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Abstract

The last decade has witnessed significant advances in analytic techniques and methodologic approaches to understanding earth history. It was with this in mind that we convened a research symposium at the 67th annual meeting of SEPM in New Orleans (27 April 1993) entitled Geochronology, Time Scales and Stratigraphic Correlation: Framework for a Historical Geology. In a one day (27 April) symposium, 15 (of 18 scheduled) papers were presented on all aspects of the symposium topic. Oral presentations were complemented by a half day (28 April) poster session. The present volume represents a distillation of the symposium presentations with the inclusion of two of the three that were not presented owing to unavoidable circumstances, the addition of two new papers and the elimination of two of the papers presented at the symposium. The result is the 16 papers that constitute this volume and which represent a broad spectrum of approaches to understanding earth history and the passage of (geologic) time.

But let’s back off a minute and ask what is time anyway? Time has been defined as a measured or measurable period, a continuum that lacks spatial dimensions. In the 5th century A.D., the Platonist St. Augustine wrestled with the inadequacy of words to define the concept. Time is of philosophical interest to us humans not the least because we regret the past and fear the (uncertainty and inevitability of) the future. Modern physics teaches us that time cannot, in fact, be treated in isolation from space. There is an interdependence

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