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Geologic Time 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Geologic Time 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geologic Time 1

2 The earth needs a time scale
Which geologic event took place first and when? Which rock layer is older, and how is earth history deciphered? How do we assign actual years to rock layers? The earth needs a time scale Consider: 1 2 ss Shale (sh) 3 Limestone (LS) 4 5 Sandstone (ss)

3 Historical aspects about geology Catastrophism vs. Uniformitarianism
There are two schools of thought on the geologic history and processes that formed our earth. Catastrophism vs. Uniformitarianism 4

4 Catastrophism: (mid-1600’s)
powerful geologic events that shape the earth in a single incident Volcanic eruptions Earthquakes Massive floods Landsliding 5

5 Catastrophism: (mid-1600’s)
published by Anglican Archbishop, James Ussher determined that earth was only a few thousand years old – created in 4004 BC suggested that earth landscapes are fashioned by great catastrophes an attempt to fit the formation of earth features into a short amount of time (6000 years – Biblical philosophy) 6

6 Uniformitarianism – Birth of Modern Geology
“The present is the key to the past.” Uniformitarianism states: Physical, chemical, and biological laws that operate today have also operated in the geologic past. Proposed by James Hutton – late 1700’s argued using the “rock cycle” concept argued using earth processes that can be observed What is required? TIME 7

7 The Uniformitarianism philosophy
Do geologic processes act slowly or rapidly? How many catastrophic events take place/day? When was the last major volcanic eruption? When was the last major earthquake? How long does it take a river to carve a canyon? How fast are the continents moving? Do you consider yourself a catastrophist or a uniformitarianist? 8

8 Taking Uniformitarianism literally – Problem with “U”
Rates and intensities of geologic processes change over time. Example: 10,000 years ago, large land masses were covered in ice. Different type of geologic environment than today Different intensity Different rates of erosion Given the concept of Uniformitarianism, would you consider the earth to be very OLD or very YOUNG? 9

9 I my earth science class. Discuss with a friend:
Describe the differences between catastrophism and uniformitarianism. 2. Provide at least 2 examples each of 3. Identify “problems” with both philosophies. I will get an A on my exams and quizzes. 10

10 Relative Dating - placing the geologic occurrence
in the proper sequence Which came first and WHY? To construct a “relative” time scale, rules were established (principles of relative dating). Nicholas Steno ( ) Principle of Original Horizontality Law of Superposition Principle of Cross-Cutting Relations Principle of Inclusions 11

11 12 The Principle of Original Horizontality:
Let’s unravel some geologic history from observations of various formations and their contacts. Nicholas Steno – 1669 proposed the following relative dating principles: The Principle of Original Horizontality: Sedimentary rock layers are deposited as horizontal strata. Any observed non-horizontal strata have been disturbed. Sediment input C B basin A 12

12 Original Horizontal Strata
Limestone (ls) Shale (sh) Sandstone (ss) granitic rock 13

13 The Principle of Superposition
In any undisturbed sequence of strata, the oldest stratum is at the bottom of the sequence, and the youngest stratum is on top. Unit 1 = old Unit 5 = young 5 4 3 2 1 14

14 Which strata is older? 5 4 3 2 1 youngest 5 4 oldest 3 2 1 15

15 The principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships
Any geologic feature that cuts across another geologic feature is younger. 5 Unit 1 = older Unit 6 = youngest 4 3 2 6 1 Which came first: Unit 5 or Unit 6? 16

16 Which is older, the fault Which is younger, the dike
or volcanic layer? Which is younger, the dike or country rock? fault dike Volcanic layer What type of fault is this? Normal country rock Determine the relative age of the two dikes. 1 2 17

17 18 The Principle of Inclusions
A piece of rock (clast) that has become “included” in another rock body is older than the rock body it has become part of – why? Rock body A A A A Older (Rock A was there first.) Intrusion of pluton B 18

18 Which “granites” are older and younger?

19 Which rock body is older?:
A ? ? C Can you identify the inclusions found in this Sierra Nevada Mountain batholitic material? 20

20 Superposition 21 Original Horizontality Principle of Inclusions
Youngest Superposition Oldest Principle of Inclusions Cross-Cutting Relationship Which granite is older? Older A B C Asp Vn Younger 21

21 this earth science class.
Discuss with a friend: 4. Explain the concept of relative dating. 5. Draw a diagram, and explain each of the following dating principles: Original Horizontality Superposition Cross-Cutting Relations Inclusion Principle I will get an A on my exams and quizzes. 22

