Moreno, D., Ortega, A.I., Falguères, C., Shao, Q., Tombret, O., Gómez-Olivencia, A., Aranburu, A., Trompier, F., Bermúdez de Castro, J.M., Carbonell, E., Arsuaga, J.L.
Quaternary Geochronology 72, 101342


The Galería de las Estatuas is a Mousterian site located within the Cueva Mayor-Cueva del Silo karstic system at the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). This site is characterised by an important Upper Pleistocene stratigraphic sequence in which a large number of lithic artefacts exhibiting clear Mousterian affinities and a rich assemblage of faunal remains have been found. Additionally, this site has yielded a foot phalanx of a clear Neanderthal affinities and its sediment has yielded Neanderthal mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Two test pits, GE-I and GE-II, have been excavated since 2008 which have been divided in 5 and 2 lithostratigraphical units, respectively. A minimum age of 45 ka cal BP for this site was obtained by radiocarbon dating in GE-II. This chronology was refined using single-grain Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL: 80–112 ka in GE-I and 70–79 ka in GE-II) and single-grain thermally transferred OSL (TT-OSL). Although in all case TT-OSL ages were systematically older than their single-grain counterparts. The detrital sequence is sealed by a flowstone whose base is dated to 53.7 ± 3.5 ka cal BP using U-series dating. In order to better constrain the age of this site, nine herbivorous teeth were collected from the whole sedimentary sequence to be dated by the ESR/U-series dating method though only seven provided modelled ages. Six of them were collected from levels 2 to 5 of the GE-I test pit while the last tooth was taken from level 2 of the GEII test pit. Our results, ranging between 80 and 110 ka, are in agreement with those obtained by single grain TT-OSL and suggest that the sedimentological levels containing Mousterian lithic artefacts and faunal and human remains began to be deposited during the second part of the MIS5. These results fill a temporal gap in the chronology of the Atapuerca sites for which no contemporary MIS5 date was obtained until recently.

Hernando-Alonso, I., Moreno, D., Ortega, A.I., Benito-Calvo, A., Alonso, M.J., Parés, J.M., Martínez-Fernández, A., Carbonell, E., Bermúdez de Castro, J.M.
Quaternary Geochronology 73, 101374


The Cueva del Silo is part of the lower karst level of the Cueva Mayor-Cueva del Silo karst system (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain), whose evolution has preserved an impressive archeo-paleoanthropological sequence since the Early Pleistocene. Cueva del Silo is remarkable for the presence of fluvial deposits that record the entry of the Arlanz´on River water in the cave system, providing a key sequence to investigate the fluvio-karstic relationships that give rise to this endokarst system. In order to provide a chronological framework to these fluvial deposits, six sediment samples were dated by Electron Spin Resonance and 16 samples by paleomagnetism, collected from two outcrops: Galería de las Arenas and Sala del Caos. Our results provide maximum mean age of around 1600 ka and a minimum age of 916 ± 136 ka for the deposits in Sala del Caos. The younger date from Sala del Caos might represent the last fluvial input from Arlanz´on River in the lower karst level. In contrast, ESR ages estimates of 1268 ± 133 ka and 1262 ± 108 ka were obtained for Galería de las Arenas sequence, which could indicate re-sedimentation processes from the intermediate karst level where similar ages were published. The annual dose might be wrongly assessed due to the re-sedimentation processes inside the karst, hence, ESR ages for these facies should be treated with extreme caution.

Benito-Calvo, A., Moreno, D., Fujioka, T., López, G.I., Martín-González, F., Martínez-Fernández, A., Hernando-Alonso, I., Karampaglidis, T., Bermúdez de Castro, J.M., Gutiérrez, F.
Global and Planetary Change 213, 103813


