Lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

The element of stratigraphy that deals with the relative time relations and ages of .. from some other method of dating such as biostratigraphy or isotopic dating. Lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Pennsylvanian-Permian . at Guadalupe Box is dated as late middle Desmoinesian, the base of. Biostratigraphic units (biozones) are bodies of strata that are defined or The element of stratigraphy that deals with the distribution of fossils in the stratigraphic.

The geochronologic equivalent of a system is a period. Occasionally, the terms subsystem and supersystem have been used. The boundaries of a system are defined by boundary-stratotypes see section 9. The time span of the currently accepted Phanerozoic systems ranges from 30 to 80 million years, except for the Quaternary System that has a time span of only about 1.

The names of currently recognized systems are of diverse origin inherited from early classifications: Likewise, they bear a variety of endings such as "an", "ic", and "ous".

There is no need to standardize the derivation or orthography of the well-established system names. The period takes the same name as the system to which it corresponds. An erathem consists of a group of systems. The geochronologic equivalent of an erathem is an era.

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

The names of erathems were chosen to reflect major changes of the development of life on the Earth: Paleozoic old lifeMesozoic intermediate lifeand Cenozoic recent life.

Eras carry the same name as their corresponding erathems. An eonothem is a chronostratigraphic unit greater than an erathem.

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

The geochronologic equivalent is an eon. Three eonothems are generally recognized, from older to younger, the Archean, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic eonothems.

The combined first two are usually referred to as the Precambrian. The eons take the same name as their corresponding eonothems. Nonhierarchical formal chronostratigraphic units - the Chronozone. A chronozone is a formal chronostratigraphic unit of unspecified rank, not part of the hierarchy of conventional chronostratigraphic units.

It is the body of rocks formed anywhere during the time span of some designated stratigraphic unit or geologic feature. The corresponding geochronologic unit is the chron.

The time span of a chronozone is the time span of a previously designated stratigraphic unit or interval, such as a lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, or magnetostratigraphic polarity unit.

It should be recognized, however, that while the stratigraphic unit on which the chronozone is based extends geographically only as far as its diagnostic properties can be recognized, the corresponding chronozone includes all rocks formed everywhere during the time span represented by the designated unit.


For instance, a formal chronozone based on the time span of a biozone includes all strata equivalent in age to the total maximum time span of that biozone regardless of the presence or absence of fossils diagnostic of the biozone Figure 8. Chronozones may be of widely different time spans.

The designation of the boundaries of a chronozone and of its time span can be done in several ways depending on the nature of the stratigraphic unit on which the chronozone is based.

If the unit has a designated stratotype, the boundaries and time span of the chronozone can be made to correspond either to those of the unit at its stratotype or to the total time span of the unit, which may be longer than that at the stratotype. In this second case, the boundaries and time span of the chronozone would vary with increasing information concerning the time span of the unit. If the unit on which the chronozone is based is of the type which cannot appropriately have a designated stratotype, such as a biostratigraphic unit, its time span cannot be defined either because the time span of the reference unit may change with increasing information see section 7.

The geographic extent of a chronozone is, in theory, worldwide, but its pplicability is limited to the area over which its time span can be identified, which is usually less. A chronozone takes its name from the stratigraphic unit on which it is based, e. A major goal of chronostratigraphic classification is the establishment of a hierarchy of chronostratigraphic units of worldwide scope, which will serve as a standard scale of reference for the dating of all rocks everywhere and for relating all rocks everywhere to world geologic history See section 9.

All units of the standard chronostratigraphic hierarchy are theoretically worldwide in extent, as are their corresponding time spans.

Regional Chronostratigraphic Scales The units of the Standard Global Chronostratigraphic Geochronologic Scale are valid only as they are based on sound, detailed local and regional stratigraphy.

Accordingly, the route toward recognition of uniform global units is by means of local or regional stratigraphic scales. Moreover, regional units will probably always be needed whether or not they can be correlated with the standard global units.

It is better to refer strata to local or regional units with accuracy and precision rather than to strain beyond the current limits of time correlation in assigning these strata to units of a global scale.

Stratigraphy - Wikipedia

Local or regional chronostratigraphic units are governed by the same rules as are established for the units of the Standard Global Chronostratigraphic Scale. Subdivision of the Precambrian The Precambrian has been subdivided into arbitrary geochronometric units, but it has not been subdivided into chronostratigraphic units recognizable on a global scale.

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

There are prospects that chronostratigraphic subdivision of much of the Precambrian may eventually be attained through isotopic dating and through other means of time correlation. However, the basic principles to be used in subdividing the Precambrian into major chronostratigraphic units should be the same as for Phanerozoic rocks, even though different emphasis may be placed on various means of time correlation, predominantly isotopic dating.

