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This is a geochronolgy time spiral. Credit: United States Geological Survey.

Geochronology/Paleozoic is the science of applying dates in the past to Paleozoic rocks. In many situations fossils and artifacts may yield dates applicable to the rocks they occur in.

Notations[edit | edit source]


  1. ALMA represent the Asian Land Mammal Age,
  2. b2k represent before AD 2000,
  3. BP represent before present, as the chart is for 2008, this may require an added -8 for b2k,
  4. ELMMZ represent the European Land Mammal Mega Zone,
  5. FAD represent first appearance datum,
  6. FO represent first occurrence,
  7. Ga represent Gegaannum, billion years ago, or -109 b2k,
  8. GICC05 represent Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005,
  9. GRIP represent Greenland Ice Core Project,
  10. GSSP represent Global Stratotype Section and Point,
  11. HO represent highest occurrence,
  12. ICS represent the International Commission on Stratigraphy,
  13. IUGS represent the International Union of Geological Sciences,
  14. LAD represent last appearance datum,
  15. LO represent lowest occurrence,
  16. Ma represent Megaannum, million years ago, or -106 b2k,
  17. NALMA represent the North American Land Mammal Age,
  18. NGRIP represent North Greenland Ice Core Project, and
  19. SALMA represent South American Land Mammal Age.

"The term b2 k [b2k] refers to the ice-core zero age of AD 2000; note that this is 50 years different from the zero yr for radiocarbon, which is AD 1950 [...]."[1]

Chronostratigraphy[edit | edit source]

This is an International Chronostratigraphic Chart. Credit: K.M. Cohen, S. Finney, and P.L. Gibbard, International Commission on Stratigraphy.

Dates have been assigned to specific geologic stratigraphy frames, columns, or columnar units.

Paleozoic time frames[edit | edit source]

Sortable table
Name (English)[2] base/start (Ma)[3] top/end (Ma)[3] status subdivision of usage named after author, year
Abereiddian 471.8 ± 1.6 464 age Ordovician regional Abereiddy (Wales)
Actonian 454 453 age Ordovician regional Acton Scott (England)
Aeronian 439.0 ± 1.8 436.0 ± 1.9 age Silurian ICS Cwm-coed-aeron (Wales) Cocks et al., 1971
Aksayan 493 491.5 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Albertan epoch Cambrian North America
Alportian 324.5 318.1 ± 1.3 age Carboniferous regional Alport (England)
Amgan 513.0 ± 2.0 502 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Arenig(-ian) epoch Ordovician Europe Arenig Fawr (Wales) Sedgwick, 1847; Fearnsides 1905
Arnsbergian 326 325 sub-age Carboniferous regional
Artinskian 284.4 ± 0.7 275.6 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS Arti (Russia) Karpinsky, 1874
Arundian 341 339 age Carboniferous regional
Asbian 337.5 333 age Carboniferous regional
Ashbyan age Ordovician North America
Ashgill(-ian) epoch Ordovician Europe Ashgill (Scotland)
Asselian 299.0 ± 0.8 294.6 ± 0.8 age Permian ICS river Assel (Kazakhstan) Ruzhenchev, 1954
Asturian 305 age Carboniferous Europe Asturias
Atdabanian 530 524 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Atokan age Carboniferous North America
Aurelucian 460.9 457 age Ordovician Europe
Autunian ~300 ~275 age Carboniferous-Permian Europe Autun (France)
Ayusokkanian 501.0 ± 2.0 494.5 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Baishaean 433 429 age Silurian China
Baotan 460.9 454.5 age Ordovician China
Barruelian age Carboniferous Europe
Bashkirian 318.1 ± 1.3 311.7 ± 1.1 age Carboniferous ICS Bashkortostan
Batyrbayan 491.5 488.3 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Bendigonian 473.5 471.8 age Ordovician Australia Bendigo, Victoria
Black River(-an) age Ordovician North America
Bolindian 450 443.7 age Ordovician Australia
Bolsovian age Carboniferous Europe Bolsover (England)
Boomerangian 504 501 age Cambrian Australia
Botomian 524 518.5 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Brigantian 336 326.4 ± 1.6 age Carboniferous North America, Europe Brigantes (Celtic tribe)
Burrellian 457 455 age Ordovician Europe Glenburrell (England)
Caerfai 542 ± 0.2 513 ± 2 age Cambrian Europe (obsolete) Caerfai Bay (Wales)
Cambrian 542.0 ± 1.0 488.3 ± 1.7 period Paleozoic ICS Cambria (Latin for Wales) Sedgwick, 1835
Canadian epoch Ordovician North America
Cantabrian 305 age Carboniferous Europe
Capitanian 265.8 ± 0.7 260.4 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS Capitan Reef (Texas, US)
Caradocian 460.9 449.5 epoch Ordovician Europe Caradoc (Welsh king) Murchison, 1839
Carboniferous 359.2 ± 2.5 299.0 ± 0.8 period Paleozoic ICS carbon Conybeare & Phillips, 1822
Cassinian 473 471.8 sub-age Ordovician North America
Castlemanian 471 470 age Ordovician Australia Castlemaine
Cautleyan 447.5 446.5 age Ordovician Europe Cautley Spout (England)
Cayugan 421.3 ± 2.6 416.0 ± 2.8 age Silurian North America
Cisuralian 299.0 ± 0.8 270.6 ± 0.7 epoch Permian ICS
Chadian 345.3 ± 2.1 341 age Carboniferous regional
Chamovnicheskian 306 305 age Carboniferous Russia
Champlanian epoch Ordovician North America
Changhsingian 253.8 ±0.7 251.0 ± 0.4 age Permian ICS Changxing (China)
Changlangpuan 523 518 age Cambrian China
Changshanian 496.8 492.5 age Cambrian China
Chatauquan 370 359.2 ± 2.5 age Devonian South America
Chautauquan age Devonian North America
Chazyan age Ordovician North America
Cheneyan 455 452 age Ordovician Europe
Cheremshankian 314.5 313.4 age Carboniferous Russia
Chesterian 333 318.1 age Carboniferous North America
Chewtonian 473 471 age Ordovician Australia
Chokierian 325 324.5 sub-age Carboniferous regional
Cincinnatian 451 443.7 ± 1.5 epoch Ordovician North America Cincinnati
Costonian 460.9 459 age Ordovician regional
Couvinian 397.5 ± 2.7 391.8 ± 2.7 age Devonian Belgium (obsolete) Couvin d'Omalius d'Halloy, 1862
Cressagian 488.3 ± 1.7 486 age Ordovician Europe
Croixan epoch Cambrian North America
Dalanian (Dalaun) 313 310 age Carboniferous China
Dapingian 471.8 ± 1.6 468.1 ± 1.6 age Ordovician ICS Daping (China)
Darriwilian 468.1 ± 1.6 460.9 ± 1.6 age Ordovician ICS Darriwil (Australia) Hall, 1899
Datangian 345 333 age Carboniferous China
Datsonian 488.3 ± 1.7 485 age Ordovician Australia
Dawanian 472 471.8 age Ordovician North America
Deerparkian age Devonian North America
Delamaran 512 504 age Cambrian North America
Demingian 478.6 475 sub-age Ordovician North America
Derryan 311.7 ± 1.1 308 age Carboniferous North America
Desmoinesian age Carboniferous North America
Devonian 416.0 ± 2.8 359.2 ± 2.5 period Paleozoic ICS Devon (England) Murchison & Sedgwick, 1839
Dewuan 333 318.1 ± 1.3 age Carboniferous China
Dinantian 359.2 ± 2.5 326.4 ± 1.6 epoch/sub-period Carboniferous Northern Europe Dinant
Dittonian 418 age Devonian Wales and England (obsolete) Ditton Priors, Shropshire, England
Dolgellian 492.5 488.3 ± 1.7 age Cambrian regional Dolgellau, Wales
Dorogomilovksian 305 303.9 ± 0.9 age Carboniferous regional
Dresbachian 501 496.8 age Cambrian North America
Drumian 506.5 503 age Cambrian ICS Drum Mountains (Utah, US)
Duckmantian age Carboniferous Europe Duckmanton Railway Cutting, England
Dyeran 524.5 512 age Cambrian North America
Eastonian 456 450 age Ordovician Australia
Edenian age Ordovician North America
Eifelian 397.5 ± 2.7 391.8 ± 2.7 age Devonian ICS the Eifel (Germany) Beyrich, 1837
Eildonian 433 428.2 ± 2.3 age Silurian Australia
Elvirian 326 324.5 age Carboniferous regional
Emsian 407.0 ± 2.8 397.5 ± 2.7 age Devonian ICS Bad Ems (Germany) de Dorlodot, 1900
Erian 391.8 ± 2.7 388 age Devonian North America
Famennian 374.5 ± 2.6 359.2 ± 2.5 age Devonian ICS the Famenne (Belgium) Dumont, 1855
Fengshanian 492.5 488.3 ± 1.7 age Cambrian China
Fennian 473 471.8 age Ordovician Europe
Festiniogian 496.8 492.5 age Cambrian regional
Floian 478.6 ± 1.7 471.8 ± 1.6 age Ordovician ICS Flo (Sweden)
Florian 508 504 age Cambrian Australia
Fortunian 542.0 ± 1.0 528 age Cambrian ICS Fortune Head (Canada)
Franconian 496.8 492.5 age Cambrian North America
Frasnian 385.3 ± 2.6 374.5 ± 2.6 age Devonian ICS Frasne (Belgium) d'Omalius d'Halloy, 1862
Furongian 501.0 ± 2.0 488.3 ± 1.7 epoch Cambrian ICS Furong (China)
Gedinian 416.0 ± 2.8 411.2 ± 2.8 age Devonian Belgium (obsolete) Gedinne Dumont, 1848
Gisbornian 460.9 456 age Ordovician Australia
Givetian 391.8 ± 2.7 385.3 ± 2.6 age Devonian ICS Givet (France) d'Omalius d'Halloy, 1839
Gleedonian 425.4 422.9 ± 2.5 age Silurian regional
Gorstian 422.9 ± 2.5 421.3 ± 2.6 age Silurian ICS Gorsty (farm at Ludlow, England) Holland et al., 1980
Guadalupian 270.6 ± 0.7 260.4 ± 0.7 epoch Permian ICS Guadalupe Mountains (Texas, US)
Guandian 425.5 422 age Silurian China
Gushanian 596.8 501 age Cambrian China
Guzhangian 503 499 age Cambrian ICS Guzhang (China)
Gzhelian 303.9 ± 0.9 299.0 ± 0.8 age Carboniferous ICS Gzhel (Russia)
Harnagian 459 458 age Ordovician regional
Hastarian 359.2 ± 2.5 348 age Carboniferous regional
Hirnantian 445.6 ± 1.5 443.7 ± 1.5 age Ordovician ICS Cwm Hirnant (Wales) Bancroft, 1933
Holkerian 339 337.5 age Carboniferous regional
Homerian 426.2 ± 2.4 422.9 ± 2.5 age Silurian ICS Homer (England) Bassett et al., 1975
Honghuayuanian 478.6 472 age Ordovician China
Houldjinian 37.2 33.9 ALMA Asia
Huashibanian 318.1 ± 1.3 313 age Carboniferous China
Ibexian ~505 471.8 age Cambrian-Ordovician North America
Idamean 497 494 age Cambrian Australia
Ivorean 348 345.3 ± 2.1 age Carboniferous regional
Jiusian age Carboniferous China
Jeffersonian 475 473 sub-age Ordovician North America
Karoo Ice Age ~360 ~260 ice age Phanerozoic Karoo (South Africa)
Kashirskian 309.2 308.0 age Carboniferous Russia
Kasimovian 306.5 ± 1.0 303.9 ± 0.9 age Carboniferous ICS Kasimov (Russia)
Katian 455.8 ± 1.6 445.6 ± 1.5 age Ordovician ICS Lake Katy (Oklahoma, US)
Kazanian age Permian Russia
Keiloran 443.7 ± 1.5 433 age Silurian Australia
Kekeamuan 28.4 33.9 ALMA Asia
Kinderhookian 359.2 ± 2.5 348 age Carboniferous North America
Kinderscoutian 318.1 ± 1.3 317 age Carboniferous regional Kinder Scout (England)
Kirkfield 458 457 age Ordovician regional
Klazminskian 303.9 ± 0.9 300.5 age Carboniferous regional
Krevyakinskian 306.5 306 age Carboniferous Russia
Kungurian 275.6 ± 0.7 270.6 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS Kungur (Russia)
Lancefieldian 482 475 age Ordovician Australia
Langsettian 314.5 313.4 age Carboniferous regional Langsett (England)
Leonardian age Permian North America
Linxiangian 454.5 449 age Ordovician China
Livian 335 331 age Carboniferous Belgium (obsolete) Lives
Llandeilo (Llandeilean) epoch/age Ordovician Europe Llandeilo (Wales) Murchison, 1835
Llandovery 443.7 ± 1.5 428.2 ± 2.3 epoch Silurian ICS Llandovery (Wales) Murchison, 1859
Llanvirn(-ian) epoch Ordovician Europe Hicks, 1875
Lochkovian 416.0 ± 2.8 411.2 ± 2.8 age Devonian ICS Lochkov (Czech Republic)
Longmaxian 443.7 ± 1.5 438 age Silurian China
Longvillian 457 455 age Ordovician regional Cheney Longville (England)
Longwangmioan 518 513 age Cambrian China
Lopingian 260.4 ± 0.7 251.0 ± 0.4 epoch Permian ICS Loping (China)
Ludfordian 421.3 ± 2.6 418.7 ± 2.7 age Silurian ICS Ludford (England) Holland et al., 1980
Ludlovian 422.9 ± 2.5 418.7 ± 2.7 epoch Silurian ICS Ludlow (England) Murchison, 1854
Luosuan 318.1 ~314 age Carboniferous China
Maentwrogian 501 496.8 age Cambrian regional Maentwrog (Wales)
Maozhangian 513 509 age Cambrian China
Mapingian 310 299.0 ± 0.8 age Carboniferous China
Marjuman 504 494.5 age Cambrian North America
Marsdenian 317 315.5 age Carboniferous regional Marsden, West Yorkshire, England
Marshbrookian 455 454 age Ordovician regional Marshbrook (England)
Mayan 502 501 ± 2.0 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Mayvillian 453 447.5 age Ordovician North America
Medinan age Silurian North America
Meishuchuan 542 532 age Cambrian China
Melbournian 428.2 ± 2.3 416.0 ± 2.8 age Silurian Australia Melbourne
Melekesskian 313.4 311.7 age Carboniferous Russia
Meramecian 340 333 age Carboniferous North America
Merioneth 501 ± 2 488.3 ± 1.7 epoch Cambrian Europe (obsolete) Merioneth (Wales)
Miaogoalingian 422 418.7 age Silurian China
Migneintian 486 478.6 ± 1.7 age Ordovician Europe
Mindyallan 501 497 age Cambrian Australia
Mississippian 359.2 ± 2.5 318.1 ± 1.3 epoch Carboniferous ICS Mississippi River (US)
Missourian age Carboniferous North America
Mohawkian 462 451 epoch Ordovician North America
Montezuman 529.5 524.5 age Cambrian North America
Moridunian 478.6 ± 1.7 475 age Ordovician Europe Moridunum (Wales)
Morrowan age Carboniferous North America
Moscovian 311.7 ± 1.1 306.5 ± 1.0 age Carboniferous ICS Moscow (Russia)
Myachkovskian 307.2 306.5 age Carboniferous Russia
Namurian 326.4 313.0 age Carboniferous Europe Namur (Belgium) Purves, 1883
Nemakit-Daldynian 542 534 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Neocomian 145.5 125.0/130.0 epoch obsolete Neocomium, Latin name for Neuchâtel
Niagaran age Silurian North America
Noginskian 300.5 299.0 ± 0.8 age Carboniferous Russia
Ochoan age Permian North America
Okaian 0.5 0.3 sub-age Ordovician North America
Onnian 453 449 age Ordovician regional River Onny (England)
Ordian 520 510 age Cambrian Australia
Ordovician 488.3 ± 1.7 443.7 ± 1.5 period Paleozoic ICS Ordovices, Celtic tribe Lapworth, 1879
Osagean age Carboniferous North America
Paibian 501.0 ± 2.0 496 age Cambrian ICS Paibi (China)
Paleophytic ~450 ~270 era paleobotany old flora
Paleozoic 542.0 ± 1.0 251.0 ± 0.7 era Phanerozoic ICS old life
Payntonian 491 488.3 ± 1.7 age Cambrian Australia
Pendleian 326.4 ± 1.6 326 age Carboniferous regional Pendle Hill (England)
Pennsylvanian 318.1 ± 1.3 299.0 ± 0.8 epoch Carboniferous ICS Pennsylvania (US)
Permian 299.0 ± 0.8 251.0 ± 0.4 period Paleozoic ICS Perm (Russia) Murchison, 1849
Phanerozoic 542.0 ± 1.0 present eon ICS visible life
Podolskian 308 307.2 age Carboniferous Russia
Potsdamian 501 ± 2 488.3 ± 1.7 epoch Cambrian Germany
Poundian 570 542 ± 0.3 age Cambrian Australia
Pragian 411.2 ± 2.8 407.0 ± 2.8 age Devonian ICS Prague (Czech Republic)
Pridoli(an) 418.7 ± 2.7 416.0 ± 2.8 epoch Silurian ICS Přidoli (Czech Republic)
Pusgillian 449 447.5 age Ordovician Europe Pus Gill, Cumbria (England) Dean, 1959
Qungzusian 532 523 age Cambrian China
Rawtheyan 446.5 445.5 age Ordovician Europe River Rawthey (England)
Rhuddanian 443.7 ± 1.5 439.0 ± 1.8 age Silurian ICS Cwm-Rhuddian (Wales)
Richmondian 449 445.6 ± 1.5 age Ordovician North America
Roadian 270.6 ± 0.7 268.0 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS
Rotliegend(-es)[4] 299 270.6 sub-period Permian unofficial German for "Red foot wall". A traditional copper mining term in the Mansfelder Land for the red oreless sandstone below the Kupferschiefer.
Sakian 494.5 493 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Sakmarian 294.6 ± 0.8 284.4 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS river Sakmara (Russia) Karpinski, 1874
Sandbian 460.9 ± 1.6 455.8 ± 1.6 age Ordovician ICS Sandby, Sweden
Saxonian ~290 ~258 age Permian Europe (obsolete) Saxony
Senecan 388 370 age Devonian North America
Serpukhovian 326.4 ± 1.6 318.1 ± 1.3 age Carboniferous ICS Serpukhov (Russia)
Shangsian 318.1 age Carboniferous China
Shaodongian 359.2 ± 2.5 349.5 age Carboniferous China
Sheinwoodian 428.2 ± 2.3 426.2 ± 2.4 age Silurian ICS Sheinwood (England) Basset et al., 1975
Shermanian 457 454 age Ordovician regional
Shinulanian 438 433 age Silurian China
Silesian 326.4 299.0 subperiod Carboniferous Europe Silesia
Siegenian age Devonian North America, Europe
Silurian 443.7 ± 1.5 416.0 ± 2.8 period Paleozoic ICS Silures, Celtic tribe Murchison, 1835
Soudleyan 458 457 age Ordovician regional Soudley (England)
Springerian age Carboniferous North America
St. David's 513 ± 2 501 ± 2 epoch Cambrian Europe (obsolete) St Davids (Wales)
Stephanian 303.9 299.0 age Carboniferous Europe Saint-Étienne (France) Mayer-Eymar, 1878
Steptoan 494.5 493 age Cambrian North America
Streffordian 452 449 age Ordovician Europe Strefford (England)
Sunwaptan 493 491 age Cambrian North America
Tangbagouan 359.2 age Carboniferous China
Tatarian age Permian Russia Tatarstan
Telychian 436.0 ± 1.9 428.2 ± 2.3 age Silurian ICS Pen-lan-Telych (Wales) Cocks et al. 1973
Templetonian 510 508 age Cambrian Australia
Terreneuvian 542.0 ± 1.0 521 epoch Cambrian ICS Terre-Neuve, French name for Newfoundland
Thuringian 285 251 age Permian Europe (obsolete) Thuringia (Germany)
Toyonian 518.5 513.0 ± 2.0 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Tommotian 534 530 age Cambrian Russia, Kazakhstan
Tournaisian 359.2 ± 2.5 345.3 ± 2.1 age Carboniferous ICS Tournai (Belgium) Dumont, 1832
Tremadoc(-ian) 488.3 ± 1.7 478.6 ± 1.7 epoch Ordovician ICS Tremadoc Bay (Wales) Sedgwick, 1846
Trempealeauan 492.5 488.3 ± 1.7 age Cambrian North America
Trentonian age Carboniferous North America
Ufimian 268 270,6 age Permian obsolete
Ulsterian age Devonian North America
Undillian 506 504 age Cambrian Australia
Vereiskian 311.7 ± 1.1 309.2 age Carboniferous Russia
Virgilian age Carboniferous North America
Visean 345.3 ± 2.1 326.4 ± 1.6 age Carboniferous ICS Visé (Belgium) Dumont, 1832
Warendian 485 478.6 age Ordovician Australia
Waucoban epoch Cambrian North America
Wenlock(-ian) 428.2 ± 2.3 422.9 ± 2.5 epoch Silurian ICS Much Wenlock (England) Murchison, 1833
Westphalian 313.0 303.9 age Carboniferous Europe Westphalia (Germany) de Lapparent & Munier-Chalmas, 1892
Whiterockian 471.8 ± 1.6 462 age Ordovician North America
Whitlandian 475 473.5 age Ordovician Europe Whitland (Wales)
Whitwellian 426.2 ± 2.4 425.4 age Silurian regional Whitwell Coppice (England)
Wolfcampian age Permian North America
Wordian 268.0 ± 0.7 265.8 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS
Wuchiapingian 260.4 ± 0.7 253.8 ± 0.7 age Permian ICS
Xiaodushanian 299 age Carboniferous China
Xiushanian 429 425.5 age Silurian China
Yanguan 349.5 345 age Carboniferous China
Yeadonian 315.5 314.5 age Carboniferous regional Yeadon (England)
Ypeenian 470 468.1 age Ordovician Australia
Zechstein[4] ±270 ±250 sub-period Permian Europe (unofficial)
Zhungxian 505 501 age Cambrian China
Zuzhungian 509 503 age Cambrian China