Pleistocene fluvial incision acceleration resulting in narrow and deeply entrenched valleys has been widely described and is generally attributed to uplift rate increase or greater climatic severity. In this paper, the longterm downcutting pattern of the Upper Ebro River and driving mechanisms are assessed, and we reconstruct the valley incision recorded by an outstanding sequence of 22 river terraces. Dating of 8 fluvial levels by means of the ESR, TCN, and OSL techniques, spanning the last 1.2 Ma, reveals a long-term incision deceleration pattern. The estimated age-incision model indicates a decrease in the incision rates, showing a long-term deceleration during the final Early Pleistocene (from 0.42 to 0.18 m/ka), and a tendency towards a steady state or base level stabilization from the Middle Pleistocene (0.15–0.03 m/ka) to the Late Pleistocene (0.03 m/ka). This incision pattern does not support climate change as a long-term incision-acceleration driver by itself, demonstrating the need for base level lowering effects to have operated. Upper Ebro deceleration incision is explained by the headward attenuation of the incision wave induced by the opening of the Ebro Cenozoic Basin in a geodynamic context characterized by an absence of significant uplift over the last million years. This trend could have changed the aggressor-victim roles of the rivers involved in fluvial captures at the drainage divide. The documented incision deceleration pattern differs from that reported for other valleys in the Iberian Peninsula, suggesting that the degree of maturity of the fluvial systems depends on their relative position with respect to the capture point, in addition to tectonic and lithostructural factors. In the Late Pleistocene-Holocene, a short-lived incision rate increase is recorded, corresponding to the last terrace dissection phase, during the transition from the last glacial MIS 2 to the interglacial MIS 1.

Domínguez-Solera, S.D., Martín-Lerma, I., Moreno, D., Pérez-Garrido, C.
Journal of Archaeological Science: reports 42, 103377


This paper contains the results of the archaeological campaigns carried out at the El Pino Site (Campos del Paraíso, Carrascosa del Campo, Cuenca, Spain). The stratigraphy belongs to the Valdejudíos River floodplain and is rich in Mode 1 prehistoric industry made from quartzite rolling stones. The site has been dated by Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), giving the last technique a terminus ante quem of 1 Ma for this technological horizon. The excellent preservation of the lithic surfaces has allowed us to discover the use given to the instruments through traceological methods. An effective usage of retouched and unretouched flakes (not the cores) for butchery, and rabots for processing wood is verified. The manufacturing operational systems of Mode 1 pieces have been studied and subsequently evaluated as being similar to the oldest ones of the Oldowan industries in Africa (2.6 Ma); however, they showed more “archaism” than other contemporary worldwide examples. The ineffectiveness of the idea of a linear evolution of material culture “from simplicity to complexity”, to assess the lithic technology of the European Lower Paleolithic, is revealed.

Moreno, D., Gutiérrez, F., del Val, M., Carbonel, D., Jiménez, F., Alonso, M.J., Martínez-Pillado, V., Guzmán, O., López, G.I., Martínez, D.
Quaternary Geochronology 65, 101185


Seismic hazard assessment and geochronology are closely linked disciplines. The quantity and quality of the geochronological data used for fault-source characterization is crucial in seismic hazard estimates, which may have significant socio-economic implications. The characterization of Quaternary faults in the central sector of the Iberian Chain (NE Spain) has traditionally been based on ages provided by a now closed commercial luminescence laboratory. In this work, we compare new geochronological data obtained by a multi-method dating approach from pediment and terraces (Electron Spin Resonance: ESR, Optically Stimulated Luminescence: OSL; U-series: U/Th) and short-transport colluvial facies (radiocarbon), with ages provided by the commercial luminescence lab from the same units. The thirteen new numerical ages from terraces and pediments associated with Quaternary faults are systematically 6–3 times older than the previous ones, strongly suggesting that they lead to significant overestimates of fault activity and seismic hazard in the region. These new ESR, OSL and U/Th ages and the lack of information about the methodology applied by the closed luminescence laboratory seriously question the reliability of the previous ages. It also highlights the need of revisiting the Quaternary and geomorphological studies carried out in Spain using non-reliable ages.

García-Martínez, D., Valenciano, A., Suárez-Bilbao, A., Palancar, C.A., Megía-García, I., Moreno, D., Campaña, I., Moya-Maleno, P.R.
Journal of iberian Geology 40, 209-222


The Cueva de Los Toriles belongs to a karstic system found in the southern Iberian plateau. Construction works in the cave (not related to paleontological activities) have allowed for the recovery of fossil remains of macromammals, including two lower molars of a mustelid that are presented in this work. They can be attributed to the species Meles cf. thorali based on morphological and morphometric comparisons. This extinct mustelid is known mostly from Villafranchian deposits of France, Spain, and Greece spanning from the late Pliocene potentially, even reaching with some doubts the Early-Middle Pleistocene of France. Therefore, according to the presence of this badger in the cave, we could tentatively assume a chronological age ranging from the Late Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene, chronologies that would be consistent with some lithic tools found in the cave. We highlight the importance of Cueva de Los Toriles for the Quaternary Paleontology of the southern Iberian plateau, one of the places from the Iberian Peninsula with a more limited fossil record from these chronologies.