22 Ok – given the principles, what is wrong with
this stack of rock (strata) youngest 7 6 5 3 2 1 oldest Missing time – or does time really stop? 23

23 24 The principle of Unconformities Igneous or metamorphic rock
rock surface that represents a period of erosion or non- deposition referred to as “missing time” three major types of unconformities: disconformity angular unconformity non-conformity disconformity – unconformity in non-disturbed sedimentary layers angular unconformity – uncon. lies between angled strata and overlying horizontal strata non-conformity – sedimentary strata overlies crystalline rocks (ig and met) Unconformity Igneous or metamorphic rock 24

24 25 disconformity angular unconformity nonconformity Sedimentary rocks
Xln rocks 25

25 this earth science class.
6. Explain what an unconformity is and what it represents. 7. Diagram pictures that represent the three types of unconformities. Discuss with a friend I will get an A on my exams and quizzes 26

26 How do we get a fossil? – preservation of past life
Fossils – evidence of past life or “time pieces,” the remains or traces of prehistoric life Paleontology – study of fossils How do we get a fossil? – preservation of past life 2 conditions must exist for preservation rapid burial possession of hard parts Prehistoric bug Rapid burial of sediment covers the bug – fossil Bug dies Bug soft parts are eaten or dissolve 27

27 How do fossils help scientists relatively date layers
Fossils – evidence of past life or “time pieces,” the remains or traces of prehistoric life Preservation of fossils Small percentage of fossils preserved throughout geologic time – WHY? Most organisms composed of soft parts. Organisms with hard parts and within a sedimentary environment are favored. Very rare to see vast array of other life forms How do fossils help scientists relatively date layers of rock (strata)? 28

28 William Smith – Principle of Fossil Succession
Fossil organisms succeed one another in a definite and determinable order, and therefore any time period can be recognized by its fossil content. “Fossils are arranged according to their age by using the law of superposition.” Fossil succession: allows geologists to age date wide geographical areas documents the evolution of life Age of mammals Age of reptiles Age of fish Youngest Oldest 29

29 How do fossils help date rocks?
1200 miles 7 7 6 6 Disconformity 5 4 3 3 2 2 Which fossils are the youngest and oldest? 1 30

30 31

31 this earth science class.
8. Give 2 reasons why many organisms are are not fossilized. 9. Explain the law of fossil succession and how this law allows dating of strata. 10. How has fossil succession helped geologists unravel earth history? Discuss with a friend: I will get an A on my exams and quizzes.

32 OK – We have relative dating and fossils – How do
we get “absolute” ages on the rocks (numbers)? Radiometric dating – applying a number radioactive atoms (isotopes) decay at a constant rate over time 33

33 The time of decay can be measured.
Radioactive decay of an unstable isotope atom + + + + Decay process + + + Pb206 (lead) + + U238 (Uranium) + + The time of decay can be measured. Isotope decay does not vary under various weathering conditions. Isotopes decay at a fixed rate. One isotope will decay into another isotope. 34

34 Stable Daughter Product Currently Accepted Half-Life Values
How does radiometric dating work, and where does the age (number) come from? 35 Terms: Parent element: the “beginning” element that contains 100% of radioactive particles Daughter element: the element that the parent element decays into (or turns into over time) Half life: the time required for ½ of the parent to decay into the daughter element Parent Isotope Stable Daughter Product Currently Accepted Half-Life Values Uranium-238 Lead-206 4.5 billion years Uranium-235 Lead-207 704 million years Thorium-232 Lead-208 14.0 billion years Rubidium-87 Strontium-87 48.8 billion years Potassium-40 Argon-40 1.25 billion years Samarium-147 Neodymium-143 106 billion years

35 U-235 Pb 207 704 m.y. 1.4 b.y. 2.1 b.y. 36 U-3 Daughter element 1/2
1 half life = 704 million years Daughter element 1/2 1/4 1/8 704 m.y. 1.4 b.y. 2.1 b.y. Parent element 36

36 this earth science class.
11. Specifically define the differences between relative and absolute dating techniques. 12. Define the following absolute dating terms parent/daughter elements, half-life 13. Explain how the half-life is used to calculate an absolute age. I will get an A on my exams and quizzes. 37

37 What is the importance of radiometric dating?
produced thousands of dates for earth events rocks have been dated at more than 3 b.y. granite in South Africa dated at 3.2 b.y. granite contains inclusions of quartzite quartzite inclusions must be older Acasta gneiss in Northern Canada – 4.0 b.y. Earth believed to be 4.55 (4.6) b.y. old Radiometric dating: vindicated the ideas of Hutton, Darwin, and others consistent with relative dating techniques allowed “absolute” dating on the Geologic Time Scale 38

