Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM


WALKER, J. Douglas, Department of Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, GEISSMAN, J.W., Department of Geosciences, ROC 21, University of Texas at Dallas, 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080, BOWRING, Samuel A., EAPS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 and BABCOCK, Loren E., School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 275 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 S. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210,

We describe the new 2013 version of the Geological Society of America Geologic Time Scale and general aspects of geologic time scales and their evolution. The Geological Society of America developed its first geologic time scale in 1983 in conjunction with the Decade of North American Geology effort. Over the past 30 years, the Geological Society of America Geologic Time Scale has undergone substantial modifications, commensurate with major advances in our understanding of chronostratigraphy, geochronology, astrochronology, chemostratigraphy, and the geomagnetic polarity time scale. Today, many parts of the time scale can be calibrated with precisions approaching less than 0.05 %. In developing the current Geological Society of America time scale, we have strived to maintain a consistency with efforts by the International Commission on Stratigraphy to develop an International Geologic Time Scale. Some notable time intervals for which collaborative, multifaceted efforts have led to dramatic improvements in our understanding of the character and temporal resolution of key evolutionary events include the Triassic-Jurassic, Permo-Triassic, and Neoproterozoic-Phanerozoic boundaries (or transitions).

Over the last 100 years the confluence of process-based geological thought with observed and approximated geologic rates has lead to a coherent and quantitatively robust estimates of geologic time scales. Although current geologic time scales are vastly improved over the first geologic time scale, published by Arthur Holmes in 1913, we note that Holmes, using eight numerical ages to calibrate the Phanerozoic time scale, estimated the beginning of the Cambrian Period to within a few percent of the currently accepted value.

Previous Abstract | Next Abstract >>