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Towards a Quaternary Time Scale 1

  • W. A. Berggren (a1), L. H. Burckle (a2), M. B. Cita (a3), H. B. S. Cooke (a4), B. M. Funnell (a5), S. Gartner (a6), J. D. Hays (a2), J. P. Kennett (a7), N. D. Opdyke (a2), L. Pastouret (a8), N. J. Shackleton (a9) and Y. Takayanagi (a10)...


Nine first-appearance datums (FADs), twenty-three last-appearance datums (LADs), and three other micropaleontological datums are related to the magnetic-reversal, oxygen-isotope, and calcite-dissolution/coarse-fraction time scales to provide a preliminary basis for subdivision of the Quaternary in deep-sea sediments. The magnetic-reversal, oxygen-isotope, and calcite-dissolution/coarse-fraction scales have been correlated by determination on the same core materials, and absolute dates applied by 40K/40Ar or 14C dating of materials in known positions on one or another of these scales. FADS and LADs have been determined in cores for which either a magnetic-reversal, oxygen-isotope, or calcite-dissolution/coarse-fraction scale has also been available. Altogether 3 FADs and 5 LADs based on diatoms, 4 FADs and 5 LADs based on calcareous nannoplankton, 1 FAD and 8 LADs based on radiolarians, 1 FAD and 5 LADs based on planktonic foraminifers, 2 acme datums, and 1 ratio reversal datum have been determined, and absolute dates inferred by interpolation from known dates on the reference time scales. Some of the FADs and LADs apply or are synchronous only over limited areas of the oceans; others appear to be synchronous throughout the oceans. The base of the Quaternary is set at the top of the Olduvai event at 1.7 my. Four FADs, twelve LADs, two acme datums, and one ratio reversal datum occur above the base of the Quaternary at an average rate of about 1 per 100,000 yr. Five FADs and twelve LADs are recognized in the 0.8-my interval between the top of the Olduvai event and the Gauss/Matuyama Boundary at 2.5 my at an average incidence of about 1 per 50,000 yr.



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Compiled by W. A. Berggren (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).



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