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The Decade of North American Geology

1983 Geologic Time Scale

Compiled by
Allison R. Palmer
Centennial Science Program Coordinator
Geological Society of America, P.O. Box 9140, Boulder, Colorado 80301

Preparation of the 27 synthesis volumes of The Geology of MESOZOIC


North America for the Decade of North American Geology Base of Companion to end of Cretaceous
(DNAG) is now in progress. In order to encourage uniformity Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., and Flynn, J. J., 1984, Appendix,
among DNAG authors in the citation of numerical ages for chron- in Geochronology and the geologic record: Geological Society
ostratigraphic units of the geologic time scale, an ad hoc Time of London (in press).
Scale Advisory Committee was established by the DNAG Steering Base of Aptian to base of Santonian
Committee in 1982. This advisory committee, consisting of Z. E. Harland, W. B„ Cox, A. V., Llewellyn, P. G„ Picton, C.A.G.,
Peterman (Chairman) and J. E. Harrison, U.S. Geological Survey; Smith, A. G., and Walters, R., 1982, A geological time scale:
R. L. Armstrong, University of British Columbia; and W. A. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 128 p.
Berggren, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was asked to Base of Hettangian to base of Barremian (dating and chronostrati-
evaluate numerical dating schemes that were either recently pub- graphic correlation of the "M" series)
lished or in press and to provide recommendations for the best Kent, D. V., and Gradstein, F. M., 1984, A Jurassic to Recent
numbers to use in preparation of a DNAG time scale. The chart chronology, in Tucholke, B. E., and Vogt, P. R., eds., The
on the opposite side of this page was developed from the recom- Western Atlantic region, Volume M of The geology of North
mendations of the Time Scale Advisory Committee. America: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America
Geochronometric ages (Ma, Ga) assigned to chronostrati- (in press).
graphic boundaries are subject to several uncertainties in addi- Note: Rhaetian has been eliminated from the Late Triassic
tion to those introduced by the numerical dating methods chronostratigraphic scale following Tozer, E. T., 1979, Latest Tri-
themselves; boundary stratotypes for many units are not yet assic ammonoid faunas and biochronology, western Canada: Geo-
chosen, so disagreement exists about exact biostratigraphic place- logical Survey of Canada Paper 79-1B, p. 127-135.
ment and correlation of a boundary; and many materials that can Base of Ladinian to base of Norian
be numerically dated are not known in good context with biostrat- Armstrong, R. L., 1982, Late Triassic-Early Jurassic time scale
igraphic data, so extrapolation to a chronostratigraphic boundary calibration in British Columbia, Canada, in Odin, G. S., ed.,
is commonly required. Furthermore, with respect to the late Numerical dating in stratigraphy: New York, John Wiley &
Mesozoic and the Cenozoic, differing numerical age calibrations Sons, p. 509-513.
of the magnetic polarity-reversal scale based on differing choices Base of Scythian to base of Anisian
of scattered isotopically dated tie points, differing interpretations Webb, J. A., 1982, Triassic radiometric dates from eastern Austra-
of the positions of biostratigraphic boundaries with respect to the lia: in Odin, G. S., ed., Numerical dating in stratigraphy: New
polarity-reversal scale, and uncertainties in the meaning of isotopic York, John Wiley & Sons, p. 515-521.
ages derived from glauconies lead to disagreement about ages
assigned to some chronostratigraphic boundaries. PALEOZOIC
With these caveats, the numerical ages given in this chart All numerical ages except those for the upper and lower
represent interpretations acceptable to the DNAG Time Scale boundaries of the Paleozoic are derived from Harland and others
Advisory Committee. The uncertainty bars for Paleozoic and (see above, 1982, p. 52-55). Late Carboniferous numbers are for
Mesozoic ages are from data in Harland and others (1982). continentally based ages (N = "Namurian"; W = Westphalian;
Uncertainty bars for the Cenozoic are not available. S = Stephanian). The marine-based ages are from Harland and
Sources for the numerical ages and for the chronostrati- others (1982, Fig. 5.6). The earlier estimate for the base of the
graphic nomenclature are given below. Cambrian at 570 Ma is retained.