Permian[edit | edit source]

The Permian lasted from 299.0 ± 0.8 to 251.0 ± 0.4 Mb2k.

The extinct group of animals, the Gorgonopsia, is named after the Gorgons and formed the dominant group of carnivores in the Middle and Upper Permian.

Phosphoria Formation[edit | edit source]

The Phosphoria Formation of the western United States represents some 15 million years of sedimentation. It reaches a thickness of 420 metres and covers an area of 350,000 km2.[5]

Asselian[edit | edit source]

In the geologic timescale, the Asselian is the earliest geochronologic age or lowermost chronostratigraphic stage of the Permian, a subdivision of the Cisuralian Epoch or Series, which lasted between 298.9 and 295 million years ago (Ma), preceded by the Gzhelian (the latest or uppermost subdivision in the Carboniferous) and followed by the Sakmarian.[6]

The Artinskian still encompasses most of the lower Permian – its current definitions are more restricted. The Asselian is named after the Assel River in the southern Ural Mountains of Kazakhstan and Bashkortostan.[7]

The base of the Asselian Stage is at the same time the base of the Cisuralian Series and the Permian System, defined as the place in the stratigraphic record where fossils of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus first appear, where the global reference profile for the base (the GSSP or golden spike) is located in the valley of the Aidaralash River, near Aqtöbe in the Ural Mountains of Kazakhstan.[8] The top of the Asselian stage (the base of the Sakmarian stage) is at the first appearance of conodont species Streptognathodus postfusus.

The Asselian contains five conodont biozones:

  • zone of Streptognathodus barskovi
  • zone of Streptognathodus postfusus
  • zone of Streptognathodus fusus
  • zone of Streptognathodus constrictus
  • zone of Streptognathodus isolatus

Late Paleozoic icehouse[edit | edit source]

The late Paleozoic icehouse, formerly known as the Karoo ice age, was the climate state 360–260 million years ago (Mya) in which large land-based ice-sheets were present on Earth's surface.[9]

"The late Paleozoic icehouse was the longest-lived ice age of the Phanerozoic, and its demise constitutes the only recorded turnover to a greenhouse state."[9]

Rotliegend[edit | edit source]

The Rotiegend lasted from 302 Ma to 260 Ma.[10]

Late Pennsylvanian[edit | edit source]

The Pennsylvanian also known as Upper Carboniferous or Late Carboniferous is, in the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) geologic timescale, the younger of two subperiods (or upper of two subsystems) of the Carboniferous Period, lasting from roughly 323.2 million years ago to 298.9 million years ago. As with most other geochronologic units, the rock beds that define the Pennsylvanian are well identified, but the exact date of the start and end are uncertain by a few hundred thousand years. The Pennsylvanian is named after the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, where the coal-productive beds of this age are widespread.[11]

Gzhelian[edit | edit source]

Type locality for the Gzhelian is in Gzhel, Russia. Credit: Vitaliy VK}.{{free media}}

The Gzhelian is an age in the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column, the youngest stage of the Pennsylvanian, the youngest subsystem of the Carboniferous. The Gzhelian lasted from 303.7 to 298.9 Ma.[12] It follows the Kasimovian age/stage and is followed by the Asselian age/stage, the oldest subdivision of the Permian system.

