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Geological Dating

 
 
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Author Assif
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 7 Oct 2013 17:38 | Edited by: Assif 
As you might have noticed, I have recently tried to supply the timeline connection for some natural sites with geological or paleontological significance.
I haven't managed to find the relevant information for all the sites for which such information would be relevant or valuable.
I would like to suggest the following list which could merit sonme further attempts:

Los Glaciares - iceberg (Perito Moreno)
Glacier Bay etc. - glaciers
Tai Shan - mountain
Huang Shan - mountain
Huanglong - limestone formations
Wulingyuan - sandstone pillars
Wuyi - mountain
Emei - mountain
South China Karst
Sanqing Shan - mountain
Tian Shan - mountains
Mount Nimba - mountain
Plitvice - lakes
Morne trois pitons - mountain
Simien - mountains
New Caledonia - reef
Aggtelek - caves
Saryarka - lakes
Bandiagara - cliffs
El Pinacate - mountain
Air and Tenere - Air mountains
Huascaran - mountain
Tubbataua - reef
Puerto Princesa - underground river
Pitons St. Lucia
Tajik NP - Pamir mountains
Pamukkale - spring
Rwenzori - mountains
Mt Kenya - mountain
Mt Athos - mountain
Subantarctic - islands
Gough - islands
Coiba - island
Phoenix - island
Rock - island
Malpelo - island
Rennell - reef
Aldabra - atoll

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 8 Oct 2013 03:33 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Yes, I had noticed and found it interesting/stimulating.

I had been wondering "who" was supplying the information and what it was based upon. I did some searches pairing the site and the period/era to see whether the 2 had been linked in academic papers etc but very few I tried were -so, I gather the pairing has largely been a matter of finding the date for the site and then matching this to the "era" it most closely straddles??

I wonder if the definition needs clarifying somewhat. I gave the Belize Barrier Reef a quick look - the reef is the culmination of a series of geological events across several (many?) periods/eras. There was the creation of the Limestone bedrock, its becoming "land" and being weathered with the cenotes which became the sinkholes such as the Blue hole and then finally the overwhelming of this land by sea (whether through sea rise or land drop) to create the Cays on the limestone ridges and finally the growing of Coral where the sea reached the appropriate depth/temperature etc. Is it the last of these which is the one to identify re the site's "Period"?? i.e just as we had to choose a date from among many possible ones for cultural sites as being the one which most significantly provided the OUV aspects - so also for the Geological sites?

This paper describes the processes which created Northern Belize from 3.5 million years ago to present - it appears that the reef as we see it today was created as recently as 3000 years ago -and the sea only came in 6500 years ago. So the Reef is Holocene?? Which is certainly a lot more "recent" than I would have "guessed" - but then I am no expert on Geology!
http://ambergriscaye.com/geology/

One technique for discovering the "history" of Natural sites is to Google the name of the site plus "Geology" - I did this for Srebarna Lake and got
https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFj AA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wetlanet.org%2Fdocuments%2Fbooks%2Fecosystems-of-the-biospher e-reserve-srebarna-lake%2Fdownload&ei=j8pTUpeOLqen0wXctYH4Bw&usg=AFQjCNFIrTDFzLddvLUe siDkjuBK4ihFhg&sig2=ocpwKltfXIsrNZJCyJIQOw&bvm=bv.53537100,d.d2k

It says - "At the beginning of the Holocene about 11000 BC right after the so called Flandrian Transgression the riverbed underwent significnat changes .......according to palinological research Lake Srebarna has been formed about 8000 years ago"

So - another Holocene - I would expect most geomorphological sites to be of this category

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 8 Oct 2013 06:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Plitvice - "They began to form in the Holocene, when the climate became warmer. "
http://www.wgsr.uw.edu.pl/pub/uploads/mcg04/12markowska.pdf

Aggtelek See various aspects here - http://www.vitezkurtosteam.hu/download/wh_hungary-slovakia-aggtelek-and-slovak-karst. pdf

