EARTHTIME III: Probing the Limits of Temporal Resolution in the Geological Record

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Purpose: Considerable progress has been made in the past year towards the understanding, quantification, and elimination of inter-technique and inter-laboratory biases in high precision U-Pb and Ar-Ar geochronology. There has also been an increase in the numbers of studies and publications involving high-precision geochronological and stratigraphic studies as well as the application of other chronometers such as Re-Os, Lu-Hf, and U-Pb in carbonates. We are also looking forward to GSA in October where there will be a Paleontological Society Shortcourse on Geochronology and Evolutionary rates, and an EARTHTIME Topical Session. While much progress can be made by individual groups towards the goals of EARTHTIME, it is clear that a focused effort on one to a few intervals of earth history that contain abundant ash beds, fossils, records of changes in climate/ocean chemistry, and cyclostratigraphy would be an excellent proof-of-concept and will serve as a test of our ability to solve problems using a community based approach. We feel that such a well organized and articulated project is a critical step in pushing EARTHTIME forward and will encourage greater participation and appreciation of our goals.

What do we hope to accomplish? We hope to re-affirm the power of an integrated approach to solving problems in earth history that involves unselfish cooperation between large numbers of scientists. The first step should be the establishment of a number of working groups as originally articulated at EARTHTIME I and II on the ET website. These informal groups should foster integrative, international cooperation on key intervals of time. As always, the focus should be on time-intervals where there are compelling paleobiological and/or paleoenvironmental questions that can best be resolved by the integrative high-resolution approach of the EARTHTIME project. A number of possibilities, focused on key intervals have been discussed and include the terminal Proterozoic, Early Cambrian, the Ordovician, Carboniferous, Permo/Triassic transition, and the Cretaceous.

What do we need? We will seek a short list of intervals of earth history that are amenable to a focused effort involving a truly collaborative group of geochronologists, paleontologists, and stratigraphers. This means that participants must be willing to share samples and mineral separates, techniques, and data. One or more of the chosen intervals should be amenable to dating by multiple techniques.

What should you be prepared to do? Please come prepared to propose and discuss particular target intervals and you may include a few Powerpoint slides to make your points.

Format of the meeting: We will open the meeting with a discussion of goals and objectives of the EARTHTIME project, followed by a general discussion of the criteria that we should use to identify candidate time intervals for a proof-of-concept project. We then hope for presentations or discussions of particular candidate time intervals. There will be ample time for breakout groups to further explore the potential of some of these intervals. We also wish to have a discussion of archival options for geochronological data as well as integration with paleobiological and stratigraphic data. At the conclusion of the meeting we hope to have narrowed the choices to no more than three for the large-scale proof-of- concept but anticipate that new collaborations and projects focused around working groups will develop.

If you have any suggestions with respect to the agenda please communicate them directly to or


Sunday September 10

6:00 – 8:00 PM Welcome Reception, Hacienda Lounge, Hotel Santa Fe

Monday September 11

8:00 Shuttle from Hotel Santa Fe

8:15 Continental Breakfast

9:00 Plenary Session

                  	*     Objectives
                  	*     Comments by Rich Lane (US-NSF)
                  	*     General Discussion of criteria for selecting target intervals
                  	*     General Discussion/Presentations on possible target intervals

10:45 Mid Morning Break

12:30 Light Buffet Luncheon

1:30 Working Group Afternoon Session

                           *  Breakout sessions  
3:00                 Mid Afternoon Break

5:30-6:30 Beverage Reception - SFI

6:30-8:30 Informal Buffet Dinner - SFI

8:30 Shuttle bus back to Hotel Santa Fe

Tuesday September 11

8:00 Shuttle from Hotel Santa Fe

8:15 Continental Breakfast

9:00 Plenary Session

* Discussion of 5-10 possible intervals with goal of narrowing them down to four or less

* Detailed discussion of the way forward and task assignment

10:45 Mid Morning Break

12:30 Light Buffet Luncheon

1:30 Afternoon Session

* General discussion of EARTHTIME goals and progress to date

5:00 Conclusion