The Gzhelian is more or less coeval with the Stephanian Stage of the regional stratigraphy of Europe.

The base of the Gzhelian is at the first appearance of the Fusulinida genera Daixina, Jigulites and Rugosofusulina, or at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus zethus. The top of the stage (the base of the Permian system) is at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the Streptognathus "wabaunsensis" chronocline.[13] Six meters higher in the reference profile, the Fusulinida species Sphaeroschwagerina vulgaris aktjubensis appears.

A Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (golden spike) for the Gzhelian Stage is yet lacking. A candidate is a section along the Ussolka river (a tributary of the Belaya river) at the edge of the hamlet of Krasnoussolsky, about 120 kilometres south-east of Ufa and 60 kilometres north-east of Sterlitamak (in Bashkortostan).[14]

The Gzhelian Stage is subdivided into five biozones, based on the conodont genus Streptognathodus:

  • Streptognathodus wabaunsensis and Streptognathodus bellus Zone
  • Streptognathodus simplex Zone
  • Streptognathodus virgilicus Zone
  • Streptognathodus vitali Zone
  • Streptognathodus simulator Zone

Kasimovian[edit | edit source]

The Kasimovian is a geochronologic age or chronostratigraphic stage in the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) geologic timescale, the third stage in the Pennsylvanian (late Carboniferous), lasting from 307 to 303.7 Ma.[15] The Kasimovian saw an extinction event which occurred around 305 mya, referred to as the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse.[16] and corresponds to the Missourian in North American geochronology and the Stephanian in western European geochronology.

Middle Pennsylvanian[edit | edit source]

Moscovian[edit | edit source]

Carboniferous[edit | edit source]

The Carboniferous began 359.2 ± 2.5 Mb2k and ended 299.0 ± 0.8 Mb2k.

Pennsylvanian[edit | edit source]

Fossil of Calamites, an extinct plant, photographed at Museo di Storia Naturale di Verona. Credit: Ghedoghedo{{free media}}

"Specimens of Calamites cistii (Sphenophyta; Pennsylvanian, France) are described showing endophytic cavities, located in the outer cortex of the stem, a tissue that is rarely preserved. This new record shifts the appearance of this behavior back 60 Ma."[17] Two "specimens of the arborescent Calamites cistii (Sphenophyta) [were] collected from the Pennsylvanian basin of Graissessac (Hérault, France)".[17] "The specimens belong to the species Calamites cistii Brongniart, 1828 (Sphenophyta). They are housed in the Collections de Paléobotanique, Service général des Collections, University Montpellier 2 (LPM)."[17]

The Pennsylvanian lasted from 318.1 ± 1.3 to 299.0 ± 0.8 Mb2k.

Mississippian[edit | edit source]

The Mississippian lasted from 359.2 ± 2.5 to 318.1 ± 1.3 Mb2k.

Prolecanites gurleyi is an index fossil of the Mississippian.[18]

Middle Mississippian[edit | edit source]

"This species has been consistently identified with the considerably younger, late Viséan (late Holkerian to Asbian [late Meramecian to early Chesterian]) genus Beyrichoceras Foord, 1903 (type species, Goniatites obtusus Phillips, 1836) (eg, Gordon, 1965, p. 284."[19]

Visean[edit | edit source]

Detail of the Tournaisian/Visean boundary is arrowed in the Pengchong section. Credit: François-Xavier Devuyst, Luc Hance, Hongfei Hou, Xianghe Wu, Shugang Tian, Michel Coen, and George Sevastopulo.

"The first appearance of Eoparastaffella simplex in the lineage Eoparastaffela ovalis - Eoparastaffella simplex (foraminifers) [is] the new biostratigraphic criterion to define the base of the Viséan."[20]

Lower Mississippian[edit | edit source]

Tournaisian[edit | edit source]

"The base of the Carboniferous System, Mississippian Sub-System and Tournaisian Stage is defined at the base of Bed 89 in Trench E' at La Serre, France. It coincides with the first appearance of the conodont Siphonodella sulcata within the evolutionary lineage from Siphonodella praesulcata to Siphonodella sulcata."[21]

Devonian[edit | edit source]

The Devonian spanned 416.0 ± 2.8 to 359.2 ± 2.5 Mb2k.

Upper Devonian[edit | edit source]

Famennian[edit | edit source]

The diagram shows the detailed succession of beds around the GSSP level between beds 31g and 32a. Credit: G Klapper, R Feist, R T Becker and M R House.
Photograph of the succession shows that the GSSP lies between Bed 31g and 32a. Credit: G Klapper, R Feist, R T Becker and M R House.
Fossil is of Platyclymenia intracrostata Credit: Wikipek.
This is another example of Clymenia laevigata. Credit: Hectonichus.

"The boundary for the Frasnian/Famennian Stage Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) [...] is drawn [above] in a section exposed [in the second image above] near the Upper Coumiac Quarry in the southeastern Montagne Noire, France."[22]

A specimen of Clymenia laevigata from the Upper Devonian Famennian of Poland is on the right.

On the left is a fossil of Platyclymenia intracrostata also from the Famennian of Poland.

Frasnian[edit | edit source]

Early Devonian[edit | edit source]

Illustration of Asteroxylon mackiei is from the Rhynie Chert. Credit: Kidston, R., & Lang, W. H.{{free media}}

Asteroxylon ("star-shaped xylem") is an extinct genus of vascular plants of the Division Lycopodiophyta known from anatomically preserved specimens described from the famous Early Devonian Rhynie chert and Windyfield chert in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.[23][24] Asteroxylon is considered the most basal member of the Lycopsida.[25]

This plant consisted of aerial, isotomously and anisotomously branching stems that reached 12 mm in diameter and 40 cm in length.[26] The possibly procumbent aerial stems arose from a leaf-less rhizome which bore smaller-diameter, positively geotropic root-like branches.[26] The rhizomes, which represent an independent origin of roots,[27] reached a depth of up to 20 cm below the surface.[28] The xylem or conducting tissue at the center of the aerial stems is distinctly star-shaped in cross-section and has been considered an early actinostele or an "Asteroxylon-type" protostele.[29] The tracheids are of the primitive annular or helical type (so-called G-type).[30] "Leaves" – not true leaves, but protrusions – were of the form of unbranched strap-shaped enations up to 5 mm long; a single vascular trace branched from the main bundle in the centre of the stem to terminate at the base of each enation.[25][29] Enations and axes bore stomata, indicating that their tissues were capable of photosynthesis.[31]

Asteroxylon differs from other similar Early Devonian lycopsids such as Drepanophycus and Baragwanathia in that the singular vascular leaf trace in these latter plants extends into the leaf.[25] The leaves of Drepanophycus and Baragwanathia are therefore considered to be true microphylls or, alternatively, small leaves.[32]

The type species is Asteroxylon mackiei.

Mimagoniatites is a genus of ammonites from the early Devonian.

"Shell [is] small to large size, evolute, thinly discoidal to discoidal. Whorl cross section of the first two whorls [is] approximately circular, in later whorls subtrapezoidal. Umbilicus [is] narrow to moderately wide, moderately large umbilical window (< 1 mm). Whorl expansion rate increases remarkably from the second whorl on (> 2.5, later up to 3.9). Growth line course [is] biconvex with prominent ventrolateral projection and deep ventral sinus."[33]

The lower boundary of the genus is "LD3C--LD3D: Anetoceras Range Zone top, 405.5 million years" and the upper boundary is "CZB maureri--sulc.antiqua Zone [19,30], 398.5 million years".[33]

Geographic distribution: "Devonian of Algeria (2 collections), Canada (1: Nunavut), China (7), the Czech Republic (5), Germany (3), Morocco (13), the Russian Federation (1), Spain (4), Turkey (3), United States (1: Pennsylvania)".[34]

Silurian[edit | edit source]

The Silurian spanned 443.7 ± 1.5 to 416.0 ± 2.8 Mb2k.

Hexamoceras hertzeri is an index fossil for the Silurian.[18]

Hexamoceras is a genus of the Nautiloidea.[35]

"Rolfe made the important observation that 'Other genera are pre-Devonian and hence cannot be ammonoid aptychi, but Ruedemann's suggestion that aptychi "would naturally also have existed in the Ordovician and Silurian cephalopods" has been largely overlooked'."[36]

Miaogoalingian[edit | edit source]

Miaogoalingian Chinese Stage, from 422 to 418.7 ± 2.7 Ma. End Defined By: Graptolite, lowest occurrence of Monograptus parultimus.

Andean-Saharan glaciation[edit | edit source]

"A major glacial episode at c. 440 Ma, is recorded in Late Ordovician strata (predominantly Ashgillian) in West Africa (Tamadjert Formation of the Sahara), in Morocco (Tindouf Basin) and in west-central Saudi Arabia, all areas at polar latitudes at the time. From the Late Ordovician to the Early Silurian the centre of glaciation moved from northern Africa to southwestern South America."[37]

The maximum extent of glaciation developed in Africa and eastern Brazil.[38]

The Andean-Saharan was preceded by the Cryogenian ice ages (720–630 Ma, the Sturtian and Marinoan glaciations), often referred to as Snowball Earth, and followed by the Karoo Ice Age (350–260 Ma).[39]

Telychian[edit | edit source]

Current Telychian GSSP is arrowed parallel to the bedding. Credit: Jeremy R. Davies, Richard A. Waters, Stewart G. Molyneux, Mark Williams, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, Thijs R. A. Vandenbroucke & Jacques Verniers.

On the right is an image of the type locality for the Telychian base GSSP indicated by an arrow which points parallel to the bedding. Older bedding of the Aeronian is to the right. The Telychian GSSP is in the Wormwood Formation, Cefn Cerig quarry.

In the section below for the Aeronian, the lower Telychian is marked with a Ⓣ.

Aeronian[edit | edit source]

Diagram has the Rhuddanian to early Telychian sea level curves where Ⓐ marks the horizon of the Aeronian GSSP. Credit: Jeremy R. Davies, Richard A. Waters, Stewart G. Molyneux, Mark Williams, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, Thijs R. A. Vandenbroucke & Jacques Verniers.
The arrow indicates the Aeronian lower GSSP perpendicular to the bedding. Credit: Jeremy R. Davies, et al.

The diagram above has the GSSP for the base of the Aeronian symbolized by a Ⓐ. The upper GSSP for the end of the Aeronian is symbolized by a Ⓣ.

On the right is the type locality for the base of the Aeronian indicated by the arrow. Actual beds are perpendicular to the arrow. The base of the Aeronian is in the Cefngarreg Sandstone Formation (formerly Trefawr Formation), Trefawr track section, Crychan Forest, Central Wales.

Ordovician[edit | edit source]

The Ordovician lasted from 488.3 ± 1.7 to 443.7 ± 1.5 Mb2k.

Upper Ordovician[edit | edit source]

This is an internal mold of a nautiloid from the Upper Ordovician of northern Kentucky. Credit: Wilson44691.

The image on the right is an over-encrusted, internal mold of a nautiloid from the Upper Ordovician of northern Kentucky.

Actonian[edit | edit source]

Geological map of the Onny Valley section is with the sample localities. Credit: Thijs R. A. Vandenbroucke, Antonio Ancilletta, Richard A. Fortey and Jacques Verniers.

The "Onny Valley [...] is the type locality for the Actonian and Onnian substages, and a [Site of Special Scientific Interest] SSSI."[40]

On the right is a geological map of the Onny Valley section together with a strategraphic column, sample localities and the chrono- and lithostratigraphy of the southern Caradoc area (after Rushton et al. 2000).

Sandbian[edit | edit source]

Nemagraptus gracilis, Sandbian graptolites, are from the Caparo Formation, Venezuelan Andes. Credit: J.C. Gutiérrez-Marco, D. Goldman, J. Reyes-Abril, and J. Gómez.

"The Lower Sandbian Nemagraptus gracilis Zone comprises one of the most widespread, and easily recognizable graptolite faunas in the Ordovician System. The base of the N. gracilis Zone also marks the base of the Upper Ordovician Series, and is internationally defined by the FAD of the eponymous species, with the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) located at Fågelsång in Scania, southern Sweden (Bergström et al., 2000, 2009)."[41]

Middle Ordovician[edit | edit source]

Epoch: Middle Ordovician (471.8 - 460.9 Ma).

Darriwilian[edit | edit source]

Abereiddian[edit | edit source]

Ordovician chart illustrates the main regional series, stage and substage divisions. Credit: Hüseyïn Kozlu, M. Cemal Göncüoğu, Graciela N. Sarmiento & M. Alï Gül.

On the right is an Ordovician chart which illustrates the stratigraphic relationships between the Global Series, Stages and key faunal markers, and the main regional series, stage and substage divisions used in different parts of the world (after Webby 1988).

Here, the Abereiddian is the lower portion of the Llanvirn series, which in turn is the upper portion of Darriwilian Stage, of the upper Middle Ordovician.

