Recent studies using the extent of racemization of amino acids to date fossil mollusc shells in the Arctic1, the British Isles2 and on the Atlantic3,4 and Pacific5-13 coasts of North America have relied mainly on theoretical kinetic models of racemization. Ages generated in this fashion are highly model dependent and require estimates of integrated long-term diagenetic temperatures. We present here an alternative, empirical approach to aminostratigraphy in which we plot amino acid enantiomeric ratios versus latitude (for localities along the Pacific coast of the United States), and generate isochronal correlations by connecting data points of geographically proximal localities that have similar D:L ratios and zoogeographic aspect. Isochrons are calibrated at a few localities by independent radiometric dates. The diagenetic temperature effect on racemization is reflected in the slope of the isochrons, but the need to quantify temperature is eliminated. ?? 1982 Nature Publishing Group.
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Aminostratigraphy and faunal correlations of late Quaternary marine terraces, Pacific Coast, USA