Measuring tectonic uplift of the mean surface of Earth using thermochronological data to document "uplift" histories is often plagued by confusion arising from the independent nature of the thermal and sea-level frames of reference. The technique of backstacking apatite fission-track "stratigraphy" differentiates between vertical movement of rocks toward Earth's surface due to erosional or tectonic denudation and tectonic uplift of Earth's surface. Apatite fission-track analysis can also be used to identify episodes of erosion where no other evidence for the erosional event exists, in addition to providing information about the timing, magnitude, and geographic distribution of erosion.

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