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Suggested Terminology for Quaternary Dating Methods

  • Steven M. Colman (a1), Kenneth L. Pierce (a2) and Peter W. Birkeland (a3)


Classification of Quaternary dating methods should be based on the level of quantitative information and the degree of confidence contained in the age estimates produced by the dating methods. We recommend the use of the terms numerical-age, calibrated-age, relative-age, and correlated-age to describe these levels. We also classify dating methods by type into sideral, isotopic, radiogenic, chemical and biological, geomorphic, and correlation methods. The use of “absolute” is inappropriate for most dating methods, and should be replaced by “numerical.” The use of “date” should be minimized in favor of “age” or “age estimate.” We recommend use of the abbreviations ka and Ma for most ages; calender dates can be used where appropriate and yr B.P. can be used for radiocarbon ages.



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Suggested Terminology for Quaternary Dating Methods

  • Steven M. Colman (a1), Kenneth L. Pierce (a2) and Peter W. Birkeland (a3)


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