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Structure and dating errors in the geologic time scale and periodicity in mass extinctionsStructure in the geologic time scale reflects a partly paleontological origin. As a result, ages of Cenozoic and Mesozoic stage boundaries exhibit a weak 28-Myr periodicity that is similar to the strong 26-Myr periodicity detected in mass extinctions of marine life by Raup and Sepkoski. Radiometric dating errors in the geologic time scale, to which the mass extinctions are stratigraphically tied, do not necessarily lessen the likelihood of a significant periodicity in mass extinctions, but do spread the acceptable values of the period over the range 25-27 Myr for the Harland et al. time scale or 25-30 Myr for the DNAG time scale. If the Odin time scale is adopted, acceptable periods fall between 24 and 33 Myr, but are not robust against dating errors. Some indirect evidence from independently-dated flood-basalt volcanic horizons tends to favor the Odin time scale.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Stothers, Richard B.
(NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies New York, United States)
Date Acquired
August 14, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1989
Publication Information
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 16
ISSN: 0094-8276
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
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