The Karst landscape itself
"The present karst landscape has been developing intermittently since the late Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago"
and more specifically
"Relics of pre-Pleistocene karst over 2 million years old are very distinct in the Slovak Karst, many showing evidence of sub-tropical and tropical climatic forms, including relict tropical karst hills later modified by Pleistocene periglacial weathering"
But I guess the main aspect with the Caves is covered by this -
"Beginning some two million years ago, extensive and complex surface and underground erosion developed in this rock into classic forms of temperate climate karst. The resulting cave types, both fluvial and shaft, with 17 out of the 25 basic types of speleothems, and temperate zone karst features are not unusually spectacular but they are beautiful, exceptionally varied in form and concentrated in area"
But which "Age" within the Pleistocene "Epoch" should we use -all we have is a period of 2 million years?? I wonder if it is reasonable to "time stamp" every geological site to the level of detail of an "Age" rather than an "Epoch". some sites got created over a very long period.
(There seem to be different subdivisions of Geological time for different purposes. The Geochronological one being Eon - Era - Period - Epoch - Age. The words "System", "Series" and "Stage" are for Stratigraphy rather than purely time but the 2 systems seem to get used interchangeably which confuses matters!)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 11 Oct 2013 08:35 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Solivagant:
I wonder if the definition needs clarifying somewhat.


Is anyone going to engage on this issue? I think some of the connections being made are incorrect or are made on the wrong basis.

I look at Wrangel for instance – The age of the underlying rock has been used to put this in the Paleozoic period "Wrangel Island consists of folded, faulted, and metamorphosed volcanic, intrusive, and sedimentary rocks ranging in age from Upper Precambrian to Lower Mesozoic." (542 to 251 million years ago). But the natural landscape for which Wrangel was inscribed is clearly Holocene and/or Pleistocene and its underlying geology is almost irrelevant. It is inscribed for its "Natural systems" (Crit ii/iv) not its geology. The Nom File states "the largest contemporary refuges for Pleistocene floral and fauna elements"... "The plains in particular are abundant in the remnants of the Pleistocene and Holocene mammals"..."the latest separation of the island from the mainland took place about 10000 years ago." The famous Mammoth remains are Holocene.

My arguments relating to the Belize Barrier Reef above apply – surely it should be the aspects which led to inscription, not the underlying geology (except of course where this was a significant OUV factor) which should determine the time period of Ecological/ Geological/ Palaeontological sites?

I then look at Kilimanjaro. This has been ascribed to "Paleocene" (66-56 mya). Clearly a whole series of geological events took place on the African shield which eventually led to Kilimanjaro. So the full Wiki Fr quote used refers to a number of geological eras - "Au cours du Jurassique et du Crétacé, une érosion se met en place au niveau de la région correspondant à l'actuel Kilimandjaro. C'est alors un plateau composé de gneiss et de granulite datant du Précambrien. Le relief est progressivement aplani : des plaines se forment au nord et à l'est, des inselbergs apparaissent au nord-ouest et au sud-est, les alluvions cristallines sont évacuées vers le sud à partir du Paléocène......." But that description of the area hasn't even yet reached the creation of the Rift Valley (Whose Lakes have been "connected" as being Eocene) and of Kili. Indeed the important thing about Kilimanjaro is the late emergence within the Rift Valley setting – this was largely within the last 3 million years. Indeed the activity creating Kibo is believed to have occurred within the last 500k years – it and Mawenzi emerged from the earlier collapsed caldera of Shira. This link provides a short summary of the volcanism which created the mountain and its 3 peaks between 2.5 mya and 150kya http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00304458/ So it should surely be assigned to either Pliocene or Pleistocene, since those were the periods during which the volcano which was inscribed was actually created?

Next The Gt Smokies - Has been allocated to Palozoic on the basis of the laying down of the sediments then which created the sedimentary rocks. But the Smokies are not inscribed for their rocks/geology - they are inscribed for their ecosystem. The AB States "It was the major North American Pleistocene refuge for temperate flora and fauna" and ""Great Smoky Mountains National Park is of world importance as the outstanding example of of the diverse Arcto-Tertiary geoflora era, providing an indication of what the late Pleistocene flora looked like before recent human impacts (criteria i). It is large enough to be a significant example of continuing biological evolution of this natural system (criteria ii). ". So - late Pleistocene??

By the way Els – is it possible to sequence the eras/ages etc in ascending date order?

Author elsslots
Admin
#5 | Posted: 11 Oct 2013 11:31 
Solivagant:
Is anyone going to engage on this issue?

I don't feel competent enough to discuss. Maybe jonathanfr knows more about the subject?

Author Assif
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 11 Oct 2013 18:29 | Edited by: Assif 
Solivagant:
By the way Els – is it possible to sequence the eras/ages etc in ascending date order?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale#Condensed_graphical_timelines

Thanks for your discussion Solivagant. When I came up with most suggestions I tried to come up with the significant geological era, regardless of whether the site was inscribed for its geological features or not. While this does supply some information regarding the site I concur it is not the most appropriate assignment of a timeline connection, so indeed further scrutiny for each of the assignments is surely worthwhile.
Best would probably be a case by case discussion.

