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Paleomagnetism as a means of dating geological events

paleomagnetism as a means of dating geological events-19

To date, there are five recognised mass extinction events, with the most popularised being the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that ended the life of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.Some 200 million years ago, another significant mass extinction event occurred at the end of the Triassic.

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This relative age aids in configuring the timeline and occurrence of the end-Triassic mass extinction event and Early Jurassic post-extinction recovery in the Southern Hemisphere.Significantly, this new evidence highlights the importance of the southern African Elliot Formation in global research.In so doing, it may bring into question the amplitude of the end-Triassic mass extinction on land.To record and study a biotic crisis, a rock package must have two important components.The first is an abundant and diverse range of fossils to observe biodiversity changes.In trying to understand these far-removed biological events, scientists can get insight into how we perceive and recognise the current sixth (Holocene/Anthropocene) extinction.

Presenting the research This innovative Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic magnetic barcode was developed during Dr Lara Sciscio’s Ph D research.

The second is a means of dating these fossils to provide a timeline.

Luckily, the Elliot Formation ticks one of these boxes.

This is an informational tour in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth’s history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.

An innovative Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic magnetic barcode developed during the Ph D research of Dr Lara Sciscio, of UCT’s Department of Geological Sciences, provides a relative age that aids in configuring the timeline and occurrence of the end-Triassic mass extinction event and Early Jurassic post-extinction recovery in the Southern Hemisphere.

These same iron oxides provide a unique way to date the rocks as they have the ability to retain a magnetic signature.