Single-Grain 40Ar-39Ar Ages of Glauconies: Implications for the Geologic Time Scale and Global Sea Level Variations

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Science  06 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5356, pp. 1517-1519
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5356.1517

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The mineral series glaucony supplies 40% of the absolute-age database for the geologic time scale of the last 250 million years. However, glauconies have long been suspected of giving young potassium-argon ages on bulk samples. Laser-probe argon-argon dating shows that glaucony populations comprise grains with a wide range of ages, suggesting a period of genesis several times longer (∼5 million years) than previously thought. An estimate of the age of their enclosing sediments (and therefore of time scale boundaries) is given by the oldest nonrelict grains in the glaucony populations, whereas the formation times of the younger grains appear to be modulated by global sea level.

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