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Simplifying the stratigraphy of time

Jan Zalasiewicz, Alan Smith, Patrick Brenchley, Jane Evans, Robert Knox, Nicholas Riley, Andrew Gale, F. John Gregory, Adrian Rushton, Philip Gibbard, Stephen Hesselbo, John Marshall, Michael Oates, Peter Rawson and Nigel Trewin
Simplifying the stratigraphy of time
Geology (Boulder) (January 2004) 32 (1): 1-4


We propose ending the distinction between the dual stratigraphic terminology of time-rock units (of chronostratigraphy) and geologic time units (of geochronology). The long-held, but widely misunderstood, distinction between these two essentially parallel time scales in stratigraphy has been rendered unnecessary by the widespread adoption of the global stratotype sections and points (GSSP-golden spike) principle in defining intervals of geologic time within rock strata. We consider that the most appropriate name for this stratigraphic discipline is "chronostratigraphy," which would allow "geochronology" to revert to its mainstream and original meaning of numerical age dating. This in turn makes the little-used formal term "geochronometry" redundant. The terms "eonothem," "erathem," "system," "series," and "stage" would become redundant, in favor of "eon," "era," "period," "epoch" and (disputably) "age." Our favored geologic time units may be qualified by "early" and "late," but not by "lower" and "upper." These suggested changes should simplify stratigraphic practice, encompass both stratified and nonstratified rocks, and help geologic understanding, while retaining precision of meaning.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 32
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Simplifying the stratigraphy of time
Affiliation: University of Leicester, Department of Geology, Leicester, United Kingdom
Pages: 1-4
Published: 200401
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 20
Accession Number: 2004-014661
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: University of Cambridge, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of Liverpool, GBR, United KingdomBritish Geological Survey, GBR, United KingdomGreenwich University, GBR, United KingdomOxford University, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of Southampton, GBR, United KingdomBG Exploration and Production, GBR, United KingdomUniversity College London, GBR, United KingdomKing's College Aberdeen, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200405
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