Solivagant:
But which "Age" within the Pleistocene "Epoch" should we use -all we have is a period of 2 million years?? I wonder if it is reasonable to "time stamp" every geological site to the level of detail of an "Age" rather than an "Epoch". some sites got created over a very long period.


I guess this situation is akin to that of cities which developed over centuries, yet we did try to assign a single, or in some cases a few, centuries which are the most significant ones for the site's OUV. I think this should be the key for the assignment of natural sites to a timeline stamp as well.
In general, the closer we come to our times the more diversified the timeline segmentation becomes. I think it makes sense and this is also the direction pointed at by the geological terminology in use.
Furthermore, most sites are younger and if we assign them Pleistocene, rather than Tarantian Stage (or Age), we run into the danger of giving too little information about the site, something like lumping all sites from 0-1000 together to a "Built in the first millenium" connection.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 02:04 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Assif:
something like lumping all sites from 0-1000 together to a "Built in the first millenium" connection.

I support the objective but just wonder how practical it is. The Geological/Stratigraphic articles I have been looking at tend wither not to mention an "age" or to write things like " Late xxxx to Early yyy"!

Another way might be still to keep "Pleistocene" as the "mega-connection" but try to put an "age" in the text where determinable? Which is the better approach - spurious accuracy or truthful inaccuracy?!

Out of interest before I lose it (again!!) here is a list of ALL ages across the last 635 myrs. I know it isn't being suggested that we go back further than the Pleistocene ages but it may still be of interest to note all the places around the world which have given their names to ""ages", "epochs" and "periods". The sources of many of them are not self evident
http://basementgeographer.com/the-geography-of-the-geologic-time-scale/ (Scroll down for list - the Web site in general seems quite nice "find" for those of us interested in Geography!))

Author elsslots
Admin
#8 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 02:48 | Edited by: elsslots 
Let's start with the order we want to have them. Now I have:

Proterozoic (1)
Paleozoic (8)
Paleocene (1)
Eocene (6)
Oligocene (3)
Miocene (4)
Mesozoic (10)
Pliocene (5)
Gelasian stage (4)
Calabrian stage (2)
Ionian stage (13)
Tarantian stage (15)

Missing is the Mezozoic era, which can be split in the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods. As those are reasonably well known names, I'll use these.

At that point we go from era to period. and then starting at Cenozoic we zoom in a bit more from period to epoch. Because we will have a lot of Pleistocene, we can further zoom from epoch to age. I have no problems with this "zooming order".

So the final order will be:
Proterozoic (1)
Paleozoic (8)
Triassic (0)
Jurassic (0)
Cretaceous (0)
Paleocene (1)
Eocene (6)
Oligocene (3)
Miocene (4)
Mesozoic (10)
Pliocene (5)
Gelasian stage (4)
Calabrian stage (2)
Ionian stage (13)
Tarantian stage (15)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 02:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Plus Holocene as the most recent? For e.g Beliize Reef and Srebarna.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:13 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Lena Pillars provides an interesting example. The Nomination file has a very comprehensive Geological section!!

a. There is no doubt that the bedrock layering is, as currently assigned - Paleozoic. Primarily Cambrian with late examples from the previous era and later ones too. Using the sort of "model" we used for assigning time periods for cultural sites i.e choosing the most significant this is a reasonable assignment
b. The "Pillars" themselves however and many of the other aspects which are described as making the site "special" have been created as a result of much more recent Karst processes acting on the much earlier bedrock. The Nom file states "Lena Pillars were formed some 400000 years ago" and "by now the Siberian platform is lifted by 200m owing to tectonic movements causing the deep incision of the Lean river and the increase of Karst process activity" The clearest assignemnt of a period to this activity is "The Pillars began to emerge during the Neo-Pleistocene" -but i am not quite sure what "Age" this is??

So the UNESCO Web site summary page states
"The Lena Pillars Nature Park displays two features of significant international interest in relation to the Earth sciences. The large cryogenically modified pillars in the region are the most notable pillar landscape of their kind known, whilst the internationally renowned and important exposures of Cambrian rocks tell us key stories about our planet and the early evolution of life during the entire Cambrian Explosion, and the story of the emergence of the frozen ground karst phenomenon."

