Palynology dating techniques
The age of the Rhynie chert and it's associated sediments has been calculated by combining two analytical methods: absolute dating and biostratigraphy.
Absolute dates for rocks are calculated by examining radioactive isotopes of certain elements in a mineral that take millions of years to 'decay' to a more stable isotope.
The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.
These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.
This opens a window for establishing an independent chronostratigraphic framework for Paleogene terrestrial records and their correlation to the marine realm.
Furthermore, the study reveals that higher amounts of pollen from “wet” and thermophilous plants indicate less seasonal and more balanced precipitation and slightly higher temperatures during a well-expressed eccentricity minimum.
Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.
They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.
Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.
This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.
These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.
The results of the zircon and titanite dating are currently being compiled by Stephen Parry and other authors, and will be added here after their publication in the scientific literature.
With the Rhynie sediments, the other main criterion for dating (or 'relative dating') has been the use of biostratigraphy, primarily using palynology, which includes the study of fossil spores and pollen.