Toward a Revised Paleogene Geochronology

Berggren, William A.; Kent, Dennis V.; Obradovich, John D.; Swisher, Carl C.

New information has become available that requires a revision of Paleogene chronology incorporated in most current Cenozoic time scales. Age estimates for the limits of the Paleogene (the Oligocene/Miocene and Cretaceous/Paleogene boundaries) have not changed appreciably and remain at about 24 Ma and about 66 Ma, respectively. However, new radioisotope data indicate that boundaries of subdivisions within the Paleogene are generally younger than previously estimated, for example, the Paleocene/Eocene and Eocene/Oligocene, by about 2 to 3 m.y. We review the current status of magnetobiostratigraphic correlations and new radioisotope data, with particular reference to late Eocene~early Oligocene geochronology and provide a reassessment of the age of the Eocene/Oligocene boundary as 34 Ma. We anticipate that with concurrent work on a fundamental revision of the geomagnetic polarity sequence, a comprehensive and detailed new time scale for the Cenozoic will soon be developed.


Also Published In

Eocene-Oligocene Climatic and Biotic Evolution
Princeton University Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
January 30, 2012