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      Synchronizing Rock Clocks of Earth History

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      Science
      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Abstract

          Calibration of the geological time scale is achieved by independent radioisotopic and astronomical dating, but these techniques yield discrepancies of approximately 1.0% or more, limiting our ability to reconstruct Earth history. To overcome this fundamental setback, we compared astronomical and 40Ar/39Ar ages of tephras in marine deposits in Morocco to calibrate the age of Fish Canyon sanidine, the most widely used standard in 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. This calibration results in a more precise older age of 28.201 +/- 0.046 million years ago (Ma) and reduces the 40Ar/39Ar method's absolute uncertainty from approximately 2.5 to 0.25%. In addition, this calibration provides tight constraints for the astronomical tuning of pre-Neogene successions, resulting in a mutually consistent age of approximately 65.95 Ma for the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary.

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          Most cited references35

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          Subcommission on geochronology: Convention on the use of decay constants in geo- and cosmochronology

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            A long-term numerical solution for the insolation quantities of the Earth

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              A new geomagnetic polarity time scale for the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                April 25 2008
                April 25 2008
                : 320
                : 5875
                : 500-504
                Article
                10.1126/science.1154339
                18436783
                345bf4db-ccfc-40ab-ba9b-990b51d1063a
                © 2008
                History

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