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re:FAQ (Cenozoic names)



>
>I notes the use of the terms 'Tertiary' and 'Quaternary' which are
>sub-eras that stratigraphers are trying not to use anymore.  The reason
>being that they represent an early attempt at stratigraphic
>classification which also included the 'Primary' and 'Secondary' that
>are now obsolete.  Modern stratigraphers are now using the terms only
>loosely.  The 'Tertiary' is now split into two periods: the Palaeogene
>Period (65-23.3MYBP) and the Neogene Period (23.3-1.64MYBP).  The
>'Quaternary' is now referred to as the Pleistogene Period
>(1.64-present).
>

Unfortunately, the US Geological Survey and other major North American
geological bodies still prefer the Tertiary and Quaternary in formal
stratigraphy.  Personally, I think the Cenozoic should be divided into the
Paleogene and Neogene, with the Pleistocene and Holocene (which together
make the traditional Quaternary) as the two most recent epochs of the
Neogene.
                                     

                                
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile
U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092

email:  tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov 
Phone:  703-648-5280
FAX:            703-648-5420