Abstract

During the past 10 years many radiometric ages have been determined on minerals and rocks in the Lake Superior region. The oldest known rocks are the granitic gneisses in the Minnesota River Valley, which have been dated at 3300 to 3550 m.y. ago. Both K–Ar and Rb–Sr methods have been applied to samples from a number of the metasedimentary formations in the region. The ages, however, appear to be the time of folding or of metamorphism rather than of deposition for which only limits or ranges can be given from the ages for associated igneous and metamorphic rocks.Although considerable progress has been made, significant uncertainties remain in the decay constants and in the analytical measurements. More serious problems, however, are geologic ones, such as the effects of metamorphism and of weathering on the parent–daughter nuclide ratios. Both analytical and geological considerations must enter into any proposal for a time classification of the Precambrian.A three-fold division of the Precambrian with time boundaries at 2600 and 1800 m.y. serves well for the Lake Superior region. In addition, the Keweenawan igneous activity is well dated at approximately 1100 m.y. ago. Terms such as Keweenawan, Huronian, and others are best used locally, and time units of a Precambrian classification that might have world-wide utility should not be tied closely to geographic localities. A single radiometric method, as for example K–Ar largely on micas, is not a satisfactory basis for a classification.

You do not currently have access to this article.