Presentation on theme: "Unit 2 Lecture: Geologic Time Concepts for Relative & Absolute"— Presentation transcript:
1Unit 2 Lecture: Geologic Time Concepts for Relative & Absolute Dating of Geologic Strata
2How do we measure time?Easiest solution – look at the rate of a convenient natural process. If the rate is constant, then use it as a timer.Examples: Revolution of the Earth (years)Rotation of the Earth (days)But what about geologic time?Same answer.
3Useful “Timing” Processes: Biological – Use tree rings “dendrochronology”Bristle-Cone Pine Tree: ~ yearsGeological – Counting “varves” (annual sedimentation layers (Baron de Geer, 1878; Bradley, 1929).Geophysical- Measuring cooling rates for magmas, then extrapolating for the entire Earth. (Lord Kelvin, 1899)Geochemical - Measuring thickness of sedimentary layers and estimating erosion ratesNuclear – Measure rates of radioactive decay and proportions of parent & daughter isotopes.
4Two Kinds of Ages Relative - Know Order of Events But Not Dates Civil War Happened Before W.W.IIBedrock in Wisconsin Formed Before The Glaciers CameAbsolute - Know DatesCivil WarWorld War IIGlaciers Left Wisconsin About 11,000 Years Ago
518.2 The beginnings of geology In 1666, Nicholas Steno, a Danish anatomist, studied a shark’s head and noticed that the shark’s teeth resembled mysterious stones called “tonguestones”.
618.2 The beginnings of geology Steno theorized that tonguestones looked like shark’s teeth because they actually were shark’s teeth that had been buried and became fossils.
8Relative Dating - placing the geologic occurrence in the proper sequenceWhich came first and WHY-----To establish a “relative” time scale, rules were discovered(principles of relative dating) – Nicholas Steno ( )Principle of Original HorizontalityLaw of SuperpositionPrinciple of Cross-Cutting relationsPrinciple of Inclusions
9RELATIVE DATING & AGERelative Dating: putting rocks and geological events in correct chronological orderRelative Age: how old something is in comparison to something elseHOW?Use of sedimentary rocksUse of fossilsStudy of strata
10The principle of Original Horizontality: Let’s unravel some geologic history from observations of various formationsand their contactsNicholas Steno – 1669 proposed the following relative dating principlesThe principle of Original Horizontality:Sedimentary rock layers are deposited as horizontal strataAny observed non-horizontal strata has been disturbedSediment inputCBbasinA
11LAW OF HORIZONTALITYSediments are originally deposited in horizontal layersFolds or inclines: layers must have been deformed after they were deposited
12The principle of Superposition In any undisturbed sequence of strata, the oldest stratum is at the bottom of the sequence and the youngest stratumis on top.Unit 1 = oldUnit 5 = young54321
13LAW OF SUPERPOSITIONFor undisturbed rocks, the oldest layer is on the bottom and the youngest is on top (Supai is oldest)
15The principle of Cross Cutting relationships Any geologic feature that cuts across another geologicfeature is younger5Unit 1 = olderUnit 6 = youngest43261Which came firstunit 5 or Unit 6 ?
16The principle of Inclusions A piece of rock (clast) that has become “included”in another rock body is older than the rock bodyit has become part of – why?Rock body AAAAOlder (rock A was there first)Intrusion of pluton B
17LAW OF INCLUSIONSIf a rock body (Rock B) contained fragments of another rock body (Rock A),then Rock B must be younger than the fragments of rock it contained
19Superposition Original Horizontality principle of inclusions YoungestSuperpositionOldestprinciple ofinclusionsCross-cutting relationshipWhich granite is older?OlderABCAsp VnYounger
20The principle of Unconformities Rock surface that represents a period of erosion or non-depositionOften represent a “gap” in timeThree major types of unconformitiesDisconformityAngular unconformityNon-conformityDisconformity – unconformity in non-disturbed sedimentarylayersAngular unconformity – unconformity lies between angled strata and overlying horizontal strataNon-conformity – sedimentary strataoverlies crystalline rocks (ign and meta)UnconformityIgneous or metamorphic rock
30What happened here? Deciphering Earth’s rock record…
31Start by listing the events ,such as deposition of Start by listing the events ,such as deposition of .. ,erosion, intrusion of.., faulting of, etc. in order to piece together the story..Deposition of rock layer ODeposition of rock layer NDeposition of rock layer LIntrusion of M (law of inclusions)Erosion of surface(unconformity)Depositionof H,I,JErosion (unconformity ) above JDeposition of KErosion to present day surface
32Let’s practice “Reading “ the rocks Let’s practice “Reading “ the rocks!! Determine the sequence of events in this geologic cross section:
331. Deposition of sedimentary rocks D 2. Fault B The sequence of events is as follows:1. Deposition of sedimentary rocks D2. Fault B3. Intrusion of igneous rock C4. Erosion, forming the unconformity5. Deposition of sedimentary rocks E
34Fossil FormationFossils are the remains or traces of prehistoric life. They are important components of sediment and sedimentary rocks.
