Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Speaking the Same Geological Language: Golden Spikes at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

GUMO Superintendent Dennis Vasquez,
GUMO Geologist Dr Jonena Hearst,
Dr Charles Henderson, Dr Shuzhong Shen after installing
Capitanian GSSP marker on Nipple Hill, May 2013
Geologists all over the world work with rock that helps us understand in the timing of events in earth history.  To help geologist "use the same language" worldwide, they rely on standards and definitions to name geological stages so the same unit or formation would mean the same thing to everyone, no matter where they are. 

Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs)--also called Golden Spikes--are established by consensus within the international geological community...recently three points were established in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. 

 These sections and points allow geologists to correlate rocks and fossils from one locality to another across continents and oceans, giving geologists a common reference and vocabulary for discussing local, regional, and global events in geology and paleontology.”
Guadalupe Mountains National Park has been recognized by the Subcommission on Permian Stratigraphy of the International Union of Geological Sciences with the placement of plaques marking the park's three Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs). Dr. Shuzhong Shen, current Chair of the Subcommission, Dr. Charles M. Henderson, past Chair of the Subcommission, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park geologist Dr. Jonena Hearst placed the bronze markers in the park this past Spring.

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