Conodonts are microfossils which are commonly found in marine rocks of Cambrian to Triassic age. Although their biological affinities are difficult to assess, conodonts are valuable stratigraphical indices for much of their geological range1. Recent work has also established that conodont colour alteration indices (CAI) are useful guides to diagenetic temperatures and hence burial depth2. Fission tracks3 in conodonts allow measurement of uranium concentrations and estimates of 'age' to be made using isotopic methods4. We report here that fission tracks counted in irradiated, thermally unaltered (as indicated by CAI) middle Palaeozoic conodonts indicate typical uranium concentrations of ???1 part in 10 9, with some samples higher. A single specimen of Siphonodella from the Lower Mississippian yielded an age estimate of 380??140 Myr consistent with conventional interpolations. This method may also allow the unroofing of deeply buried sediments to be dated. ?? 1980 Nature Publishing Group.
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Radiometric dating of sediments using fission tracks in conodonts