35Specific conditions are needed for fossilization. Only a tiny percentage of living things became fossils.
36Rocks can tell where fossils were made and when Rocks can tell when mass extinctions happened
37PALEONTOLOGY the study of fossils remains of ancient life Body fossils vs. trace fossilsBody = remain of organism, like bones;Trace = evidence of organism, like footprintsRadiometric dating: use the natural radioactivity of certain elements found in rocks to help determine their absolute age- the use of half-lifes to determine the absolute age of a sample.In radioactive dating, scientists calculate the age of a sample based on the remaining radioactive isotopes.Radioactive elments decay into nonradioactive elements at a steady rate which is measured in a unit called half-life.
38Commonly Preserved: Hard Parts of Organisms: Bones Shells Hard Parts of InsectsWoody Material
39Rarely Preserved Soft or Easily Decayed Parts of Organisms: Internal OrgansSkinHairFeathers
40Fossils can form in several ways. Permineralization occurs when minerals carried by water are deposited around a hard structure.
41Fossil FormationThe remains of an organism are likely to be changed over time.Molds and casts are another common type of fossil.Carbonization is particularly effective in preserving leaves and delicate animals. It occurs when an organism is buried under fine sediment.
42A natural cast forms when flowing water removes all of the original tissue, leaving an impression.
43Amber-preserved fossils are organisms that become trapped in tree resin that hardens after the tree is buried.
44Carbonization: occurs when fine sediment encases an organism, as time goes the pressure will squeeze out the gasses and liquids and leave behind a thin film of carbon.
46INDEX FOSSILFossil that defines and identifies geologic periods; often in only one layer of rockEasily recognizableShort-lived (found only in a few layers of rock worldwide)Wide distribution (geographic range)
47Ex/ INDEX FOSSIL: AMMONITE Ammonite fossils are found worldwide, but they existed for only a very specific period of timethis means ammonites are found in very specific layers of rockwhen an index fossil is found, the age of the rocks it is preserved in can be determinedTraces are footprints, droppings, or any other type of evidnece an organism might leave behindHow fossils form:Dead organisms are buried by layers of sediment, which forms new rock. Then the preserved remains may be discovered and studied.
48Fossil SuccessionThe principle of fossil succession means that fossils can be used to identify the relative age of the layers of a rock formation.The organisms found in the top layers appeared after the organisms found in the layers below them.
49PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESSION Fossils are found in a predictable sequenceFossils in rock B are older then fossils in rock A
50What kind of rocks are these fossils in? Which layer is oldest?Which layer is youngest?How do you know?
51GEOLOGIC TIME SCALEa series of time intervals that divides Earth’s historyEach layer of rock represents specific interval of timeIndex fossils help determine specific periodTime periods divided by specific events like mass extinctions
53ABSOLUTE DATING Absolute Time - Numerical age determination of strata, events, and geologic structures from radiometric dating techniques.
54Absolute TimeThink of an Hourglass timer (the term used by Arthur Holmes).Some initial quantity reduces, while its product accumulates at a constant rate.NO “sand” can be added or removed at any point in the process (closed system).Knowing the rate, and measuring quantities allows us to calculate the TIME duration for the process.
55Absolute Time Early Attempts Bishop James Ussher (Prelate of Ireland)(1600s) Used O.T. biblical chronologies to date the “creation”October 22, 4004 B.C. (Sunday)Georges Buffon(1700s) Used a measured cooling rate from metal & non-metal balls to estimate the age for a molten Earth to cool. Earth’s Age = 75,000 yrs.
