene and Pliocene age were collected from 17 localities on the northern Altiplano of western Bolivia. Mineral separates dated by the classic 40K-40Ar technique (35 dates) and by single crystal laser fusion (SCLF) 40Ar/39Ar analysis (84 dates) indicate the following preferred ages based on SCLF 40Ar/39Ar dates on sanidine for six of these units: Ulloma Tuff, 10.35±0.06 Ma; Callapa Tuff, 9.03±0.07 Ma; Toba 76, 5.348±0.003 Ma; Ayo Ayo Tuff, 2.896±0.006 Ma; Perez Ignimbrite, 2.815±0.005 Ma; and Chijini Tuff, 2.650±0.012 Ma. Land mammal faunas of early Huayquerian age are bracketed below by the Callapa Tuff (9.0 Ma) and above the base of the Cerke Formation (7.6 Ma); faunas of Montehermosan age are bracketed below by the Toba 76 and Cota Cota Tuffs (ca. 5.4 Ma), and above by the Ayo Ayo and Chijini Tuffs (ca. 2.8 Ma) of the Umala and La Paz Formations, respectively; and faunas of Ensenadan and Lujanian age occur in rocks younger than 1.6 Ma. Hiatuses identified by the absence of late Huayquerian and Chapadmalalan-Uquian faunas correlate with unconformities which are interpreted as deformation phases: the first with Q3 (8.0-5.5 Ma) and the second with Q4 (2.8-1.6 Ma) of the Quechua Orogeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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