Climate in Earth History (Studies in Geophysics) by W. Berger

By W. Berger

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Sample text

This pragmatic bias reflects the real differences between the depositional resolution of useful inorganic records and useful organic records. The difference in the resolution between inorganic and organic records, illustrated on our conceptual diagram (Fig. 2), can be demonstrated by comparing age distributions of bioclasts and detrital inorganic grains. , 1999), for which temporal mixing commonly exceeds a billion years. The comparison of agedistributions derived for bioclasts (Fig. 6a) and zircon grains (Fig.

The Limits of Paleontological Resolution 39 Thus, the two types of resolution are comparable in scale and must be considered jointly when evaluating the resolution of a given fossil record. 2. Depositional and stratigraphic resolution are partly dependent (as they share some controlling factors), and thus, are expected to often correlate with one another: records poorly resolved stratigraphically (separated by long diastems) tend to display high levels of temporal mixing. , some controlling factors are unique) and both may place limits on the resolution of paleontological data.

Depositional completeness can be high, but data are insufficient at this point to evaluate what is the finest resolution level at which typical samples from the fossil record are complete (continuous). 6. Spatial mixing by lateral post-mortem transport may occur, but is not substantial for common marine benthic macrofossils and even microfossils such as foraminifers appear to have good spatial fidelity. 7. Factors controlling depositional resolution include intrinsic characteristics of organisms (type of skeleton, abundance, habitat, biogeography), direct extrinsic factors of depositional environments (sedimentation rates, bioturbation intensity, and abiotic and biotic taphonomic agents), and indirect taphonomic agents (subsidence rate/tectonic setting, sea-level history).

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