esflogoESF LESC Exploratory workshop: EARTHTIME- The European Contribution

convened by Klaudia Kuiper, Dan Condon, Frits Hilgen,  Lucas Lourens, Urs Schaltegger and Jan Wijbrans

Name:  ESF Exploratory workshop:
EARTHTIME-The European Contribution

Location: Amsterdam

Date: 22-24 April 2007

Scope: invited, EU+ EARTHTIME                          Find the meeting report here: pdf_icon

Status: completed


The workshop was held from Sunday April 22 until Tuesday April 24, 2007 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 25 participants from 9 European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom) and 1 participant from the United States attended the meeting and discussed key issues related to geological time.

As time is a fundamental quantity in the Earth Sciences, geological time scales are critical for integrating geographically disparate records and determining rates of change. Techniques involved in time scale calibration are continuously developing and are approaching a position where precision exceeds accuracy. This limits the integration of time scale datasets generated through the application of different techniques and/or laboratories. At the same time, the scientific issues driving time scale calibration are becoming increasingly sophisticated (due mainly to the development of high resolution datasets from marine records recovered through ocean drilling programs) requiring unprecedented accuracy and precision.

This workshop brought together key researchers mainly based in Europe from different communities involved in time scale calibration techniques (primarily astronomical tuning and radioisotopic geochronology) to discuss key issues related to achieving the aims of (1) the intercalibration of techniques employed in geological time scale calibration, and (2) the application of these techniques to the rock record to provide the next generation of geological time scales for Cenozoic and Mesozoic systems.

The workshop has increased communication with and between the different communities and marked the start of a coordinated European effort to time scale calibration issues that will have widespread implications for the Earth and Astronomical Sciences. The outcome of the workshop is an agreement to work closely together and a strategy to form a network as the European contribution to the international EARTHTIME initiative by:

  • The development of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union (a proposal submitted May 7, 2007). This network – called GTSnext – will bring together known expertise in fundamentally different time scale calibration techniques spread throughout Europe for the first time. Communication and cooperation between the different communities will be enhanced and the combined expertise will be employed to train a new generation geochronologists fully capable of integrating state-of-the-art numerical dating techniques required for constructing the next generation of the Geological Time Scale.
  • A parallel application for an ESF Research Networking Program (RNP; call expected July 2007) to further broaden the community involvement and fully integrate Earth Science communities (magneto-, chemo-, bio-, sequence stratigraphy and IODP) that either contribute to the development of the Geological Time Scale and/or its application to understanding the Earth Sciences.
  • Organization of an international workshop in Europe through the ESF research conference scheme in 2013 focussing on the results of the ITN and RNP and consequent follow-up programmes.   Critical to the development of the next generation of geological time scales is the increased cooperation and communication between stratigraphers and chronologers. Our efforts will provide a basis for enhanced collaboration and breaking down barriers between the different communities.