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Chapter

ANTH-UA 2 Chapter Notes -Lithostratigraphy, Relative Dating, Radiometric Dating


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH-UA 2
Professor
Richard Bailey

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paleontology - the study of extinct organisms, based on their fossilized remains
fossils - the preserved remnants of once-living things, often buried in the ground
geology - the study of earth systems
taphonomy - the study of what happens to the remains of an animal from the time of
death to the time of discovery
strata - layers of rock
stratigraphy - the study of the order of rock layers and the sequence of events they
reflect
geologic time scale (GTS) - the categories of time into which Earth’s history is usually
divided by geologists and paleontologists: eras, periods, epochs
provenience - the origin or original source (as of a fossil)
relative dating techniques - dating techniques that establish the age of a fossil only in
comparison to other materials found above and below it
lithostratigraphy - the study of geologic deposits and their formation, stratigraphic
relationships, and relative time relationships based on their lithologic properties
tephrostratigraphy - a form of lithostratigraphy in which the chemical fingerprint of a
volcanic ash is used to correlate across regions
biostratigraphy - relative dating technique using comparison of fossils from different
stratigraphic sequences to estimate which layers are older and which are younger
calibrated relative dating techniques - techniques that use regular or somewhat regular
processes that can be correlated to an absolute chronology to estimate the age of a site
geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS) - time scale composed of the sequence of
paleomagnetic orientations of strata through time
paleomagnetism - the magnetic polarity recorded in ancient sediments; reversed or
normal direction is used to correlate with the geomagnetic polarity time scale to infer an
age for a site
chronometric dating techniques - techniques that estimate the age of an object in
absolute terms through the use of a natural clock such as radioactive decay or tree ring
growth
half-life - the time it takes for half of the original amount of an unstable isotope to decay
into more stable forms
potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating - radiometric technique using the decay of 40K to 40Ar in
potassium-bearing rocks; estimates the age of sediments in which fossils are found
argon/argon (40Ar/39Ar) dating - radiometric technique modified from K-Ar that measures
40K by proxy using 39Ar; allows measurement of smaller samples with less error
fission track dating - radiometric technique for dating noncrystalline materials using the
decay of 328Ur and counting the tracks that are produced by this fission; estimates the
age of sediments in which fossils are found
Cosmogenic radionucleotide techniques - radiometric dating technique that uses ratios
of rare isotopes such as 26A, 10Be, and 3He to estimate the time that sediments and the
fossils in them have been buried
uranium series (U-series) techniques - radiometric techniques using the decay of
uranium to estimate an age for calcium carbonates including flowstones, shells, and
teeth
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