Arctic biostratigraphic heterochroneity

Kent, Dennis V.; McKenna, Malcolm C.; Opdyke, Neil D.; Flynn, John J.; MacFadden, Bruce J.

Hickey et al. described the magnetic stratigraphy (not magnetic anomaly profile) and biostratigraphy of Upper Cretaceous and Lower Cenozoic sediments of the Eureka Sound Formation of arctic Canada and claimed that there is substantial heterochroneity of biostratigraphic units. Their conclusions, if correct, have great ramifications with respect to the correlation and evolution of the North American biota and to the underlying bases for biostratigraphy in general. Although the conclusions rest almost entirely on the magnetostratigraphy of the sediments in question, the data as presented cannot be assessed; indeed, the paleomagnetic work is essentially unpublished except in abstract (5). Nevertheless, the summary of numeric data leads us to believe that the magnetic stratigraphy is suspect and that the correlation of supposed magnetozones to the geomagnetic polarity time scale is very insecure.


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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
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June 29, 2015