Domínguez-Solera, S.D., Moreno, D., Pérez-Garrido, C.
Quaternary International 566-567, 39-56


This paper presents the results of the archaeological research project on the Lower and Middle Paleolithic in the municipality of El Provencio (Cuenca, Spain). During the first 6 years of the project, an unknown archaeological complex has been defined with a large concentration of remains of lithic industry of Modes 1, 2 and 3, as well as Pleistocene faunal remains (Mammuthus and Equus), associated with the large-scale sequences of the Záncara River. The first ages obtained by two complementary dating methods are presented here: Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). The absolute dates of 41 ± 2.2 ka and 836 ± 46 ka (Al–Ti mean age) correspond to the upper and lower levels of the stratigraphic sequence respectively. The archaeological potential contained in this complex suggests an effective and uninterrupted human occupation of this region during ≈800 ka.

Bahain, J.J., Duval, M., Voinchet, P., Tissoux, H., Falguères, C., Grün, R., Moreno, D., Shao, Q., Tombret, O., Jamet, G., Faivre, J.P., Cliquet, D.
Quaternary International 556, 66-78


Tourville-la-Rivière (Normandy, France) is one of the rare Middle Pleistocene palaeoanthropological localities of Northern France. Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) and combined ESR/U-series dating methods were independently applied by different teams on sediments and teeth from this site. The present work provides an overview of this multi-laboratory dating work by integrating a description and discussion of the methodologies employed and results obtained. Results confirm that the ESR/U-series analyses of the teeth are greatly dependent on the U-uptake histories of the dental tissues. Although all teeth come from the same archeological level, the samples analysed by each team display two different patterns for the U-series data. This is most likely related to the different sampling areas selected by each team and may be interpreted as the result of local variations in the geochemical conditions of the surrounding environment. Concerning the ESR dating of optically bleached quartz grains, the use of the multiple centre approach seems crucial when dating such fluvial and fluvio-lacustrine sediments. Our results also confirm the great potential of the Ti-H centre to date late Middle Pleistocene deposits. Despite some (expected) discrepancies related to the independent use of parameters and approaches by the different teams involved in this multi-laboratory study, the whole ESR and ESR/U-series data set collected from Tourville-la-Rivière locality consistently correlates stratigraphic levels D1 to I and associated human occupation to MIS7

Francisco Gutiérrez, Davinia Moreno,  Gloria I. López, Fernando Jiménez, Miren del Val, MªJesús Alonso, Virginia Martínez-Pillado, Oswaldo Guzmán, David Martínez, Domingo Carbonel.
Geomorphology 363, 107233


The seismogenic potential of active faults for seismic hazard analyses are typically constrained using slip rates. These parameters, derived from numerically dated Quaternary deposits and landforms, have a critical impact on seismic hazard estimates with relevant societal and economic implications. Recently published geomorphological and paleoseismic investigations on active normal faults in the intraplate Iberian Chain (Spain), based on OSL ages from a now closed commercial laboratory, indicate anomalously high slip rates and paleoearthquake frequencies and extremely high fluvial incision rates. Parameters derived from those numerical ages have been used for seismic hazard assessments at critical facilities. This work revisits the chronology of Quaternary deposits associated with several faults applying various geochronological methods: Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), AMS Radiocarbon, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) and U-series dating. The totality of the new numerical ages is markedly different from the previously published OSL ages. The thirteen new ESR, OSL and U-series ages are systematically between three and six times older than the previous OSL ages. These data strongly suggest that previous ages overestimate the activity of the faults and seismic hazard in the region. The lack of validity of the revisited OSL analyses is attributed to inadequate dating procedures. Slip rates calculated with the new numerical ages are consistent with the slip rates estimated using Pliocene markers in the Iberian Chain and the slip rates published for other normal faults in eastern Spain. The new geochronological data also indicate reasonable fluvial incision rates, comparable with those estimated in nearby regions. The findings presented in this work have also implications for other Quaternary geomorphological studies in Spain based on potentially non-valid OSL ages.