Lower Ordovician[edit | edit source]

Chewtonian[edit | edit source]

Chewtonian Australian Stage, from 473 To 471 Ma.

Early Ordovician[edit | edit source]

Epoch: Early Ordovician (488.3 - 471.8 Ma).

Ibexian[edit | edit source]

North American Stage: Ibexian (491 - 471.8 ± 1.6 Ma).

End Defined By: Conodont, potentially lowest occurrence of Protoprioniodus aranda or of Baltoniodus triangularis.

Tremadocian[edit | edit source]

ICS Stage: Tremadocian (488.3 - 478.6 Ma).

The Tremadocian is the lowest stage of Ordovician. Together with the later Floian Stage it forms the Lower Ordovician Epoch. The Tremadocian lasted from 485.4 to 477.7 Ma. The base of the Tremadocian is defined as the first appearance of the conodont species Iapetognathus fluctivagus at the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) section on Newfoundland.[42]

The GSSP for the beginning of the Tremadocian is the Greenpoint section (49.6829°N 57.9653°W) in Gros Morne National Park, in western Newfoundland, defined as the first appearance of the conodont species Iapetognathus fluctivagus, found 101.8 m above the Greenpoint section datum within bed number 23.[42] The boundary lies within the Broom Point Member, of the Green Point Formation which is part of the Cow Head Group.[43] The first planktonic graptolites appear 4.8 m above the first appearance of Iapetognathus fluctivagus at Greenpoint section.[43]

The Tremadocian ends with the beginning of the Floian which is defined as the first appearance of Tetragraptus approximatus at the GSSP in Diabasbrottet quarry, Västergötland, Sweden.[42]

Datsonian[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Datsonian (488.3 - 485 Ma).

Upper Cambrian[edit | edit source]

~497 – 485.4 ± 1.9 Ma.

"Cambrian Radiolaria are best known from Middle Cambrian shallow-water carbonate environments (i.e., the Middle Cambrian strata; Won and Below, 1999), but they are also known Upper Cambrian in deep-sea deposits (Tolmacheva et al., 2001)."[44]

  • Elvinia-zone Upper Cambrian.

New Elvinia Zone (Upper Cambrian) Trilobites.[45]

Upper Middle Cambrian.[46]

A "radiometrically anchored astrochronologic framework across the late Cambrian interval, using high-resolution aluminum (Al) series (1 mm resolution) through the Alum Shale Formation in Scania, southernmost Sweden, [is] based on the fully cored Albjära-1 well. Significant cycles with periods of 405 kyr (long eccentricity), 108 kyr (short eccentricity), 30.4 kyr (obliquity) and 18.8 kyr (precession), associated with long-term amplitude modulation of obliquity and precession, confirmed the orbital imprint on late Cambrian climate. Using the U-Pb dating at 486.78±0.53Ma for the Cambro-Ordovician boundary as anchor point, our timescale spans from ~483.9 to ~500.0 Ma, covering 7 trilobite superzones and 3 graptolite zones. The calibration indicates ages of 491.2±0.54 Ma, 493.9±0.67 Ma, 497.3±0.67 Ma and 500.4±0.67 Ma for the lower boundaries of provisional Stage10, Jiangshanian, Paibian and Guzhangian stages, respectively."[47]

Furongian[edit | edit source]

~497 – 485.4 ± 1.9 Ma.

The Furongian Series includes Cambrian Stage 10, Cambrian Stage 9, and the Paibian Stage.[48]

Hunanian[edit | edit source]

~497 – 485.4 ± 1.9 Ma.

The Hunan is comparable to the Furongian.

Cressagian[edit | edit source]

European Stage: Cressagian (488.3 - 486 Ma.)

Cambrian[edit | edit source]

The Cambrian lasted from 542.0 ± 1.0 to 488.3 ± 1.7 Mb2k.

541.0 ± 1.0 – 485.4 ± 1.9 Ma
Earth in the middle of the Cambrian Period
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (International Commission on Stratigraphy, ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitPeriod
Stratigraphic unitSystem
First proposed byAdam Sedgwick, 1835
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionAppearance of the Ichnofossil Treptichnus pedum
Lower boundary GSSPFortune Head section, Newfoundland, Canada
Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
GSSP ratified1992[49]
Upper boundary definitionFirst appearance datum (FAD) of the Conodont Iapetognathus fluctivagus.
Upper boundary GSSPGreenpoint section, Green Point, Newfoundland, Canada
Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
GSSP ratified2000[50]
Atmospheric and climatic data
Sea level above present dayRising steadily from 4m to 90m[51]

Because the international stratigraphic subdivision is not yet complete, many local subdivisions are still widely used: in some of these subdivisions the Cambrian is divided into three epochs with locally differing names – the Early Cambrian (Caerfai or Waucoban, 541 ± 1.0 to 509 ± 1.7 mya), Middle Cambrian (St Davids or Albertan, 509 ± 1.0 to 497 ± 1.7 mya) and Furongian (497 ± 1.0 to 485.4 ± 1.7 mya; also known as Late Cambrian, Merioneth or Croixan).

Trilobite zones

Trilobite zones allowing biostratigraphic correlation in the Cambrian belong to the Lower, Middle, or Upper Cambrian.

Trilobites are used as index fossils to subdivide the Cambrian period. Assemblages of trilobites define trilobite zones.[52]

Series Stage Trilobite zone Trilobite GSSP
Furongian Cambrian Stage 10 Saukia-zone (upper part), Eurekia apopsis-zone, Tangshanaspis-zone, Parakoldinioidia-zone, Symphysurina-zone[53] Lotagnostus americanus (undecided)
Jiangshanian Ellipsocephaloides-zone, Saukia-zone (lower part) [53] Agnostotes orientalis
Paibian ? (?) Glyptagnostus reticulatus
Miaolingian Guzhangian Bolaspidella ( / Ptychagnostus praecurrens ?? ).[54] Lejopyge laevigata
Drumian Ptychagnostus atavus
Wuliuan Bathyuriscus–Elrathina (?) Oryctocephalus indicus
Cambrian Series 2 Cambrian Stage 4 Olenellus Olenellus or Redlichia (undecided)
Cambrian Stage 3
Fallotaspis, Nevadella First appearance of trilobites (undecided)
Terreneuvian (Pre-Trilobitic Cambrian) Cambrian Stage 2 ?

Cambrian stratigraphy[edit | edit source]

Correlation of global and regional Cambrian stratigraphy
Trilobite zones International Series Chinese North American Russian-Kazakhian Australian Regional
Furongian Taoyuanian Ibexian (part) Ayusokkanian Datsonian Dolgellian (Trempealeauan, Fengshanian)
Sunwaptan Sakian Iverian Festiniogian (Franconian, Changshanian)
Waergangian Steptoan Aksayan Idamean Maentwrogian (Dresbachian)
Marjuman Batyrbayan Mindyallan
Miaolingian Guzhangian Mayan Boomerangian
Drumian Delamaran Amgan Undillian
Wuliuan Templetonian
Dyeran Toyonian Ordian
Cambrian Series 2 Longwangmioan Lenian
Changlangpuan Montezuman Botomian
Qungzusian Atdabanian
Terreneuvian Meishuchuan Placentian Tommotian Cordubian
Neoproterozoic Vendian Sinian Hadrynian Poundian Adelaidean Namibian

Late Cambrian[edit | edit source]

The Franconian is the middle stage of the Upper or Late Cambrian in North America, equivalent to the Chinese Changshanian with a span of nearly 4.5 million years, from about 497 to 492.5 Ma. The name comes from the Franconia Formation, about 100 feet (30 m) of sandstone and green shale exposed near the town of Franconia in eastern Minnesota, north of St Paul.

The Franconian is preceded by the Dresbachian and followed by the Trempealeauan, respectively the lower and upper stages of the North American Upper Cambrian or Croixan Series.

Collier Shale[edit | edit source]

The Collier Shale, a geologic formation in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma, dating from the Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician periods, the oldest stratigraphic unit exposed in Arkansas, first described in 1892,[55] named in 1909,[56][57] with assigned type locality to the headwaters of Collier Creek in Montgomery County, Arkansas, underlies the Crystal Mountain Sandstone.


  • Anechocephalus aphelodermus[45]
  • Apachia lumaleasa[58]
  • Buttsia drabensis[59]
  • Cernuolimbus monilis[45]
  • Cheilocephalus brachyops[59]
  • Cliffia lataegenae[59]
  • Cliffia magnacilis[58]
  • Comanchia amplooculata[59]
  • Dellea planafrons[58]
  • Dellea suada[59]
  • Erixanium lacunatum[45]
  • Housia vacuna[59]
  • Iddingsia hapsis[58]
  • Irvingella major[59]
  • Jessievillia radiatus[58]
  • Kindbladia wichitaensis[59]
  • Kymagnostus harti[58]
  • Linnarsonella girtyi[59]
  • Neoagnostus dilatus[58]
  • Parabolinoides contractus[59]
  • Pseudagnostus communis[59]
  • Pseudokingstonia exotica[59]
  • Pterocephalia sanctisabae[59]
  • Pulchricapitus fetosus[58]
  • Pyttstrigis dicilia[58]
  • Xenocheilos minutum[59]

Payntonian[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Payntonian (491 - 488.3 Ma).

Stage 10[edit | edit source]

Stage 10 of the Cambrian is the still unnamed third and final stage of the Furongian series that follows the Jiangshanian and precedes the Ordovician Tremadocian Stage.[60]

The upper boundary is defined as the appearance of the conodont Iapetognathus fluctivagus which marks the beginning of the Tremadocian and is radiometrically dated as 485.4 Ma.[61]

The calibration indicates an age of 491.2±0.54 Ma for the lower boundary of provisional Stage10.[47]

Batyrbayan[edit | edit source]

Russian-Kazakhian Stage: Batyrbayan (491.5 - 488.3 Ma)

The Batyrbayan is the lowest level of the Upper Cambrian.

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Lotagnostus hedini
  2. HarpidoidesPlatypeltoides
  3. Lophosaukia

Dolgellian[edit | edit source]

The Dolgellian is the latest level of the Cambrian, from 492.5 To 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

Fengshanian[edit | edit source]

The Fengshanian is the latest level of the Cambrian, from 492.5 To 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

Trempealeauan[edit | edit source]

~ 492.5 to 488.3 Ma.

The Trempealeauan is the upper or latest stage of the Upper or Late Cambrian in North America, spanning about 4 million years from about 492.5 to 488.3 Ma, equivalent to the Fengshanian of China. The name comes from the Trempealeau Formation, named for the town of Trempealeau in western Wisconsin, located on the Mississippi River.

The Trempealeauan follows, or overlies, the Franconian, which is the middle stage of the Upper Cambrian in North America and is followed by the Gasconadian in the Lower Ordovician. Together with the Dresbachian at the bottom, the Trempealeauan and Franconian make up the Croixan Series.

Croixan[edit | edit source]

501 ± 2 to 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

End Defined By: Conodont, lowest occurrence of Iapetognathus fluctivagus; just above base of Cordylodus lindstromi conodont Zone. Just below lowest occurrence of planktonic graptolites.

The lower and upper stages of the North American Upper Cambrian is the Croixan Series.

Late Cambrian Epoch (Upper Cambrian, Merioneth, Furongian, Croixian, Potsdamian), from 501 ± 2 to 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

Start Defined By: Trilobite, lowest occurrence of agnostoid Glyptagnostus reticulatus. Coincides with base of large positive carbon-isotope excursion.

Merioneth[edit | edit source]

501 ± 2 to 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

  • Genevievella campbellina occurs in the Upper Cambrian of the United States (Merioneth: Warriorsmark, Huntingdon, Huntingdon; Warrior Formation, near Waddle, Centre County, all Pennsylvania, 40.8° N, 77.9° W)[63]
  • Trilobites,[64] including Crepicephalus, Cedaria, and Llanoaspidella[65]
  • Brachiopods[65]
  • Cryptozoon, a type of trace fossil[64]
  • Stromatolites[66]

Potsdamian[edit | edit source]

501 ± 2 to 488.3 ± 1.7 Ma.

Jiangshanian[edit | edit source]

~494 – ~489.5 Ma.

The upper boundary candidate is the FAD of the Trilobite Lotagnostus americanus.

The Jiangshanian is the middle stage of the Furongian series following the Paibian Stage and is succeeded by the Cambrian Stage 10, with the base defined as the first appearance of the trilobite Agnostotes orientalis which is estimated to be the 494 million years ago, lasting until approximately 489.5 Ma.[67]

The Global Standard Stratotype-Section and Point (GSSP) for the Base of the Jiangshanian Stage was established in 2011.[48]

Sunwaptan[edit | edit source]

Sunwaptan North American Stage, from 493 to 491 Ma.

Upper Millardan

Millardan[edit | edit source]

494.5 to 491 Ma.

The Millardan contains the Sunwaptan and Steptoean.

