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International Commission on Stratigraphy

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International Commission on Stratigraphy

Units in geochronology and stratigraphy[1]
Segments of rock (strata) in chronostratigraphy Time spans in geochronology Notes to
geochronological units
Eonothem
Eon
4 total, half a billion years or more
Erathem
Era
14 total, several hundred million years
System
Period
Series
Epoch
tens of millions of years
Stage
Age
millions of years
Chronozone
Chron
subdivision of an age, not used by the ICS timescale

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to by the unofficial name "International Stratigraphic Commission" is a daughter or major stratigraphy, geological, and geochronological matters on a global scale.

It is a subordinate body of the working subcommittee that meets far more regularly than the quadrennial meetings scheduled by the IUGS, when it meets as a congress or membership of the whole.

Aims

One of its main aims, a project begun in 1974, is to establish a multidisciplinary standard and global geologic time scale that will ease paleontological and geobiological comparisons region to region by benchmarks with stringent and rigorous strata criteria called Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Points (GSSPs) within the fossil record. (i.e. section of the rock record as of a core sample section or accessible exposed strata, which when a core sample are usually "trayed" in long pieces, also called "sections" about a meter in length.)

Methodology

Additionally the ICS defines an alternative type of benchmark and criteria called Global Standard Stratigraphic Ages (GSSAs) where the characteristics and dating criteria set solely by physical sciences methods (such as magnetic alignment sequences, radiological criteria, etcetera.) as well as encouraging an international and open debate amongst Earth scientists in the paleontology, geology, geobiology and chronostratigraphy fields, among others.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy has spawned numerous research committee meetings of local or wide-scale scope.

Publications

The ICS publishes various reports and findings as well as revised references periodically, summarized in the International Stratigraphic Chart, a combined working proposal and guideline-to-date released after the last ICS deliberations prior to the upcoming (next) meeting of the IUGS. Until the IUGS accepts the recommendations, they are unofficial since the IUGS parent approves or dismisses the individual deliberation reports of the ICS, which are presented as recommendations, and span dating and strata selection criteria, and related issues including nomenclatures. In de facto everyday matters, the deliberative results reported out of any meetings of the ICS are widely accepted and immediately enter everyday use, except in the rare cases where they result in a strong body of dissenting opinion, which matters are resolved before the full IUGS.

One such controversy arose in 2009 when the ICS deliberated and decided that the Pliocene Series of the current but unofficially named Quaternary Period should be shifted into the Neogene System and Neogene Period.[2] The term Quaternary has yet to be officially adopted by the IUGS, but has widespread support as acceptable nomenclature for the current geologic period beginning at the GSSP accepted at 5,332,000 years ago at the transition between the Messinian Age to the Zanclean Age (3.6 mya). The ICS voted, perhaps because the time units span human paleo-archaeological strata, to begin the Quaternary at the end GSSP of the Piacenzian Age (2.588 mya) or possibly the end of the Gelasian (1.806 mya), any of which are in a different epoch.

References

  1. ^ Cohen, K.M., Finney, S., Gibbard, P.L. (2013), International Chronostratigraphic Chart, International Commission on Stratigraphy .
  2. ^ Riccardi, A.C. (30 June 2009). "Ratification of the definition of the base of Quaternary System/Period (and top of the Neogene System/Period), and redefinition of the base of the Pleistocene Series/Epoch (and top of the Pliocene Series/Epoch)".  

External links

  • "International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)". Home page. Retrieved March 17, 2008. 
  • "ICS Subcommission for Stratigraphic Information". Home page. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  • "International Chronostratigraphic Chart". Retrieved June 2014. 
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