CENOZOIC PRECAMBRIAN
Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., and Van Couvering, J. A., 1984, Harrison, J. E., and Peterman, Z. E., 1982, North American
Neogene geochronology and chronostratigraphy; in Geo- Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature, Report 9, Adop-
chronology and the geologic record: Geological Society of tion of geochronometric units for divisions of Precambrian
London (in press). time: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin,
Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., and Flynn, J. J., 1984, Paleogene v. 66, p. 801-802.
geochronology and chronostratigraphy, in Geochronology
and the geologic record: Geological Society of London (in
press).

G E O L O G Y , v. I I , p. 503-504, September 1983 503


è DECADE OF NORTH AMERICAN GEOLOGY
1983 GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

CENOZOIC MESOZOiC PALEOZOIC PRECAMBRiAN


PERIOD EPOCH PICKS AGE I PERIOD EPOCH PICKS BOY.
AGE PICKS AGE
|M>| IM» <Ma| AGES
(Ma) £ (M») (Ma) (Ma)
4UUÉA- 0.01 -H20
NARY PLEISTOCENE
PIACENZIAN
1.6
MAASTRICHTIAN
z
<
TATARIAN "
-120
—»24 LATE
ZANCLEAN
5.3 s —122
MESSINIAN
6.5 CAMPANIAN oc (12

UJ
CO 84.0
TORTONIAN 87.5 SL
D 88.5 GZELIAN
286 1 1 2
90- 91 KASIMOVIAN
O CENOMANIAN 296 10

SERRAVALLIAN iu MOSCOVIAN O
MIDDLE
o
o LANGHIAN
15.1 O
<
ALBIAN
BASHKIRIAN 315
320
o
N
s 16.6
SERPUKHOVIAN
I- 113 O
BURDIGALIAN
LU APTIAN
•119 VISEAN
oc
21.8 0C BARREMIAN U
AQUITANIAN 124 352 18 I-
O
23.7 HAUTERIVIAN

VALANGINIAN
•131
TOURNAISIAN
FAMMENIAN
FRASNIAN
360
367
10
H12
o
CC
CHATTIAN 374
z 138
GIVETIAN 380
H8 Q.
UJ BERRIASIAN
Ü
O
144 o
>
EIFELIAN
EMSIAN
387 •118
EARLY

TITHONIAN 394 -H28


a UJ SIEGENIAN •401 - 1 2 2
RUPELIAN KIMMERIDGIAN
-152 -112 o GEDINNIAN 408 •118
•156 -"6
PRIDOLIAN 414
OXFORDIAN 15 12
LUDLOVIAN
oc 421

PRIABONIAN
o CALLOVIAN
-163

169
15
3 WENLOCKIAN
LLANDOVERIAN
428
12
-112

(/) BATHONIAN 438 8

BARTONIAN </)
< BAJOCIAN
176
34 ASHGILLIAN
448 112
180-
183
34 < CARADOCIAN
458
H2 LATE
w
z oc AALENIAN
187
34 O
>
LLANOEILAN
468
H16

UJ TOARCIAN 16
o
o
LUTETIAN 193
28
o LLANVIRNIAN
478 16
111
PLIENSBACHIAN
198
32 o ARENIGIAN
120 <
LU
oc
SINEMURIAN
204
18 o TREMADOCIAN
z MIDDLE
HETTANGIAN

YPRESIAN
O
208
TREMPEALEAUAN o
oc
57.8 (fi
NORIAN
FRANCONIAN
DRESBACHIAN <
UJ
z
UJ
(/>
< CARNIAN
225
oc
co EARLY
o 60.6 230
22
s
<
o LADINIAN
63.6 OC ANISIAN
235
240
o
<
a DANIAN 240 - I-
r66.4 SCYTHIAN
245