An interdisciplinary study of a mammoth-bearing Late Pleistocene sediment succession in lower Austria

Daria Carobene*, Michael C. Meyer, Christoph Spötl, Reinhard Rötzel, Ursula B. Göhlich, Oleg Mandic, Mathias Harzhauser, Ingeborg Wimmer-Frey, Paula J. Reimer, Fabian Auer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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In the Alpine foreland and the Vienna Basin loess-paleosol sequences (LPS) are common. Some of the most famous LPS sites in the circum-Alpine area include Stratzing, Göttweig, Willendorf, Krems-Wachtberg, and Stillfried, which cluster in a relatively small area along the Danube river in Lower Austria. LPS provide detailed insights into climate-driven, terrestrial palaeoenvironmental changes that can be placed into a robust chronological framework, because LPS are amenable to a range of dating techniques. Here, we present a well-dated 13.6 m-thick mammoth-bearing sediment succession characterised by low-energy aquatic deposits, sheet-flow deposits and sandy loess from re-deposited Miocene sediments, i.e. a depositional environment that contrasts to the classical LPS sites. This new site is situated 1.6 km NNE of Bullendorf in Lower Austria, where Pleistocene sediment successions with a robust chronology are rare. Our multidisciplinary approach is based on optically stimulated luminescence and 14C dating, and includes mammal faunal investigations and stable isotope analyses of molluscs. OSL and 14C dating suggest deposition of the sediment sequence immediately before and briefly after the Last Glacial Maximum. The mollusc assemblages and the mammal fauna are representative of a cold climate, characteristic of a tundra steppe environment. Stratigraphic changes in δ18O of two mollusc species (Pupilla muscorum and Succinella oblonga) suggest an alternating dry-cold and humid-cold climate. Oxygen isotope data of freshwater gastropod shells suggest a drastic decrease in the mean growing season temperature compared to today, while the carbon isotope composition is indicative of a C3 vegetation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date17 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Feb 2020


  • Austria
  • Late pleistocene
  • Luminescence dating
  • Palaeoenvironment
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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