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High-Precision U-Pb Zircon Geochronology and the Stratigraphic Record: Progress and Promise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2017

Samuel A. Bowring
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139,
Blair Schoene
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139,
James L. Crowley
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139,
Jahandar Ramezani
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139,
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High-precision geochronological techniques have improved in the past decade to the point where volcanic ash beds interstratified with fossil-bearing rocks can be dated to a precision of 0.1% or better. The integration of high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology with bio/chemo-stratigraphic data brings about new opportunities and challenges toward constructing a fully calibrated time scale for the geologic record, which is necessary for a thorough understanding of the distribution of time and life in Earth history. Successful implementation of geochronology as an integral tool for the paleontologist relies on a basic knowledge of its technical aspects, as well as an ability to properly evaluate and compare geochronologic results from different methods. This paper summarizes the methodology and new improvements in U-Pb zircon geochronology by isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry, specifically focused on its application to the stratigraphic record.

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Copyright © by the Paleontological Society 

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