Aksayan[edit | edit source]

Russian-Kazakhian Stage: Aksayan (493 - 491.5 Ma).

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Trisulcagnostus trisulcus
  2. Lotagnostus scrobicularis
  3. Neoagnostus quadratiformis
  4. Eurudagnostus ovaliformis
  5. Eurudagnostus kazachstanus
  6. Pseudagnostus pseudangustilobis

Plicatolina lucida from the Aksayan Stage, Ogon’or Formation, upper part.[62]

"Cambrian deposits appear on the surface in wings of anticline folds (Chekurovka and Bulkur Anticlines). The Upper Cambrian is represented by most of the upper part of the Ogon’or Formation. In the north of the region, in the Bulkur Anticline, the upper Ogon’or Formation is replaced by dolomites of the Balaganakh Formation (Kembrii Sibiri (Cambrian of Siberia), Repina, L.N. and Rozanov, A.Yu., Eds., Tr. Inst. Geol. Geofiz., Ross. Akad. Nauk, Sib. Otd., no. 788, Novosibirsk: Nauka, 1992). All records of the genus Plicatolina are confined to the upper part of the Ogon’or Forma􏰀tion."[62]

Changshanian[edit | edit source]

Changshanian (496.8 - 492.5) span 4.3 Ma.

The middle stage of the Late Cambrian in China with a span of nearly 4.5 million years, from about 497 to 492.5 Ma.

Festiniogian[edit | edit source]

Festiniogian Regional Stage (Franconian, Changshanian), from 496.8 To 492.5 Ma.

Franconian[edit | edit source]

The Franconian is the middle stage of the Upper or Late Cambrian in North America, equivalent to the Chinese Changshanian with a span of nearly 4.5 million years, from about 497 to 492.5 Ma.

Steptoean[edit | edit source]

Steptoan North American Stage, from 494.5 to 493 Ma.

Lower Millardan

The Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE) was a geological event which occurred ~ 500 Ma. The SPICE event was a positive shift in carbon isotope (Δ13
) values which lasted for around 2 to 4 million years.[68] This shift is interpreted to be a global disturbance in the carbon cycle, affecting both the ocean and atmosphere. Regional sea level changes and trilobite extinctions are associated with the SPICE event, although the exact mechanism(s) driving these events is still unconfirmed.[69][70]

One proposed cause of the SPICE is an increase in the burial of organic carbon, perhaps caused by increased primary productivity or enhanced organic matter preservation due to ocean stratification (i.e. anoxia or euxinia).[71][72]

"The Cambrian Paibian sedimentary succession of the central Australian Amadeus Basin contains a sequence of supratidal to subtidal shallow marine siliciclastic and oolitic, stromatolitic limestones and dolostones. Basin-wide sequence stratigraphy in combination with biostratigraphy revealed the [Glyptagnostus] G. stolidotus Zone within a 3rd-order transgressive systems tract (TST). The westward transgression caused changes from a fluvial-dominated depositional environment towards a shallow-marine oolitic carbonate shoal environment. The eastern succession is dominated by stromatolitic, oolitic carbonate rocks with 2- to 5-m 5th-order shoaling upward cycles with several 4th-order cycles. The change from TST to HST (highstand systems tract) is marked by a maximum flooding surface within the Goyder Formation, which coincides with the peak of the Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE). The SPICE shows a facies-independent, synchronous positive δ13
excursion of 5‰ in a 130 m interval in 8 sections across a ~460 km transect. The SPICE peak is lowest in the nearshore successions (+0.4‰ δ13
), and highest in the platform succession (+4.9‰ δ13
) and is interpreted to be related to the chemical gradient of seawater and mixing of the [dissolved inorganic carbon] DIC with atmospheric CO
-derived (i.e. terrestrial) bicarbonate. The recovery from SPICE is recorded by 4th-order shoaling upward cycles that compose the 3rd-order HST."[73]

Sakian[edit | edit source]

Russia, Kazakhstan age Sakian (494.5 - 493) Ma.

Biostratigraphical zones:[62]

  1. Ivshinagostus ivshini
  2. Oncagnostus longiformis
  3. Glyptagnostus reticulatus

Idamean[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Idamean (497 - 494 Ma).

Ayusokkanian[edit | edit source]

Russian-Kazakhian Stage: Ayusokkanian (501 - 494.5 Ma).

The FAD of Lotagnosthus americanus is the primary stratigraphic tool for correlation of the base for Stage 10.[48]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Glyptagnostus stolidotus
  2. Kormagnostus simplex

Paibian[edit | edit source]

Glyptagnostus reticulatus angelini - holotype is by Allison R. Palmer, 1962. Credit: Allison R. Palmer.{{free media}}

ICS Stage: Paibian (501 - 496 Ma).

The "FAD of Glyptagnostus reticulatus [is the primary stratigraphic tool for correlation of the base] for the Paibian Stage."[48]

Maentwrogian[edit | edit source]

Regional Stage: Maentwrogian (501 - 496.8 Ma).

Dresbachian[edit | edit source]

This figure shows the genus extinction intensity, i.e. the fraction of genera that are present in each interval of time but do not exist in the following interval. Credit: Rursus{{free media}}
A Cedaria minor trilobite, 11 mm, Order Ptychopariida, Family Cedariidae, collected from the Weeks Formation, House Range, Millard County, Utah, USA, from the early Upper Cambrian. Credit: Dwergenpaartje.{{free media}}
A Genevievella granulosa trilobite, 18 mm, Order Ptychopariida, Family Llanoaspididae was collected from the Weeks Formation, House Range, Millard County, Utah, USA, early Upper Cambrian. Credit: Dwergenpaartje.{{free media}}

The Dresbachian is a Maentwrogian regional stage of North America, lasting from 501 to 497 Ma,[74] part of the Upper Cambrian and is defined by four trilobite zones (Cedaria, Crepicephalus, Aphelaspis, and Dunderbergia), overlaps with the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)-stages Guzhangian, Paibian and the lowest Jiangshanian.

The Dresbachian overlies the Middle Cambrian Albertan series, and is the lowest stage of the Upper Cambrian Croixian series, followed by the Franconian stage. The Dresbachian extinction event, about 502 million years ago, was followed by the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event about 485.4 Ma.

  • Cedaria is a small, rather flat trilobite with an oval outline, a headshield and tailshield of approximately the same size, 7 articulating segments in the middle part of the body and spines at the back edges of the headshield that reach halflength of the body, that lived during the early part of the Upper Cambrian (Dresbachian), and is especially abundant in the Weeks Formation.[75]
  • Genevievella simon, Genevievella cuniculaena, Genevievella raggedi and Genevievella campbellina have been found in the Upper Cambrian of Canada (Dresbachian, Rabbitkettle Formation, Yukon, 62.7° N, 128.4° W).[76]
  • Genevievella spinox has been excavated from the Upper Cambrian of the United States (Dresbachian, Coosella zone, Riley Formation, Central Texas, 30.3° N, 97.7° W)[77]
  • Genevievella granulosa, Weeks Formation, House Range, Millard County, Utah, USA, early Upper Cambrian.

Mindyallan[edit | edit source]

Upper Cambrian of Australia: 501 - 497 Ma.

  • Genevievella caelata is known from the Upper Cambrian of Australia (Mindyallan, Upper beds Member, Mungerbar Formation, Glenormiston, Queensland, 22.9° S, 138.8° E).[78]

Marjuman[edit | edit source]

Cambrian Faunas of China include number 4 Bathyuriscus manchuriensis Walcott. Credit: Charles Doolittle Walcott.{{free media}}

North American Stage: Marjuman (504 - 494.5 Ma).

Cedaria-zone lowermost Upper Cambrian

Bathyuriscus is an extinct genus of Cambrian trilobite, a nektobenthic predatory carnivore, endemic to the shallow seas that surrounded Laurentia.[79] Its major characteristics are a large forward-reaching glabella, pointed pleurae or pleurae with very short spines, and a medium pygidium with well-impressed furrows. Complete specimens have never reached the size of 7 cm predicted by the largest pygidium found. Bathyuriscus is often found with the free cheeks shed, indicating a ecdysis (moulted exoskeleton).[80] An average specimen will in addition have a furrowed glabella, crescent-shaped eyes, be semi-circular in overall body shape, have 7 to 9 thoracic segments, and a length of about 1.5 inches.[81]

Guzhangian[edit | edit source]

The image shows exposure of the GSSP for the base of the Guzhangian Stage (coinciding with the FAD of Lejopyge laevigata) in the Huaqiao Formation, Luoyixi section, Guzhang County, Hunan Province, China. Credit: Shanchi Peng, Loren E. Babcock, Jingxun Zuo, Huanling Lin, Xuejian Zhu, Xianfeng Yang, Richard A. Robison, Yuping Qi, Gabriella Bagnoli, and Yong’an Chen.
The image shows an exoskeleton of the cosmopolitan agnostoid trilobite Lejopyge laevigata. Credit: Shanchi Peng et al.

~500.5 – ~497 Ma

The Guzhangian-Paibian boundary is marked by the first appearance of the trilobite Glyptagnostus reticulatus around 497 Ma.[82]

"The Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Guzhangian Stage (Cambrian Series 3) is defined at the base of a limestone (calcisiltite) layer 121.3 m above the base of the Huaqiao Formation in the Louyixi section along the Youshui River (Fengtan Reservoir), about 4 km northwest of Luoyixi (4 km southeast of Wangcun), in northwestern Hunan, China."[83]

"The GSSP level contains the lowest occurrence of the cosmopolitan agnostoid trilobite Lejopyge laevigata [in the image on the left] (base of the L. laevigata Zone)."[83]


  • Glyptagnostus reticulatus zone around 497 Ma.[82]
  • Glyptagnostus stolidotus zone.[84]
  • Lejopyge laevigata zone.[83]
  • Genevievella bigranulosa is present in the Upper Cambrian of China (Guzhangian, Glyptagnostus stolidotus trilobite zone and Paibian, Glyptagnostus reticulatus trilobite zone, both Huaqiao Formation, Hunan, 28.4° N, 109.5° E).[84]

Miaolingian[edit | edit source]

~509 – ~497 Ma.

Upper GSSP acceptance date is 2003.[85]

The Miaolingian lasted from about 509 to 497 Ma and is divided in ascending order into 3 stages: the Wuliuan, Drumian, and Guzhangian.

The most promising fossil markers were seen to be the respective first appearances of either trilobite species Ovatoryctocara granulata or Oryctocephalus indicus,[86] which both have an age close to 509 Ma.[87] After some deliberation, the FAD of Oryctocephalus indicus was chosen to be the lower boundary marker, and the GSSP was placed in Wuliu-Zengjiayan, Guizhou, China.[88]

Miaolingian acceptance date is 2018.[88]

Albertan[edit | edit source]

Albertan, 509 ± 1.0 to 497 ± 1.7 Ma.

In the local North American subdivision, a paleontologist finding fragments of the trilobite Olenellus would identify the beds as being from the Waucoban Stage whereas fragments of a later trilobite such as Elrathia would identify the stage as Albertan.

In some of these subdivisions the Cambrian is divided into three epochs with locally differing names – the Early Cambrian (Caerfai or Waucoban, 541 ± 1.0 to 509 ± 1.7 mya), Middle Cambrian (St Davids or Albertan, 509 ± 1.0 to 497 ± 1.7 mya) and Furongian (497 ± 1.0 to 485.4 ± 1.7 mya; also known as Late Cambrian, Merioneth or Croixan).

Spence Shale[edit | edit source]

Hyolithe is within the Spence Shale. Credit: Mark A. Wilson.{{free media}}

(~507.5-506 Ma)

The Spence Shale, Wuliuan, ~507.5-506 Ma, the middle member of the Langston Formation in southeastern Idaho and northeastern Utah, exposed in the Bear River Range, the Wasatch Range and the Wellsville Mountains, is known for its abundant Cambrian trilobites and the preservation of Burgess Shale-type fossils,[89] type locality: Spence Gulch in southeastern Idaho, near the town of Liberty, first described in 1908,[90] spans the Albertella and Glossopleura biozones.[89]

  • Glossopleura-zone
  • Albertella-zone

Sonoraspis and Albertella[91]

Wheeler Shale[edit | edit source]

Elrathia kingii (trilobite) is from the Wheeler Shale (Middle Cambrian), Utah. Credit: Wilson44691.{{free media}}
Itagnostus interstictus - Wheeler Shale, Utah, USA - Cambrian period (≈ -507 MA) is at 39.25°N 113.33°W. Credit: Parent Géry.{{free media}}
An Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite, Order Ptychopariida, Family Asaphiscidae, 25 mm measured along the axis, Collected from the Wheeler Formation, Millard County, Utah, USA, from the Middle Cambrian (Drumian). Credit: Dwergenpaartje.{{free media}}

(~507 Ma)

Asaphiscus wheeleri occurs in the Middle Cambrian of the United States (Delamaran, Lower Wheeler Shale, Millard County, Utah, 40.0°N, 113.0°W;[92] and Menevian, Wheeler Formation, House Range, Utah, 39.2° N, 113.3° W).[93]

Burgess Shale[edit | edit source]

Trilobites: Bathyuriscus rotundatus and Ogygopsis klotzi are from the Burgess Shale. Credit: Matteo De Stefano/MUSE.{{free media}}
The photo shows the Walcott Quarry Shale Member of the Burgess Shale (Middle Cambrian), British Columbia. Credit: Mark A. Wilson.{{free media}}

Def. a "rock formation in the Canadian Rockies that contains very many fossils from the Cambrian period"[94] is called the Burgess Shale.

