Navigation Links
End of an era: New ruling decides the boundaries of Earth's history
Date:9/22/2009

After decades of debate and four years of investigation an international body of earth scientists has formally agreed to move the boundary dates for the prehistoric Quaternary age by 800,000 years, reports the Journal of Quaternary Science.

The decision has been made by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the authority for geological science which has acted to end decades of controversy by formally declaring when the Quaternary Period, which covers both the ice age and moment early man first started to use tools, began.

In the 18th Century the earth's history was split into four epochs, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary. Although the first two have been renamed Palaeozoic and Mesozoic respectively, the second two have remained in use by scientists for more than 150 years. There has been a protracted debate over the position and status of Quaternary in the geological time scale and the intervals of time it represents.

"It has long been agreed that the boundary of the Quaternary Period should be placed at the first sign of global climate cooling," said Professor Philip Gibbard. "What we have achieved is the definition of the boundary of the Quaternary to an internationally recognised and fixed point that represents a natural event, the beginning of the ice ages on a global scale."

Controversy over when exactly the Quaternary Period began has raged for decades, with attempts in 1948 and 1983 to define the era. In 1983 the boundary was fixed at 1.8 million years, a decision which sparked argument within the earth science community as this point was not a 'natural boundary' and had no particular geological significance.

Up to now it has been widely felt within the scientific community that the boundary should be located earlier, at a time of greater change in the earth-climate system.

"For practical reasons such boundaries should ideally be made as easy as possible to identify all around the world. The new boundary of 2.6 million years is just that," concluded Gibbard, "hence we are delighted at finally achieving our goal of removing the boundary to this earlier point."

"The decision is a very important one for the scientific community working in the field," said Journal Editor Professor Chris Caseldine. "It provides us with a point in geological time when we effectively did move into a climatic era recognisably similar to the geological present."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Benorman@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight
2. Scientists use microRNAs to track evolutionary history for first time
3. Salt marshes: A natural and unnatural history
4. Geography and history shape genetic differences in humans
5. History of hyperactivity off-base, says researcher
6. Penn Medicine honored for its historic role in the history of microbiology
7. Tiny differences in our genes help shed light on the big picture of human history
8. DOE makes largest Danforth Campus research award in history
9. Study of protein structures reveals key events in evolutionary history
10. Chantix side effects no worse with depression history
11. NJIT history professor receives national endowment for humanities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/24/2017)... , July 24, 2017 Intralytix, Inc. ... funding from Lesaffre, a French family group. This investment ... companies to develop and commercialize bacteriophage-based products, for various ... mutual interest. ... Lesaffre designs manufactures and markets innovative solutions for baking, ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... , ... July 24, 2017 ... ... Kenny Soulstring, today announced that the stock market news outlet had initiated ... assessment diagnostic testing that screens and identifies exposure, progression and risk analysis ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Resoundant, Inc. is pleased to introduce ... U.S. that offer MR Elastography for liver fibrosis staging. MR Elastography is ... liver fibrosis assessment. , “MRE:connect was created in response to an increasing number ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... of life, today announced its full advisory board. The board comprises leaders spanning ... of James Crooks, PhD, former VP of Engineering, to Chief Technology Officer. Crooks ...
Breaking Biology Technology: