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Technological advances in mass spectrometry, such as the widespread availability of multi-collector instruments, are ever increasing the precision of the isotopic data that form the basis of the chronostratigraphic timescale.
A plethora of mathematical-statistical techniques are available to extract chronological constraints from these isotopic measurements.
Cumulative age distributions (CADs) and kernel density estimates (KDEs) show the frequency distribution of the age measurements but do not explicitly take into account the analytical uncertainties.
The radial plot is introduced as a more appropriate data visualisation tool for ‘heteroscedastic’ data (i.e. The radial plot provides a good vehicle to assess the dispersion of multi-aliquot datasets.
For synchronously acquired isotopic data, such as Ar-data measured by noble gas mass spectrometry or U-Pb data measured by laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LAICPMS), this is achieved using redundant ratios.
For example, in the case of ]) are based on the same number of data points.
Section 8 discusses three further methods to visualise multi-aliquot collections of ages.
Geology is, in essence, a historical science in which timing is of the utmost importance.
Geochronology underpins the study of Earth history and puts fundamental constraints on the rate of biological evolution (Chen and Benton, 2012; Gradstein et al., 2012).
Section 3 presents three fundamental types of input format that are used by currently implements three different types of error weighted linear regression algorithms that account for error correlations between variables and between aliquots in two or three dimensions.
Section 5 explains how these three methods represent different approaches of dealing with overdispersion.
Overdispersed datasets require further processing with continuous or discrete mixture models that are discussed in Section 9.