56And others…John Joly (1889) acting upon a suggestion from Edmund Halley, estimated the ocean’s salinity & its rate of increase.Age: 90 million yearsLord Kelvin (1899) estimated the Earth’s thermal gradient. Comparing this to cooling rates for known materials he said:Age : 20 – 100 million years (max)
57A few more…Various geologists (1800s) estimated sedimentation & erosion rates and compared these to sediment thicknesses.Age : ~ 3 million to 1.5 billion yearsArthur Holmes (1900s) first to use Uranium decay techniques.Age of Earth: ~ 4 billion yearspЄ boundary: ~ 600 million
58Basic Atomic Structures Orbiting the nucleus are electrons, which are negative electrical charges.Atomic number is the number of protons in the atom’s nucleus.Mass number is the number of protons plus the number of neutrons in an atom’s nucleus
59ISOTOPES: Isotopes are atoms of an element that differ in their number of neutrons. protrons
60RADIOMETRIC DATINGRadioactivity is the spontaneous decay of certain unstable atomic nuclei.Radiometric dating provides an accurate way to estimate the age of fossils.Radiometric dating uses the decay of unstable isotopes.
61Radiometric DatingEach radioactive isotope has been decaying at a constant rate since the formation of the rocks in which it occurs.Radiometric dating is the procedure of calculating the absolute ages of rocks and minerals that contain radioactive isotopes
62Radiometric Dating Techniques Radioactive elements decay at constant rates.There are various decay processes. see chart →If we can measure: number of Parent & Daughter isotopes, and the decay rate, then we can calculate an age
63Radiometric DatingAs a radioactive isotope decays, atoms of the daughter product are formed and accumulate.Each radioactive isotope has its own unique half-life. A half-life is the time it takes for half of the parent radioactive element to decay to a daughter product.
64The key is the radioactive “Half Life” The idea is: Parents decay into DaughtersP radioactive → D stableThe rate of this decay is constant.A period of time exists during which ½ of the P isotopes will decay into D’s. This is called the half life, t ½ . Since the rate is constant, so is the t ½ .Isotopes used for geologic dating are called:“Geochronometer Isotopes”
65Okay, so does this work?Let’s not get too technical. What we do is use a radioactive isotope’s “half life”.If we know how long a half-life is, then all we need to do is measure the number of half-lives that have elapsed for a particular sample.
66An example would be nice… Okay. We measure P & D in a rock sample. The ratio of P:D is 1:3.Or…25% of P remainsLook at chart.25% P corresponds to 2 half lives.If a half life is 200,000 yrs, then this sample is:2 hl x 200,000 yr/hl400,000 years old“hl” – half life
67Radiometric dating uses decay of unstable isotopes. Isotopes are atoms of an element that differ in their number of neutrons.A half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the isotope to decay.
69What if there’s been 2.4 or 1/3 of t ½ ? Okay. In the “real world” of geochronology things can get a bit more tricky. We have equations that we use to calculate ages that don’t really use the t ½ approach…directly.Like: Age = 1/λ ln (D/P +1)This is good because we can then use statistics to evaluate the reliability of the age we’ve found. If an age passes the test, its called an isochron age. If it fails, then it’s called a errorchron, and isn’t used.
70Dating with Carbon-14Radiocarbon dating is the method for determining age by comparing the amount of carbon-14 to the amount of carbon-12 in a sample.When an organism dies, the amount of carbon-14 it contains gradually decreases as it decays. By comparing the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in a sample, radiocarbon dates can be determined.
72One last thing “Radiocarbon” dating is rarely used in geology. The t ½ of 14C is only 5730 yrs. After t ½’s it’s reliability becomes questionable.Also,14C is created in the atmosphere at uneven rates.14C decays into 12C leaving 14N behind…so the P/D ratio only tells you the “age since death” for living things. It is useless for rocks…but absolutely great for archaeologists, who use it as far back as ~ 50,000 yrsDon’t confuse radiocarbon with geologic dating!
73In practice, both relative and absolute dating are combined, following a procedure like this: Igneous rocks, such as lava flows, volcanic ash beds, and intrusions) are dated radiometrically. The dates of fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks are in a certain area are bracketed using the dates of associated igneous rocks which have been dated radiometrically. The fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks are correlated with sedimentary rocks in other areas which contain the same fossils. The age of the rocks in other areas is determined indirectly, from the ages of the fossils they contain..