The Burgess Shale is a fossil-bearing deposit exposed in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, Canada.[95][96] It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils. At 508 Ma (Wuliuan of the middle Cambrian),[97] it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints.

(~508 Ma)

Bathyuriscus–Elrathina-zone Middle Cambrian

Contemporaneous with the Burgess Shale

Oryctocephalus indicus-zone underlies Burgess Shale.

Eldon Formation[edit | edit source]

The Eldon Formation forms the cliffs of Mount Yamnuska in Alberta. Credit: Chuck Szmurlo.{{free media}}

The Eldon Formation (51°18'8.5°N 115°55'45"W) ~509-500 Ma present on the western edge of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin in the southern Canadian Rockies of southwestern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia,[98] is a thick sequence of massive, cliff-forming limestones and dolomites,[99][90] deposited during Middle Cambrian time, and it includes fossil stromatolites.[99] The Eldon forms the scenic cliffs at the top of Castle Mountain, and can also be seen at Mount Yamnuska and other mountains in Banff National Park and Yoho National Parks.[100]

The Eldon Formation was deposited during the Middle Cambrian, originally formed as limestone and calcareous mudstone in the intertidal to supratidal zone along the western margin of the Laurentia (North American Craton),[98][101] subsequently by dolomitization altered to dolomite and dolomitic mudstone in some areas.[99]

The Eldon Formation reaches a maximum thickness of about 500 metres (1,640 feet) at Mount Bosworth on the Alberta-British Columbia border conformably overlies the Stephen Formation, which hosts the fossils of the Burgess shale, in the south, and the Snake Indian Formation in the north, is conformably overlain by the Pika Formation, grades into the Earlie Formation to the east, the Chancellor Formation to the west, and the Titkana Formation to the north. It is probably equivalent to the Windsor Mountain Formation to the south.[99][98][102]

Drumian[edit | edit source]

Correlation chart of the Cambrian shows the new global chronostratigraphic stage (Drumian; column at left) compared to regional usage in major areas of the world. Credit: Loren E. Babcock, Richard A. Robison, Margaret N. Rees, Shanchi Peng, and Matthew R. Saltzman.

~504.5 – ~500.5 Ma

The "FAD of Ptychagnostus atavus [is the primary stratigraphic tool for correlation of the base (GSSP)] for the Drumian Stage".[85]

"The Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Drumian Stage (Cambrian Series 3) is defined at the base of a limestone (calcisiltite) layer 62 m above the base of the Wheeler Formation in the Stratotype Ridge section, Drum Mountains, Utah, USA. The GSSP level contains the lowest occurrence of the cosmopolitan agnostoid trilobite Ptychagnostus atavus (base of the P. atavus Zone)."[103]

Middle Cambrian[edit | edit source]

. Credit: TheoricienQuantique.{{free media}}

The Middle Cambrian corresponds to the Miaolingian.

Epoch: Middle Cambrian (513 - 501 Ma).

Ptychagnostus is a member of the Agnostida that lived during the Cambrian, did not exceed one centimetre in length.[104] Their remains are rarely found in empty tubes of the polychaete worm Selkirkia.[105] The genus probably ranged throughout the water column, had two glabellar lobes, and three pygidial lobes.[106]

Ptychagnostus punctuosus-zone[54]

  • Ptychagnostus punctuosus (Type species).
  • Ptychagnostus affinis (formerly Pt. punctuosus affinis)
  • Ptychagnostus aculeatus
  • Ptychagnostus akanthodes
  • Ptychagnostus atavus
  • Ptychagnostus cassis
  • Ptychagnostus ciceroides
  • Ptychagnostus cuyanus
  • Ptychagnostus germanus
  • Ptychagnostus gibbus
  • Ptychagnostus hybridus
  • Ptychagnostus intermedius
  • Ptychagnostus michaeli
  • Ptychagnostus praecurrens
  • Ptychagnostus seminula

Mayan[edit | edit source]

Russian-Kazakhian Stage: Mayan (502 - 501 Ma).


  1. Peronopsis earliest Mayan (~497.5 Ma) to earliest Batyrbayan (~497.0 Ma)
  2. Peronopsis bonnerensis = Pentagnostus (Meragostus) bonnerensis - zone
  3. Lejopyge laevigataAldanaspis truncata[62]
  4. Anomocarioides limbataeformis[62]
  5. Corynexochus perforatusAnopolenus henrici[62]

Boomerangian[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Boomerangian (504 - 501 Ma).

The Boomerangian is the upper level of the Middle Cambrian in Australia.

Zhungxian[edit | edit source]

Chinese Stage: Zhungxian (505 - 501 Ma).

Undillian[edit | edit source]

Australian age: Undillian (506 - 504 Ma).

Gushanian[edit | edit source]

Chinese Stage: Zhungxian (596.8 - 501 Ma).

St. David's[edit | edit source]

European epoch (513 ± 2 - 501 ± 2) Ma.

Amgan[edit | edit source]

Amgan Russian-Kazakhian Stage (Solvan), from 513 ± 2 to 502 Ma.

"The Lower Cambrian carbonate sequence ends with the 160-m-thick Upper Toyonian Barangol Formation, the age which is based on calcareous algae, archaeocyatids and trilobites (Zybin et al., 2000). It is uncorformably overlain by the Ust’-Sema Formation, a 1,000-m-thick basaltic sequence displaying thick conglomerates at its base, containing blocks of limestones with a similar fauna to the one identified in the Cheposh Formation (Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Pseudanomocarina
  2. Kounamkites
  3. Schistocephalus

Zuzhungian[edit | edit source]

Chinese age: Zuzhungian (509 - 503 Ma).

Delamaran[edit | edit source]

North American Stage: Delamaran (512 - 504 Ma).

The Delamaran is the North American equivalent of the Amgan of Russia.

Wuliuan[edit | edit source]

Observed stratigraphic distribution of trilobites in the lower Wheeler Formation near the base of the Ptychagnostus atavus Zone, Stratotype Ridge section, Drum Mountains, Utah, USA, is modified from Babcock et al., 2004. Credit: Loren E. Babcock, Richard A. Robison, Margaret N. Rees, Shanchi Peng, and Matthew R. Saltzman.
Key agnostoid trilobite species are used for recognition of the base of the Drumian Stage. Credit: Loren E. Babcock, Richard A. Robison, Margaret N. Rees, Shanchi Peng, and Matthew R. Saltzman.

~509 – ~504.5 Ma


Starts at the base of the Drumian stage.[107]

"The polymerid trilobites Ptychoparella (incorporating Elrathina as a junior synonym) and Elrathia have long stratigraphic ranges (Robison, 1964a, 1964b, 1976; Babcock, 1994a) that extend from stage 5 into the lower part of the Drumian Stage (White, 1973) and provide little help in constraining the base of the Drumian."[103]

On the right are images of key agnostoid trilobite species used for recognition of the base of the Drumian Stage.

"A, Ptychagnostus gibbus (Linnarsson), dorsal exoskeleton in shale, x 8.4, from the Wheeler Formation, c. 25 m above base, south side of Swasey Peak, House Range, Utah (R. A. Robison locality 157); KUMIP 153949. B, Ptychagnostus atavus (Tullberg), cephalon in limestone showing scrobiculate genae, x 8.1, from the Wheeler Formation, 27 m above base, House Range, Utah (R. A. Robison locality 196); KUMIP 153830. C, P. atavus (Tullberg), pygidium in limestone, x 7.8, from same locality as specimen in Figure 6B; KUMIP 153933. D, P. atavus (Tullberg), dorsal exoskeleton from shale with cone-in-cone calcite encrusting ventral surface, x 8.1 from the Wheeler Formation, c. 100 below top, “Swasey Spring quarry”, east flank of House Range, Utah (R. A. Robison locality 114); KUMIP 153930."[103]

The "Cambrian lobopodian (panarthropod) worm Hallucigenia sparsa [is] from the Burgess Shale (Cambrian Series 3, Stage 5)."[108]

Florian[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Florian (508 - 506 Ma).

Templetonian[edit | edit source]

Templetonian Australian Stage, from 510 to 508 Ma.

Bright Angel Shale[edit | edit source]

Grand Canyon, Mather point, at the Grand Canyon. (View centered on Sumner Butte, at southeast terminus of Bright Angel Canyon, intersecting with Granite Gorge-(on the Tonto Platform). Credit: Szumyk.{{free media}}
Bright Angel Shale sites
Isis Temple
Relative long distance photo of Isis Temple (adjacent prominence is Tiyo Point, of the North Rim). Credit: Luca Galuzzi.{{free media}}
Canyon into Granite Gorge
The entire Tonto Group 3-unit sequence is visible above the Colorado River (side intersecting canyon to Granite Gorge). Credit: brewbooks from near Seattle, USA.{{free media}}
View from Komo Point Trail
(From Komo Point)-Sloping Supai Group redbeds upon Redwall Limestone cliffs and horizontal platforms on the Muav Limestone on (white)-greenish (slopes) of the Bright Angel Shale. Credit: brewbooks from near Seattle, USA.{{free media}}

The three units of the Tonto Group and the colorful Bright Angel Shale are easily identified as a geological sequence beneath the tall cliffs of the Redwall Limestone (the Redwall sits upon a short resistant cliff of Muav Limestone); the Tonto Group is also easily seen beside Granite Gorge of the Colorado River and the Vishnu Basement Rocks
The units of the Tonto Group:[109]

  • Redwall Limestone
  • Temple Butte Formation, Devonian – (409–363 Ma), channel deposits upon Muav Limestone
  • Tonto Group (3 units) (~544–505 Ma)
    • (3) Muav Limestone[110]
    • (2) Bright Angel Shale
    • (1) Tapeats Sandstone[111]

The eastern version of the Pioche shale can be found eastwards in the Grand Canyon, as the Bright Angel Shale.[112]

The Cambrian Bright Angel Shale is the middle layer of the three member Tonto Group geologic feature. The 3-rock Tonto section famously sits upon the Great Unconformity because of the highly resistant cliffs of the base layer, vertical Tapeats Sandstone cliffs.

The Bright Angel Shale is easily identified for two reasons: its soft-greenish color stands out against the browns, reds, and whites of neighboring rock units, and its slope-forming character against mostly cliff-forming resistant rocks.

The Bright Angel Shale is about 500 feet (152 m) thick at its maximum.[109] It is a nonresistant slope-forming unit. The Bright Angel Shale consists of green and purple-red, siltstone and shale which is interbedded with red-brown to brown sandstone that is similar in lithology to the underlying Tapeats.[113] The Bright Angel Shale underlies and interfingers with Muav Limestone. The Bright Angel Shale is located in the lower elevations of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.[114] The Bright Angel Shale preserves fossils dating back to the Cambrian.[115]

Pioche Shale[edit | edit source]

The Pioche Shale is an Early to Middle Cambrian Burgess shale-type Lagerstätte in Nevada.[116]

It spans the Early–Middle Cambrian boundary; fossils from the Early Cambrian are preserved in botryoidal hematite, whereas those from the Middle Cambrian are preserved in the more familiar carbon films, and very reminiscent of the Chengjiang County preservation.[116]

It preserves arthropods and worms familiar from the Burgess Shale.[117]

It spans the early Cambrian Olenellus and basal Middle Cambrian Eokochaspis nodosa trilobite zones.[117]

Eokochaspis zone

Lower-Middle Cambrian Boundary Interval.[118]

The lower Middle Cambrian[119]

Lower Cambrian[edit | edit source]

541.0 ± 1.0 – ~509 Ma.

"The Lower Cambrian carbonate sequence ends with the 160-m-thick Upper Toyonian Barangol Formation, the age which is based on calcareous algae, archaeocyatids and trilobites (Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

The Lower Cambrian consists of the Cambrian Series 2 and the Terreneuvian.

In Baltoscandia a Lower Cambrian transgression transformed large swathes of the Sub-Cambrian peneplain into an epicontinental sea.[120]

Early Cambrian[edit | edit source]

In some subdivisions the Cambrian is divided into three epochs with locally differing names; e.g. the Early Cambrian (Caerfai or Waucoban, 541 ± 1.0 to 509 ± 1.7 mya).

