The Neogene: Part 2: Neogene geochronology and chronostratigraphy

Berggren, William A.; Kent, Dennis V.; Van Couvering, John A.

We present a revised Neogene geochronology based upon a best fit to selected high temperature radiometric dates on a number of identified magnetic polarity chrons (within the late Cretaceous, Paleogene, and Neogene) which minimizes apparent accelerations in sea-floor spreading. An assessment of first order correlations of calcareous plankton biostratigraphic datum events to magnetic polarity stratigraphy yields the following estimated magnetobiochronology of major chronostratigraphic boundaries: Oligocene/Miocene (Chron C6CN): 23.7 Ma; Miocene/Pliocene (slightly younger than Gilbert/Chron 5 boundary): 5.3 Ma; Pliocene/Pleistocene (slightly younger than Olduvai Subchron): 1.6 Ma. Changes to the marine time-scale are relatively minor in terms of recent and current usage except in the interval of the middle Miocene where new DSDP data reveal that previous correlations of magnetic anomalies 5 and 5A to magnetic polarity Chrons 9 and 11, respectively, are incorrect. Our revized magnetobiostratigraphic correlations result in a 1.5-2 m.y. shift towards younger magnetobiochronologic age estimate in the middle Miocene. Radiometric dates correlated to bio- and magnetostratigraphy in continental section generally support the revized marine magnetobiochronology presented here. Major changes, however, are made in marine-non-marine correlations in the Miocene in Eurasia which indicate African-Eurasian migrations through the Persian Gulf as early as 20 Ma. The 12.5 Ma estimate of the Hipparion datum is supported by recent taxonomic revisions of the hipparions and magnetobiostratigraphic correlations which show that primitive hipparions first arrived in Eurasia and North Africa at c. 12.5 Ma and a second wave in the tropics (i.e. Indian and central Africa) at c. 10 Ma.


Also Published In

The Chronology of the Geological Record
Geological Society

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Geological Society Memoirs, 10
Published Here
January 17, 2012