Sediment systems, Past Life and Deep Time

Fission tracks in apatite

Sedimentary rocks, and the fossil record preserved therein, represent a terrific archive of the evolution of Life and the exogenic Earth system, past climates included. Both sediments and fossils do bear time significance, and are they have been crucial in discovering the “deep time” of the Earth and in constructing the present Geologic Time Scale (GTS).

Albeit Paleontology and Stratigraphy are commonly reckoned as independent disciplines, a “modern” approach requires tight integration and collaboration with other specialists. For example, knowledge on the evolution of past climates and ocean systems is mandatory for interpreting many aspects of rock strata, as well as the mode and tempo of organic evolution. 

Upper Triassic sediments of the Dolomites                                                                                                                                                  Upper Triassic conodonts from Sicily

Not surprisingly, collaboration between palaeontologists and stratigraphers of the DG and many specialists of other institutions, especially magnetostratigraphers and stable isotope geochemists, is very strong.

The related scientific results are often largely interdisciplinary and address multiple issues, so that is difficult to establish precise disciplinary boundary in most of the papers co-authored by researchers of the DG.

For the sake of simplicity, our current researches can be summarized into four projects lines:

  • Regional geology and basin analysis (contact: Cristina Stefani);
  • Investigating past life (contact: Paolo Mietto);
  • Geological time (contact: Domenico Rio);
  • Past climate (contact: Luca Capraro).