The Geological Time-Scale

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RECENTLY Dr. K. I. Mayne, Dr. R. St. J. Lambert and D. York1 proposed an extended geological time-scale which would place the middle of the Upper Cambrian at about 650 million years ago compared with 450 million years of the Holmes scale2. Their scale is based primarily on the ages they obtained by the potassium–argon method on biotite from several British granites ; however, they cite many other age measurements for secondary support. It is the purpose of this communication to point out that most of the cases cited are either incorrect or not definitive to the argument. In addition, both they1,3 and Prof. C. F. Davidson3 refer at some length to our as yet unpublished isotopic study of the Swedish kolm. These comments contain errors of fact and interpretation which will be clarified by the full report which will appear elsewhere ; but in view of the widespread misconception concerning this interesting material some discussion appears needed at this time. The British granites referred to above are being remeasured in this laboratory and results will be reported later.

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    Mayne, K. I., Lambert, R. St. J., and York, D., Nature, 183, 212 (1959).

  2. 2

    Holmes, A., Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow, 21, 117 (1947).

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    Davidson, C. F., Nature, 183, 768 (1959). Mayne, K. I., Lambert, R. St. J., and York, D., Nature, 183, 769 (1959).

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    Kulp, J. L., and Long, L. E., Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 39, 522 (1958).

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    Long, L. E., Kulp, J. L., and Eckelmann, F. D., Amer. J. Sci. (in the press).

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    Cobb, J. C., and Kulp, J. L. (to be submitted to Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta).

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KULP, J., COBB, J., LONG, L. et al. The Geological Time-Scale. Nature 184, BA62–BA63 (1959) doi:10.1038/184062a0b

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