Quaternary Chronostratigraphic Units The basic principles used in subdividing the Quaternary into chronostratigraphic units are the same as for other Phanerozoic chronostratigraphic units, although the methods of time correlation may have a different emphasis.

Stratigraphy - Key terms

As in the case of other chronostratigraphic units, those of the Quaternary require boundary definitions and designation of boundary stratotypes. Procedures for Establishing Chronostratigraphic Units. See also section 3. Boundary stratotypes as standards.

The essential part of the definition of a chronostratigraphic unit is the time span during which the unit described was formed. Since the only record of geologic time and of the events of geologic history lies in the rocks themselves, the best standard for a chronostratigraphic unit is a body of rocks formed between two designated instants of geologic time.

For these reasons, the boundaries of a chronostratigraphic unit of any rank are defined by two designated reference points in the rock sequence. The two points are located in the boundary-stratotypes of the chronostratigraphic unit which need not be part of a single section.

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

Both, however, should be chosen in sequences of essentially continuous deposition since the reference points for the boundaries should represent points in time as specific as possible see section 9. Advantage of defining chronostratigraphic units by their lower boundary stratotypes.

The definition of a chronostratigraphic unit places emphasis in the selection of the boundary-stratotype of its lower boundary; its upper boundary is defined as the lower boundary of the succeeding unit. This procedure avoids gaps and overlaps in the Standard Global Chronostratigraphic Scale.

For example, should it be shown that the selected horizon is at the level of an undetected break in the sequence, then the missing span of geologic history would belong to the lower unit by definition and ambiguity is avoided. Requirements for the selection of boundary stratotypes of chronostratigraphic units.

Chronostratigraphic units offer the best promise of being identified, accepted, and used globally and of being, therefore, the basis for international communication and understanding because they are defined on the basis of their time of formation, a universal property.

Particularly important in this respect are the units of the Standard Global Chronostratigraphic Geochronologic Scale. In addition to the general requirements for the selection and description of stratotypes section 4.

Cboundary-stratotypes of chronostratigraphic units should fulfill the following requirements: The worst possible choice for a boundary-stratotype of a chronostratigraphic unit is at an unconformity. Boundary stratotypes of chronostratigraphic units of local application may need to be in a nonmarine section. Permanent field markers are desirable. Procedures for Extending Chronostratigraphic Units-Chronocorrelation Time Correlation The boundaries of chronostratigraphic units are synchronous horizons by definition.

In practice, the boundaries are synchronous only so far as the resolving power of existing methods of time correlation can prove them to be so. All possible lines of evidence should be utilized to extend chronostratigraphic units and their boundaries.

Some of the most commonly used are: Physical Interrelations of strata.


The Law of Superposition states that in an undisturbed sequence of sedimentary strata the uppermost strata are younger than those on which they rest.

The determination of the order of superposition provides unequivocal evidence for relative age relations. All other methods of relative age determination are dependent on the observed physical sequence of strata as a check on their validity. For a sufficiently limited distance, the trace of a bedding plane is the best indicator of synchroneity. Smith knew this and realized the importance of the fossil record early on in his career.

He was an avid collector of fossils but unlike the genteel collectors in Bath, did not see them as ornaments. To him they were a key tool to identify and type specific strata in the geological record. He built up a huge collection of fossils which he could relate to specific strata. Based on this, it can be fairly said that he founded the science of biostratigraphy.

Should it be by point locations, lines or colours?

STRATIGRAPHY | William Smith's Maps - Interactive

As we know Smith chose a combination of both line and colour. His colours generally had some lithological significance and indeed are still used today.

lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy dating

Smith also used graded tints on his maps with the strongest colour at the base of the bed at outcrop lightening upwards see below. This is what Smith says in his memoir to the map.

It is, effectively, an expansion of the section along the same line shown on the map and has an exaggerated vertical scale x Another method used by Smith to demonstrate the relationship of strata to one another was the geological cross- section. Although the origins of the geological cross-section date back to John Strachey, Smith took cross-sections to a new level. His section from London to Snowdon shown above is a geological masterpiece, a combination of cross-section and panorama. In the section B he shows a disconformity between his Clunch Oxford and Oaktree Kimmeridge clays resulting in the absence of the Coral Rag.

In C he shows the Greensand beneath the Chalk pinching out eventually resulting in an unconformity between the Golt Gault and the Chalk.

Modern stratigraphy William Smith laid the foundation for stratigraphy in England. Later his pioneering work was to be continued by others. Opel provided a detailed zonation of the Jurassic by use of ammonites and was able to subdivide the Jurassic into 33 different zones.