Bailey raises a number of important issues. In light of his comments, it strikes me that routine stratigraphic research faces two central problems. First, its emphasis on explaining traces in terms of ordinary but complex geological processes interacting over extended periods of time makes it difficult to pick out one event as more important than the many others involved in the causal chain terminating in the trace under consideration. Thus Bailey quite appropriately asks, “…what do we regard as the causality?” Second, it is much easier to find a smoking gun for unusual catastrophic historical events having global consequences than...

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