Gutiérrez, F., Carbonel, D., Sevil, J., Moreno, D., Linares, R., Comas, X., Zarro, M., Roqué, C., McCalpin, J.P.
Journal of Structural Geology, 131. 103933

The official seismic hazard models in Spain used in the seismic building codes do not incorporate Quaternary faults, largely due to insufficient data for their proper characterization. There is an obvious need to conduct investigations in most of the recognised Quaternary faults to unambiguously demonstrate their Quaternary tectonic activity and assess their seismogenic potential. This work illustrates the integration of cartographic, tectonic, geomorphological, paleoseismological and geophysical methods for the characterization of the slow-moving extensional Daroca Fault, related to the negative inversion of the Alpine Daroca Thrust, Iberian Chain, NE Spain. Cartographic data indicate that the 27 km long Daroca Fault and the 17 km long Calamocha Fault, separated by a stepover 1.9 km wide, can be considered as segments of the same structure that might rupture jointly and generate Mw7 earthquakes. A long-term slip rate of 0.06–0.02 mm/yr has been estimated for the 27 km long Daroca Fault using an ESR-dated (Electro Spin Resonance) offset pediment. The work discusses why this slip rate is significantly lower than those estimated in nearby normal faults using OSL ages (Optically Stimulated Luminiscence), but comparable with those derived from offset early Pliocene limestones. A trench excavated across the Daroca Fault exposed evidence of the MRE (most recent event) on the fault, with bracketing ages of 2354–1544 cal yr BP (404 BC – 386 AD). This event likely caused the destruction and abandonment of Roman cities in the vicinity of the fault. Several explanations are proposed for the anomalously low vertical displacement of this surface faulting event recorded in the central sector of a 27 km long fault segment: multi-strand rupture, full-segment rupture, partial segment rupture, spillover rupture, and secondary sympathetic rupture.

Moreno, D., Duval, M., Rubio-Jara, S., Panera, J.,  Bahain, J.J., Shao, Q., Pérez-González, A. & Falguères, C.
Quaternary International, 520. 23-38

In this work, three important Pleistocene sites of the Madrid basin located close to the junction of the Manzanares (PRERESA site) and the Jarama (Valdocarros site and Maresa quarry) rivers have been studied in order to improve the existing chronological framework of the basin and to clarify the geological evolution of these fluvial systems and their relationship with human occupations. To do so, Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating was applied to four fossil teeth and nine optically bleached quartz grain samples. Most of the obtained dates are consistent with the existing preliminary age estimates by biostratigraphy, luminescence (OSL and TL) or Amino Acid Racemization (AAR) dating. This ESR dating study suggests an age of Late Middle Pleistocene (early MIS6) for PRERESA site. At the Jarama valley (Valdocarros site and Maresa quarry), the Arganda I unit could be correlated to the MIS 9 and MIS10, the Arganda II unit seems to belong to MIS8 and MIS7 and the Arganda III to the MIS6.

Del Val, M., Duval, M., Medialdea, A., Bateman, M.D., Moreno, D., Arriolabengoa, M.,  Aranburu, A. & Iriarte, E.
Quaternary Geochronology, 49, 108-114

Reported here is the first chronostratigraphic study of the Quaternary fluvial terrace deposits of three different valleys (Deba, Nerbioi, Oiartzun) located in the eastern Cantabrian margin (northern Spain), designed to understand long-term fluvial dynamics of this region. Fourteen samples were collected for numerical dating purpose, in the lowest terrace levels from 5 m to 63 m above current river channel. Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating was performed using the SAR protocol. For samples from terraces>20 m above the current river channel, over 20% of measured aliquots were above saturation of the OSL signal. Consequently, only minimum ages could be estimated. Five samples also underwent Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating following the Multiple Centre approach. The ESR signals of the Aluminium and Titanium (Ti-Li and Ti-H) centres were systematically measured in each sample. In particular, the ESR signal of the Ti-H centre was strong enough to derive reliable and meaningful dose estimates. Obtained age results range between∼140 and∼400 ka for the terrace levels from +10 to +25 m. They suggest phases of aggradation during MIS 6, MIS 8 and MIS 10, for terrace levels T+10m, T+20m and T+25m, respectively.