October 22, 2012
Two groups of STRI scientists who hold different views on the age of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama will soon clash head-to-head
Two groups of STRI scientists who hold different views on the age of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama will soon clash head-to-head. Seven thousand geologists will come together in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 4 at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, where the age of the Isthmus of Panama will be the subject of a major symposium.
Carlos Jaramillo, with colleague Camilo Montes, will propose that geological evidence shows that the Isthmus closed 15 million years ago. STRI scientists Eldredge Bermingham, Tony Coates, Jeremy Jackson and Aaron O'Dea will present geological and molecular arguments that the Isthmus closed three million years ago.
This age difference is important to resolve because the formation of the Isthmus is thought to have established the modern ocean circulation, changed climate, influenced the formation of the Ice Age in the Northern Hemisphere, created the Gulf Stream, and differentiated the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific marine realms. Look out for fireworks and a lively argument as STRI scientists take the lead in this important debate.