38 Relative dating + Absolute dating
Lets make a Geologic Time Scale Relative dating + Absolute dating The Geologic Time Scale: It combines both relative and absolute dating Created during the nineteenth century in Western Europe and Great Britain Sub-divides the 4.6 billion-year-history of the earth Eons Eras Periods Epochs 39

39 Precambrian Building the Geologic Time Scale 40 Phanerozoic
“visible life” fossil record becomes more detailed animals have hard shells and skeletons Building the Geologic Time Scale Proterozoic Multi-celled, soft body organisms “early life” Precambrian Archean Single cell life developed most “ancient” rocks found preserved rocks at the base of the Archean Hadean represents the earth’s time of formation no rocks are represented “hellish” conditions

40 41 Cenozoic Era Mesozoic Era Paleozoic Era birds and mammals
flourished appearance of man Mesozoic Era marks the rise in dinosaurs dominant vertebrates first flowering plants first shrew-like mammals Paleozoic Era known as ancient life life progressed from marine invertebrates to fish, amphibians, and reptiles

41 42 Periods based on: Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic Cambrian period
fossil types massive extinctions geographical locations characteristics of strata Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic age of reptiles dinosaurs dominant massive dinosaur extinction at 65 m.y. –Cretaceous “Jurassic Park” Cambrian period animals with hard shells diversification of life “the Cambrian explosion”

42 43 Epochs Age of Reptiles Age of fish Invertebrates
not defined by extinction events, but % of fossils still living plants and animals found in the Pliocene epoch have living species today Eocene-few species surviving today Holocene human’s time Age of Reptiles Amphibians Age of fish Invertebrates How accurate is the Geologic Time Scale?

43 the Geologic Time Scale.
44 I the Geologic Time Scale. 14. You should be able to draw the Geologic Time Scale and label it with the following: Eons, Eras, Periods, and Cenozoic/ Tertiary epochs. 15. List major characteristics of each period. 16. How did the strength of both absolute and relative dating techniques contribute the development of the geologic time scale?

44 Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Paleozoic
The Geologic Time Scale – How much of Earth history is represented? Geologic Time Scale Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Paleozoic Eras 12% 88% Precambrian Eon 45

45 Difficulties in dating the Geologic Time Scale
Not all rocks can be dated radiometrically. all minerals must contain 100% parent atoms. Sedimentary rocks can only rarely be dated. some parent atoms come from pre-existing rocks that have been weathered and transported. sedimentary rocks are dated in proximity of igneous bodies. Metamorphic rocks are challenging. some minerals do not necessarily represent the time when the rock was formed 46

46 How is the age of the Earth determined?
Why is it difficult to determine the age of the earth? (think rock cycle) The external and internal forces constantly recycle earth material, obliterating rock clues to the earth’s past. What evidence suggests a 4.6 b.y. old earth? Precambrian rocks (Acasta gneiss, northern Canada) date at 4.0 billion years. Mineral grain found in sedimentary rock (Australia) dates at 4.4 billion years. What does the mineral grain in a sedimentary rock indicate about the 4.4 b.y. age relationship? 47

47 Acasta gneiss, northern Canada
known as the Acasta gneiss complex dated at the Hadean Eon (4.0 billion years old) part of the Canadian Slave craton 48

48 Evidence from space to age date the earth-- moon dust and meteorites:
moon dust from Apollo astronauts dated at 4.55 billion years the Allende Meteorite: a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite that was found in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1969 contains unaltered material from the formation of the solar system composed of tiny amounts of carbon that form the compounds of amino acids (essential for life) age dating of this and other meteorites is around based on earth rocks and interstellar space objects, earth is believed to be around 4.6 billion years old. 49

49 Allende Meteorite, Chihuahua, Mexico, Feb. 8, 1969
unaltered material from our solar system contains carbon (3 parts/1000) some carbon compounds in the form of amino acids dark areas – olivine with trace amounts of iron and carbon calcium and aluminum oxide compounds first matter to form during solar system formation older than earth carbonaceous chondrite 50

50 I what ES can do for me. Discuss with a friend:
17. Identify at least 2 problems with the accuracy of the Geologic Time Scale. 18. Why does the Geologic Time Scale only represent about 12% of the earth’s geologic history (assuming the earth is 4.6 b.y. old)? I will get an A on my exams and quizzes. 51

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