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Most geological 'golden nails' found in China

2011-08-18 15:08    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Xu Rui

Nanjing (CNS) -- The Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology (NIGPAS) in the China Academy of Sciences (CAS), has successfully discovered a "golden nail" in Jiangshan, Zhejiang Province after eight years of research. So far, 10 of all 64 worldwide golden nails have been located in China, marking a remarkable achievement for Chinese geologists.

"A golden nail,"just like a year, a month, and a day, as explained by researcher Peng Shanchi at NIGPAS, is functioning as the fundamental measurement to record the significant activities of all eras the earth has gone through, in the roughly 4.6 billion years.

"For instance, the history of the earth can be divided into 100 eras, and the golden nail is the starting point of every era. The current finding of 64 golden nails implies that the timeframes of 64 eras have been fixed, so that the unique organisms and geological activities can be placed in order."

Fossils are the greatest contributor to establishing golden nails. Some of the widely-existing living organisms only appeared on earth within a limited period of time, which makes it the exact symbol of the specific stratum.

As long as the geologists find the earliest time such fossils formed on a geological section, a golden nail is positioned to partition the upper and lower stratums.

"The golden nail of the Cambrian, for example, was confirmed with the finding of Agnostida. This creature, differing from other shoal water creatures in a certain area, was located all over the world. No larger than 2 cm, some even only 4 to 5 mm, the Agnostida were saprophagous animals floating on ocean currents and were highly fertile," explained Peng.

"The toughness to find an ideal standard geological section and an ideal spot requires huge efforts of several years, sometimes even several generations of geologists."

"More than this, more pressure comes from fierce international competition, several rounds of International Commission on Stratigraphy discussions, and the final decision from the International Union of Geological Sciences."

The ten golden nails in China were found in Zhejiang, Hunan, Guangxi, and Hubei provinces.