Early Cambrian Epoch (Lower Cambrian, Caerfai, Waucoban, Georgian), from 542 ± 0.3 to 513 ± 2 Ma. Start Defined By: Trace fossil, lowest occurrence of Treptichnus (Phycodes) pedum. Near base of negative carbon-isotope excursion.

Maozhangian[edit | edit source]

China stage Maozhangian (513 - 509).

Stage 4[edit | edit source]

~514 – ~509 Ma.

The lower boundary may be the first appearance datum of two trilobite genera, Olenellus or Redlichia or the first appearance of the trilobite species Arthricocephalus chauveaui,[121] which set the lower boundary close to 514 Ma.[87] The upper boundary corresponds to the beginning of the Wuliuan.

Olenellus zone (top of the Lower Cambrian)

The Olenellus-zone has traditionally marked the top of the Lower Cambrian.[122]

Subdivision of the Olenellus-zone

Recently, it has been proposed to subdivide the Olenellus-zone.[123]

The following zones have been proposed to replace the Upper Olenellus-zone. Each lower boundary is defined by the first occurrence of the naming species. Each upper boundary is defined by the first occurrence of the naming species of the overlying zone. In case of the youngest zone, this is Eokochaspis nodosa, that also marks the base of the Wuliuan.

  • Nephrolenellus multinodus-zone (youngest).

Species: Nephrolenellus multinodus (lower half), Mesonacis fremonti, Olenellus terminatus Sensu and its common qualifiers (s.l.), Olenellus puertoblancoensis s.l., Olenellus fowleri s.l., Olenellus gilberti, Bolbolenellus brevispinus (not the lower part), Olenellus chiefensis (upper half), Olenellus sp.1 (upper half), Nephrolenellus geniculatus (upper part), Olenellus sp.2 (upper part), Olenellus howelli (very uppermost part).

  • Bolbolenellus euryparia-zone.

Species: Bolbolenellus euryparia (lower half), Mesonacis fremonti, Bristolia fragilis s.l. (lower half), Olenellus terminatus s.l., Olenellus fowleri s.l., Olenellus puertoblancoensis s.l., Olenellus gilberti (uppermost part), Biceratops nevadensis (uppermost part), Bristolia brachyomma (very uppermost part).

  • Peachella iddingsi-zone

Species: Peachella iddingsi (lower half), Mesonacis fremonti, Olenellus nevadensis (lower part), Bristolia anteros (lowest half), Bristolia fragilis s.l., Olenellus terminatus s.l., Paranephrolenellus besti (very short period in the late lower part), Peachella brevispina (middle part).

  • Bristolia insolens-zone

Species: Bristolia insolens (lower half), Mesonacis fremonti, Olenellus nevadensis, Olenellus clarki, Olenellus sp.3, Paranephrolenellus klondykensis (lowest part), Bristolia harringtoni (middle part), Bristolia bristolensis (lower half), Bristolia anteros (not lowest part), Bristolia fragilis s.l. (upper half), Paranephrolenellus inflatus (very short interval in the middle), Eopeachella angustispina (uppermost part).

  • Bristolia mohavensis-zone

Species: Bristolia mohavensis (lower half), Mesonacis fremonti, Olenellus nevadensis, Olenellus clarki, Olenellus sp.3, Bristolia harringtoni (middle part), Bristolia bristolensis (upper half).

  • Arcuolenellus arcuatus-zone (oldest)

Species: Arcuolenellus arcuatus (lowest part), Arcuolenellus aff. megafrontatis (lower half), Mesonacis cylindricus (not the highest part), Olenellus nevadensis, Olenellus clarki (not lowest part), Mesonacis fremonti (upper half), Olenellus sp.3 (upper part).

Cambrian Series 2[edit | edit source]

~521 – ~509 Ma.

Cambrian Series 2 corresponds to the Toyonian down to the Atdabanian and to Cambrian Stage 4 and Stage 3.

Ordian[edit | edit source]

Australian Stage: Ordian (520 - 510 Ma).

Dyeran[edit | edit source]

North American Stage: Dyeran (524.5 - 512 Ma).

"The upper Dyeran Latham Shale—Chambless Limestone—Cadiz Formation succession of the Marble Mountains and Providence Mountains [...] is considered cratonic because it is separated from the erosional contact with Precambrian basement by only a relatively thin quartzite and siltstone interval (Stewart, 1970; Palmer, 1971; Nelson, 1976)."[123]

"Six new biostratigraphic zones are established within the upper part of the Dyeran Stage: the Arcuolenellus arcuatus (oldest), Bristolia mohavensis, Bristolia insolens, Peachella iddingsi, Bolbolenellus euryparia, and Nephrolenellus multinodus (youngest) zones. The base of each zone is defined by the first appearance datum of the eponymous species. Sequence stratigraphic analysis reveals the presence of four depositional sequences within the upper Dyeran of the southern Great Basin. Sequence boundaries are often marked by erosion surfaces within successions deposited on the craton and the inner and middle shelf, but do not show strong association with observed range ends of olenelloid species and do not correspond to zonal boundaries within the upper Dyeran. Sequence I spans the A. arcuatus Zone to the lowermost Bo. euryparia Zone; Sequence II is contained entirely within the Bo. euryparia Zone; Sequence III spans the upper part of the Bo. euryparia Zone and lower part of the N. multinodus Zone; and Sequence IV corresponds to the upper part of the N. multinodus Zone."[123]

  1. Nephrolenellus multinodus
  2. Bolbolenellus euryparia
  3. Peachella iddingsi
  4. Bristolia insolens
  5. Bristolia mohavensis
  6. Arcuolenellus arcuatus

The Dyeran overlies the Montezuman in North America.

Latham Shale[edit | edit source]

Bristolia trilobite zone, Latham Shale Formation, Dyeran (516.0 - 513.0 Ma).

Trilobites found throughout the Latham Shale are from the Bristolia subzone of the Bonnia-Olenellus Zone, indicating that the Latham Shale belongs to the upper Dyeran Stage of the Waucoban Series.

Longwangmioan[edit | edit source]

China Stage, from 518 to 513 Ma.

Toyonian[edit | edit source]

Toyonian Russian-Kazakhian Stage, from 518.5 to 513 ± 2 Ma.

"Trilobite associations found in [the Shashkunar] Formation belong to the Lower Toyonian ParapoliellaOnchocefalina zone. Archaeocyathids and brachiopods found in this formation suggest a wider, but compatible, Botomian to Toyonian age (Zybin et al., 2000). The Lower Cambrian carbonate sequence ends with the 160-m-thick Upper Toyonian Barangol Formation, the age which is based on calcareous algae, archaeocyatids and trilobites (Zybin et al., 2000). It is uncorformably overlain by the Ust’-Sema Formation, a 1,000-m-thick basaltic sequence displaying thick conglomerates at its base, containing blocks of limestones with a similar fauna to the one identified in the Cheposh Formation (Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

"The up to 700-m-thick Cheposh Formation, composed of massive limestones made of archaeocyathid biohermes, overlies conformably the Shashkunar Formation. Trilobite associations found in this Formation belong to the Lower Toyonian Parapoliella–Onchocefalina zone. Archaeocyathids and brachiopods found in this formation suggest a wider, but compatible, Botomian to Toyonian age (Zybin et al., 2000). The Lower Cambrian carbonate sequence ends with the 160-m-thick Upper Toyonian Barangol Formation, the age which is based on calcareous algae, archaeocyatids and trilobites (Zybin et al., 2000). It is uncorformably overlain by the Ust’-Sema Formation, a 1,000-m-thick basaltic sequence displaying thick conglomerates at its base, containing blocks of limestones with a similar fauna to the one identified in the Cheposh Formation (Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Anabaraspis splendens
  2. Lermontovia grandis
  3. Bergeroniellus ketemensis

Lenian[edit | edit source]

Regional Stage: Lenian (524 - 513 Ma).

Waucoban[edit | edit source]

Early Cambrian Epoch (Lower Cambrian, Caerfai, Waucoban, Georgian), from 542 ± 0.3 To 513 ± 2 Ma. Start Defined By: Trace fossil, lowest occurrence of Treptichnus (Phycodes) pedum. Near base of negative carbon-isotope excursion.

In North America, the Lower Cambrian is called the Waucoban series that is then subdivided into zones based on the succession of trilobites.

In East Asia and Siberia, the same unit is split into Alexian, Atdabanian, and Botomian stages.

Caerfai[edit | edit source]

Early Cambrian Epoch (Lower Cambrian, Caerfai, Waucoban, Georgian), from 542 ± 0.3 to 513 ± 2 Ma. Start Defined By: Trace fossil, lowest occurrence of Treptichnus (Phycodes) pedum. Near base of negative carbon-isotope excursion.

Stage 3[edit | edit source]

~521 – ~514 Ma.

The FAD of trilobites is the primary stratigraphic tool for correlation of the base for Stage 3.[121]

Changlangpuan[edit | edit source]

Changlangpuan Chinese Stage, from 523 to 518 Ma.

The Changlangpuan in China is comparable to the Botomian in Russia or Kazakhian.

Botomian[edit | edit source]

Botomian Russian-Kazakhian Stage, from 524 to 518.5 Ma.

The end-Botomian mass extinction event, also known as the late early Cambrian extinctions, refer to two extinction intervals that occurred during Stages 4 and 5 of the Cambrian Period, approximately 513 to 509 million years ago. Estimates for the decline in global diversity over these events range from 50% of marine genera[124] up to 80%.[125] Among the organisms affected by this event were the small shelly fossils, Archaeocyatha (archaeocyathids) (an extinct group of sponges), trilobites, brachiopods, Hyolitha (hyoliths), and Mollusca (mollusks).[124][126][127][128]

"The Botomian age is based essentially on trilobites (ParapagetiaSerrodiscus zone), but also on archaeocyathids".[44]

"Relatively well-preserved polycystine Radiolaria are [...] described from Lower Cambrian (Botomian) strata of the Shashkunar Formation, Altai Mountains in southern Siberia (Russia)."[44]

"The Shashkunar Formation, a 500 m thick Lower Cambrian sequence of essentially carbonate rocks, overlies unconformably the Manzherok Formation and displays at its base a thick sequence of conglomerates. It is composed essentially of thin-bedded grey to dark grey limestones with interbedded nodular chert levels which become more frequent towards the top of the Formation."[44]

"These radiolarians display a test formed of a disorderly and three-dimensionally interwoven meshwork of numerous straight and curved bars branching from a five-rayed point-centered spicule located within the inner shell surface. The shell structure allows their assignment to the family Archeoentactiniidae, thus extending the known age range of the family down to the Lower Cambrian."[44]

The "material obtained from Altai attests that the earliest representatives of the family Archeoentactiniidae originated during or before the Botomian."[44]

"[M]icrofossil material from nodular cherts of Botomian slope carbonates of the Shashkunar Formation can be assigned to the Archeoentactiniid family."[44]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Bergeroniaspis ornata
  2. Bergeroniellus asiaticusi
  3. Bergeroniellus ketemensis
  4. Bergeroniellus gurari
  5. Bergeroniellus micmacciformisErbiella

Heatherdale Shale[edit | edit source]

A bentonite/volcanic tuff bed in the Heatherdale Shale dates to 522 million years ago. Credit: James St. John.{{free media}}
Structurally-tilted mudrocks are in the Cambrian of South Australia. Credit: James St. John.{{free media}}

Heatherdale Shale is in the upper Normanville Group, mid-Botomian Stage, upper Lower Cambrian.

One soft-bodied fossil has been discovered from this site - a poorly-preserved Isoxys valve was cracked out in the lab. Isoxys is a nonmineralizing bivalved arthropod known only from Lower and Middle Cambrian rocks.

