Original paper

History and current status of the Pennsylvanian chronostratigraphic units: problems of definition and interregional correlation

Wagner, Robert H.; Winkler Prins, Cor F.

Newsletters on Stratigraphy Volume 49 Number 2 (2016), p. 281 - 320

published: Apr 1, 2016

DOI: 10.1127/nos/2016/0073

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP026004902000, Price: 29.00 €

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The history of Pennsylvanian chronostratigraphic units is analysed, starting with the West European stages and substages as discussed in the international congresses of Carboniferous Stratigraphy (from 1927 onwards) and, later (from 1952), by the IUGS Subcommission on Carboniferous Stratigraphy (SCCS). An increasingly more international approach led to a "global" stratigraphic subdivision which can be applied only to the palaeoequatorial belt, not to the high palaeolatitudinal areas of Gondwana and Angaraland. The current emphasis on purely biostratigraphic criteria is criticised as a throwback to usage prior to the definition of stratotypes for chronostratigraphic units. The "global" scheme makes official use of East European stratigraphic units which are correlated with West European and North American regional units. Problems with these correlations are discussed. Reasons are given to prefer a correlation which approximates the Namurian – Westphalian boundary to that between Bashkirian and Moscovian stages. Reliance on the correlation of major cyclothems is regarded as subject to the absence of major gaps in the succession, which cannot always be guaranteed. Problems of continuity are generally present in carbonate successions. Basinal successions of mixed terrestrial and carbonate facies are preferred for effective stratotypes of chronostratigraphic units with adequate biostratigraphic support. Correlations in the currently recommended "global" chart (by SCCS) are corrected in Fig. 18 of the present paper.