Is this perhaps analogous to some cultural sites e.g Oaxaca/Monte Alban in justifying 2 periods?
The Exposed Cambrian rocks reperesent 1 important period and the Karst ersoosion another. Lots of other "periods" have some "representation" also but these 2 periods capture the essence of what Lena Pillars is about -without the Cambrian period there would be no rocks - but without the events starting 500k yrs ago (and continuing since) there would be no pillars etc.

Author Assif
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 04:36 
Solivagant:
Is this perhaps analogous to some cultural sites e.g Oaxaca/Monte Alban in justifying 2 periods?

I would agree two timeline assignments will be in place. By the way, we have already got such assignments also for natural sites: Australian Mammal Sites and Lake Turkana.

elsslots:
Missing is the Mezozoic era, which can be split in the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods.

It's the MeSozoic era, and we do have it with currently 10 connections. The mistake probably stems from my spelling mistakes in the mails to Els...

Solivagant:
Plus Holocene as the most recent? For e.g Beliize Reef and Srebarna.

Holocene starts roughly 12,000 years ago, which are 10th millenia BC. Then we already start counting millenia untill 3,000 ago, when we start counting centuries. This is also in line with the zooming order as pointed out by Els.

Here again the proposed chronological order:

Proterozoic: 2.5 billion - 0.54 billion years BP
Palaeozoic: 541 million - 252 million years BP
Triassic: 252 million - 201 million years BP
Jurassic: 201 million - 145 million years BP
Cretaceous: 145 million - 66 million years BP
Palaeocene: 66 miilion - 56 million years BP
Eocene: 56 million - 34 million years BP
Oligocene: 34 million - 23 million years BP
Miocene: 23 million - 5.3 million years BP
Pliocene: 5.3 million - 2.6 million years BP
Gelasian: 2.6 million - 1.8 million years BP
Calabrian: 1.8 million - 800,000 years BP
Middle Pleistocene (formerly Ionian): 800,000 - 120,000 years BP
Late Pleistocene (formerly Tarantian): 120,000 - 12,000 years BP
10th millenium BC
9th millenium BC
8th millenium BC

etc.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 05:15 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Assif:
Holocene starts roughly 12,000 years ago, which are 10th millenia BC


Might it not be better to maintain Holocene as a separate period (fit it in before the individual millenia0 rather than trying to assign discrete millenia to "natural" events which took place over a much longer period? Has the advantage of not mixing cultural and Natural aspects (Though I suppose one might say that is a disadvantage!!).

It occurs to me that most/many natural sites are going to possess a "geological deposition" period (or several!) plus a different "recent" geomorphological period -the latter creating largely what we see today. Whether we include the first, the second or both will depend on how significant they each are for the OUV. But it could be fairly common to have both as for Lena Pillars? I think of the Jurassic coast in UK which is "valuable both for its depositions and for its more recent cliffs/arches/coves/tombolos etc? But for e.g Srebarna its underlying geology is of little interest compared with its recent creation. The Belize Barrier Reef is also mainly of importance for the Reef creation rather than for the original limestone deposition -even though, without that deposition, the site wouldn't exist as we see it today.

Author jonathanfr
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 05:59 
A good reference for determining each geological era: the official World Heritage Review, No. 52, pages 50-51.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/review/52/

Author elsslots
Admin
#14 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 06:11 
jonathanfr:
A good reference for determining each geological era: the official World Heritage Review, No. 52, pages 50-51.

jonathan e-mailed me the scans of these pages:

http://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/img064.jpg
http://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/img065.jpg

Author Assif
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 12 Oct 2013 09:01 | Edited by: Assif 
Again the list of the still missing assignments. I am also adding assignments I think are spurious and need revising.

Los Glaciares - iceberg (Perito Moreno)
Glacier Bay etc. - glaciers
Tai Shan - mountain
Huang Shan - mountain
Huanglong - limestone formations
Wulingyuan - sandstone pillars
Wuyi - mountain
Emei - mountain
South China Karst
Sanqing Shan - mountain
Mount Nimba - mountain
Morne trois pitons - mountain
Simien - mountains
New Caledonia - reef
Bandiagara - cliffs
El Pinacate - mountain
Air and Tenere - Air mountains
Huascaran - mountain
Tubbataua - reef
Puerto Princesa - underground river
Pitons St. Lucia
Tajik NP - Pamir mountains
Pamukkale - spring
Rwenzori - mountains
Mt Kenya - mountain
Mt Athos - mountain
Subantarctic - islands
Gough - islands
Coiba - island
Phoenix - island
Rock - island
Malpelo - island
Rennell - reef
Dolomites
Goereme
Maloti
Skocjan
Meteora
Giant Causeway

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