"Only two of several tuffaceous horizons from the Stansbury and Arrowie Basins have been dated (i) a date of 522.0 ± 2.1 Ma from the Heatherdale Shale of the Stansbury Basin, about 400 m above latest Atdabanian archaeocyathids and (ii) a date of 522.0 ± 1.8 Ma from the lower part of the Billy Creek Formation in the Arrowie Basin. Neither date is regarded as reliable."[129]

"In the Stansbury Basin, Cooper et al. (1992) produced a mean 206 Pb/238 U Sensitive High Mass Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) age of 526 ± 4 Ma with standard SL13 on zircons separated from a tuff bed within the upper part of the Heatherdale Shale at Sellicks Hill, Fleurieu Peninsula. Further analysis, plus new zircon data, enabled Jenkins et al. (2002) to revise this age to 522 ± 2.0 Ma. However, this age is not very well biostratigraphically constrained in the area of outcrop. It is overlain unconformably by the thick (∼8–10 km), predominantly flyschoid sediments of the Kanmantoo Group that contains very few, poorly preserved trilobites and brachiopods (Jago and Haines, 1997). The Kanmantoo Group is intruded by an early syntectonic granitoid known as the Rathjen Gneiss, which has a U–Pb date of 514 ± 4 Ma (Foden et al., 1999)."[129]

"The tuff horizon is quite close to the only known trilobite fauna within the Heatherdale Shale. This comprises a few poorly preserved specimens of the trilobite Atops briandailyi (Jago et al., 1984; Jenkins and Hasenohr, 1989; Jenkins et al., 2002). The tuff horizon is over 400 m stratigraphically higher than the only reasonably well constrained biostratigraphic horizon in the Fleurieu Peninsula Cambrian succession. This horizon contains archaeocyaths in the top of the Sellick Hill Formation and the bottom part of the Fork Tree Limestone that Zhuravlev and Gravestock (1994) considered to be latest Atdabanian. Based on both biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy, Gravestock (1995) correlated the Heatherdale Shale with the biostratigraphically controlled successions of Yorke Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges. He suggested that the Heatherdale Shale should be correlated with the Mernmerna Formation and Oraparinna Shale that contain Pararaia janeae Zone (equivalent to the Botoman) trilobites in the Central Flinders Ranges."[129]

"With respect to Yorke Peninsula, Gravestock (1995) correlated the upper Heatherdale Shale to the upper part of the Koolywurtie Member of the Parara Limestone; this contains archaeocyaths of the Syringocnema favus beds, implying a middle to late Botoman age (Zhuravlev and Gravestock, 1994). This is supported by the work of Zhou and Whitford (1994) who reported a U–Pb age of 525 ± 8 Ma with standard SL13 from a felsic tuff within the Cymbric Vale Formation of western New South Wales; Jenkins et al. (2002) recalculated this age to 517.8 ± 2.1 Ma. Both archaeocyath (Zhuravlev and Gravestock, 1994) and trilobite faunas (Jago et al., 1997; Paterson, 2005) from the Cymbric Vale Formation support a mid to late Botoman age."[129]

"Gravestock and Shergold (2001) reported a SHRIMP age of 522.8 ± 1.8 Ma (SL13 standard) from the lower part of the Billy Creek Formation in the Arrowie Basin. It should be noted that the value of SHRIMP dates based on the SL13 standard has been questioned by Black et al. (1997) because of doubts as to the reliability of this standard (see also Jago and Haines, 1998; Paterson, 2005). In the Warburton Basin, Sun (1998) quoted an unpublished U–Pb zircon dating of 517 ± 9 Ma from the Mooracoochie Volcanics that unconformably lie below the fossiliferous succession."[129]

Terreneuvian[edit | edit source]

541.0 ± 1.0 – ~521 Ma.

The Terreneuvian Series includes Cambrian Stage 2 and the Fortunian Stage.[121]

Stage 2[edit | edit source]

Hallucigenia sparsa is from the Burgess Shale. Credit: Jean-Bernard Caron, Martin R. Smith, and Thomas H. P. Harvey.

~529 – ~521 Ma.

"Hallucigeniids are [...] an important and widespread component of disparate Cambrian communities from late in the Terreneuvian (Cambrian Stage 2) through the ‘middle’ Cambrian (Series 3); their apparent decline in the latest Cambrian may be partly taphonomic. The cone-in-cone construction of hallucigeniid sclerites is shared with the sclerotized cuticular structures (jaws and claws) in modern onychophorans."[108]

In the image on the right "Hallucigenia sparsa [is] from the Burgess Shale: (a,b) Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) 83935 (holotype), articulated specimen, showing seven pairs of spines, partially decayed towards the rear, presumed head to the right. (a) composite image of part and counterpart; (b) enlargement of the basal part of the spines; (c,d) Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) 61513, complete specimen showing seven pairs of spines and backscatter image of boxed area (d); (e–i) ROM 57776, backscatter images (overview and close-ups of boxed areas) of spine showing four internal cones and lineations; (g) ROM 61513, backscatter image showing lineations and a distal cone; (j–o) ROM 62269, backscatter images of several spines, showing elemental distribution of carbon (l) and phosphorous (m) and details of ornamentation near spines’ mid-length (n) and base (o) (arrows indicate local disturbances in the rhomboid pattern); (p) ROM 61513, backscatter image showing details of ornamentation showing scales in positive relief (top left) and negative relief below the carbon film. Ba, basal region of spines; C, cone; Li, lineations. Scale bars: (a–d) 1000 µm; (e,j–m) 100 µm; (f–i) 50 µm; (n–p) 10 µm."[108]

Atdabanian[edit | edit source]

Nevadella eucharis is from the Lower Cambrian: Mahto formation. Credit: Charles Doolittle Walcott.{{free media}}

Russian-Kazakhian Stage: Atdabanian (530 - 524 Ma).

"Lower Cambrian (Atdabanian) material [is] from the Batenev Ridge, West Siberia (Russia)."[44]

"[S]ponge spicules and protoconodonts, characteristic of the Upper Atdabanian and Botomian stages, as well as radiolarians were found in the siliceous mudstone lenses of this formation (Obut and Iwata, 2000, Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]


  • Nevadella eucharis is known from the Middle Member of the Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada, USA.[130]
  • Nevadella keelensis is known from the Sekwi Formation, Northwest Territories, Canada.[131][132]
  • Nevadella mountjoyi is known from the Mural Formation, north slope of Mount Mumm, Alberta, Canada.[133]
  • Nevadella perfecta is known from the Mahto Formation, Mumm Peak on the west side of Hitka Pass, western Alberta, Canada.[134]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. JudomiaUktaspis (Prouktaspis)
  2. Delgadella anabara
  3. Repinaella
  4. Profallotaspis jakutensis

Montezuman[edit | edit source]

Montezuman North American Stage, from 529.5 to 524.5 Ma.

  1. Nevadella eucharis and/or Nevadella perfecta
  2. Nevadia addyensis
  3. Avefallotaspis Maria
  4. Grandinasus patula
  5. Esmeraldina rowei

Qungzusian[edit | edit source]

Qungzusian Chinese Stage, from 532 to 523 Ma.

Fortunian[edit | edit source]

541.0 ± 1.0 – ~529 Ma.

The FAD of Trichophycus pedum is the primary stratigraphic tool for correlation of the base (GSSP) for the Fortunian Stage.[121]

Tommotian[edit | edit source]

Tommotian Russian-Kazakhian Stage, from 534 to 530 Ma.

Manzherok Formation[edit | edit source]

"The Manzherok Formation is essentially a thick (up to 1,250 m) sequence of Lower Cambrian basaltic lavas that overly unconformably the Baratal Formation. Blocks of brecciated silicified carbonate rocks which reflect accumulation in a slope depositional environment are present in places. They contain algae, microphytoliths and sponge spicules (Safonova et al., 2011, Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

Biostratigraphic zones:[62]

  1. Dokidocyathus lenaicusTumuliolinthus primigenius
  2. Dokidocyathus regularis
  3. Nochoroicyathus sunnaginicus

Meishuchuan[edit | edit source]

Treptichnus pedum fossil marks the Cambrian-Ediacaran GSSP. Credit: Martin Smith.{{free media}}

Chinese Stage: Meishuchuan (542 - 532 Ma).

Nemakit-Daldynian[edit | edit source]

Nemakit-Daldynian Russian-Kazakhian Stage, from 542 ± 0.3 To 534 Ma. Start Defined By: Trace fossil, lowest occurrence of Treptichnus (Phycodes) pedum. Near base of negative carbon-isotope excursion.

"The Vendian-Cambrian sequence that crops out along the Katun’ River (northern Gorny Altai, Katun’ zone) is mainly composed of a thick sequence of biogenic carbonate sedimentary rocks that accumulated on shallow marine depositional environments of a basaltic plateau. They belong to two laterally coeval formations, which may reach 1000 m in thickness: the Baratal Formation, made essentially of thick-bedded partly stromatolitc limestones, underlain by black shales, and the Eskongo Formation, made of dark colored dolomites and limestones with some intercalations of chert [...]. These oldest parts of the Katun sedimentary sequence are considered as Vendian to Early Cambrian (Tommotian) in age; the Baratal Formation contains microphytolites of a Vendian age (Buslov et al., 1993, Zybin and Sergeev, 1978)."[44]

Baratal Formation[edit | edit source]

The "Baratal Formation [is] made essentially of thick-bedded partly stromatolitc limestones".[44]

The "Baratal Formation contains microphytolites of a Vendian age (Buslov et al., 1993, Zybin and Sergeev, 1978)."[44]

Eskongo Formation[edit | edit source]

"The Eskongo Formation contains microphytolites, calcareous algae and shelly microfauna characteristic of a Vendian-Early Cambrian age (Terleev, 1991). A lot of sponge spicules (Protospongia sp. and Chancelloria sp. and specimens of Monaxonellida, Hexactinellida and Tetraxonida) were also identified in the siliceous levels of this Formation (Zybin et al., 2000)."[44]

Precambrian[edit | edit source]

Precambrian (4567.17 - 542 Ma).


  1. "the time and geology dated before the Phanerozoic"[135] or
  2. the "eon (or supereon) and rock formations dated before 541.0±1.0 million years ago, coinciding with the first appearance of the fossils of hard-shelled animals"[135]

is called the precambrian.

Usage notes[135]

  • The International Commission on Stratigraphy, which attempts to standardize the vocabulary of the field, is revising the boundaries between time periods based on physical-science methods rather than the kinds of fossils present.
  • The boundary between the Precambrian and the Phanerozoic has been changed from time to time and will be subject to change.

Poundian[edit | edit source]

Australian stage Poundian (570 - 542 ± 0.3) Ma.

Hypotheses[edit | edit source]

  1. Each time frame or span of time in geochronology has at least one dating technique.
  2. Late Ordovician and Upper Ordovician are different time frames.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mike Walker; Sigfus Johnsen; Sune Olander Rasmussen; Trevor Popp; Jørgen-Peder Steffensen; Phil Gibbard; Wim Hoek; John Lowe et al. (2009). "Formal definition and dating of the GSSP (Global Stratotype Section and Point) for the base of the Holocene using the Greenland NGRIP ice core, and selected auxiliary records". Journal of Quaternary Science 24 (1): 3-17. doi:10.1002/jqs.1227. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  2. Names from local versions of the geologic timescale can often be found in the local language. The English name is usually found by replacing the suffix in the local language for -an or -ian. Examples for "local" suffices are -en (French), -ano (Spanish), -ium (German), -aidd (Welsh) or -aan (Flemish Dutch). The English name "Norian", for example, becomes Noriano in Spanish, Norium in German, Noraidd in Welsh or Norien in French.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Time is given in Megaannum (million years BP, unless other units are given in the table. BP stands for "years before present". For ICS-units the absolute ages are taken from Gradstein et al. (2004).
  4. 4.0 4.1 This name is often still used in a chronostratigraphic or geochronologic sense, although it is now officially a lithostratigraphic unit.
  5. Blatt, Harvey and Robert J. Tracy, Petrology, Freeman, 1996, 2nd ed. pp. 345–349 ISBN 0-7167-2438-3
  6. Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G. (2004). A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge University Press. 
  7. The Nonmarine Permian: Volume 30 of Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, page 48. Editors Spencer G. Lucas, Kate E. Zeigler, 2005
  8. Davydov, V.I.; Glenister, B.F.; Spinosa, C.; Ritter, S.M.; Chernykh, V.V.; Wardlaw, B.R. and Snyder, W.S. (1998). "Proposal of Aidaralash as Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for base of the Permian System". Episodes 21 (1): 11–18. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Montañez, Isabel P.; Poulsen, Christopher J. (2013-05-30). "The Late Paleozoic Ice Age: An Evolving Paradigm". Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 41 (1): 629–656. doi:10.1146/ ISSN 0084-6597. 
  10. Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press
  11. Gradstein, Felix M.; James G. Ogg; Alan G. Smith (2005). A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge University Press. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-521-78673-7. 
  12. Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G. (2004). A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge University Press. 
  13. Davydov, V.I.; Glenister, B.F.; Spinosa, C.; Ritter, S.M.; Chernykh, V.V.; Wardlaw, B.R. & Snyder, W.S. (1998). "Proposal of Aidaralash as Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for base of the Permian System". Episodes 21 (1): 11-18. Archived on 2007-09-28. Error: If you specify |archivedate=, you must also specify |archiveurl=. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  14. Chernykh, V.V.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Schmitz, M. & Snyder, W.S. (2006). "Usolka section (southern Urals, Russia): a potential candidate for GSSP to define the base of the Gzhelian Stage in the global chronostratigraphic scale". Geologija 49 (2): 205–217. Archived on 2007-12-14. Error: If you specify |archivedate=, you must also specify |archiveurl=. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  15. Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G. (2004). A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge University Press. 
  16. Sahney, S., Benton, M.J. & Falcon-Lang, H.J. (2010). "Rainforest collapse triggered Pennsylvanian tetrapod diversification in Euramerica". Geology 38 (12): 1079–1082. doi:10.1130/G31182.1. 
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