Drawing a line in the sand: identifying and characterizing boundaries in the geological record
Published:January 01, 2004
Alwynne B. Beaudoin, Martin J. Head, 2004. "Drawing a line in the sand: identifying and characterizing boundaries in the geological record", The Palynology and Micropalaeontology of Boundaries, A. B. Beaudoin, M. J. Head
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The identification and characterization of boundaries is a fundamental activity in geoscience. Spatial and temporal boundaries are rarely sharp but are more usually zones of transition, which may have variable characteristics. The examination of palynological and micropalaeontological data is often crucial for the delineation of geological boundaries, especially for the definition of Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs). The sixteen papers in this volume highlight many productive methodological approaches to boundary identification. This essay reviews the theoretical background to boundary identification in geology, and provides the contextual perspective for the subsequent papers.
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The Palynology and Micropalaeontology of Boundaries
This volume explores geological boundaries in time and space using palynology and micropalaeontology. Boundaries produce distinct signatures in the micropalaeontological record. Diffuse or sharp, gradual or abrupt, boundaries can tell us much about the response of biotic systems to environmental change in both marine and terrestrial realms. Different microfossil groups and geological contexts require their own approaches, definitions and considerations of boundaries. The papers in this compilation capture the current range of thinking on the methodology of boundary identification from biostratigraphical, ecological and palaeoenvironmental perspectives. Contributions span the Cambrian to Miocene and feature many fossil groups (including pollen, dinoflagellates, foraminifera, ostracodes, conodonts, and diatoms). With a strong Canadian and North American focus, the volume also includes contributions from Poland, Egypt, Belgium, Argentina and the United Kingdom.