Interdisciplinary studies at Starunia palaeontological site and vicinity (Carpathian region, Ukraine) in the years 2006-2009: previous discoveries and research, purposes, results and perspectives

Maciej J. Kotarba

Abstract


The discovery of large Pleistocene mammals in 1907 and 1929 in the Starunia ozokerite mine, about 130 kilometres southeast of Lviv, Ukraine, was a spectacular scientific event on a world scale. A unique combination of brine and oil, into which the animals had sunk, resulted in the near perfect preservation of woolly rhinoceros. In 2004, investigations in Starunia were restarted by Polish and Ukrainian scientists. This issue of Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae contains 18 papers which present the results of field and laboratory studies in the Starunia area completed by Polish scientists in the years 2006-2009. Interdisciplinary studies were realized by eleven thematic working groups on: Quaternary lithology and sedimentology, palaeobotany (palynology and analysis of macrofossils), botany (analysis of halophytes), palaeozoology (malacological analysis), radiocarbon dating, microbiology, surface and near-surface geochemistry, organic geochemistry (bitumen content and its fractions, biomarkers and stable carbon isotopes) and inorganic geochemistry (chloride ion analysis), geoelectric survey (DC resistivity soundings, electromagnetic terrain conductivity measurements, resistivity imaging, penetrometer-based resistivity profiling and azimuthal pole-dipole DC resistivity soundings) and microgravimetric survey. Results of these studies enabled recognition of the geological setting and sedimentary environment of Quaternary sediments, which hosted the Pleistocene fossils, and to determine the most favourable area of about 1,000 square metres for subsequent prospecting for extinct mammals within Pleistocene sediments in Starunia.

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