Combining cosmogenic, stratigraphic, and paleomagnetic information using a Bayesian approach: General results and an application to Sterkfontein

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters 243,3-4 (2006) 400-408;


In geochronology it is increasingly common to apply several methods to a set of samples. The task then arises of combining different types of data, with perhaps qualitatively different types of uncertainty, into a coherent age estimate which makes optimum use of the available information. In this paper we discuss a method which uses Bayesian reasoning to combine radiometric, stratigraphic, and paleomagnetic information when dating sediment layers. After presenting a general formulation, we derive an analytic formula for the probability distribution of the age of a sediment layer. We then apply this methodology to refine previous cosmogenic nuclide burial dating results for the age of a sediment layer containing a hominin fossil at Sterkfontein, South Africa. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


bayesian statistics;; cosmogenic nuclides;; burial dating;; paleomagnetism;; geochronology;; inference;; dates

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