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  Last Updated:
January 22, 2016

 
CONTACT:
Secretariate:
Per Ahlberg
Department of Geology
GeoBiosphere Science Centre
Lund University
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223 62 Lund
Sweden
Email: per.ahlberg[at]geol.lu.se

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Michael Streng
Department of Earth Sciences
Palaeobiology
Villavägen 16
752 36 Uppsala
Sweden
Email: michael.streng[at]geo.uu.se

Copyright © ISCS, 2010-2016
 

GSSPs - The Cambrian System 2013


In 2005, the International Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy (ISCS) voted on, and adopted, a plan to subdivide the Cambrian System into four series and 10 stages. Each series represents an integrated package of biotic and oceanographic events whose signals are broadly identifiable by multiple time-stratigraphic methods. Stage-level subdivisions are envisioned to represent subequal divisions of series whose boundaries can be narrowly constrained on a global scale using a combination of biostratigraphic, chemostratigraphic, sequence-stratigraphic, and other techniques. (see Babcock et al., 2005)

Defining Cambrian boundary positions involves recommendations by the ISCS that subsequently must be approved by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). In the following table, decisions on Cambrian boundaries are listed including their year of ratification by IUGS.

 
Period/Series/Stage
proposal
publication
ratified
boundary horizon
Cambrian System


1992
FAD of Trichophycus pedum
Ordovician System

2000
FAD of Iapetognathus fluctivagus

Terreneuvian Series

2007
FAD of Trichophycus pedum
Furongian Series
2003
FAD of Glyptagnostus reticulatus

Fortunian Stage
2007
FAD of Trichophycus pedum
Drumian Stage 2006
FAD of Ptychagnostus atavus
Guzhangian Stage 2008
FAD of Lejopyge laevigata
Paibian Stage
2003
FAD of Glyptagnostus reticulatus
Jiangshanian Stage

2011
FAD of Agnostotes orientalis


Cambrian boundaries listed according to their year of ratification:

1992 - Cambrian System

Ratification of the GSSP at the base of the Cambrian System also automatically defined the bases of the Phanerozoic Eonothem, the Paleozoic Erathem, the lowermost Cambrian series (unnamed until 2007) and the lowermost Cambrian stage (unnamed until 2007). Ratification of the Cambrian GSSP automatically delimited the top of the Ediacaran System, the Neoproterozoic Erathem and the Proterozoic Eonothem.

The GSSP is 2.4 metres above the base of the Mystery Lake Member of the Chapel Island Formation, Fortune Head Section, Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada. The horizon coincides with the lowest known occurrence of the ichnofossil Treptichnus pedum (also published as Phycodes pedum, Trichophycus pedum and Manykodes pedum) as recognized in 1992.

For definition of the Cambrian GSSP see:
Brasier, M., Cowie, J., and Taylor, M. 1994. Decision on the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary stratotype. Episodes 17, 3-8.




2000 – Ordovician System, Lower Ordovician Series and Tremadocian Stage

Ratification of the GSSP at the base of the Ordovician System also automatically delimited the top of the Cambrian System. The GSSP is in the Green Point section, Newfoundland, Canada. The horizon coincides with the First Appearance Datum (FAD) of the conodont Iapetognathus fluctivagus.

For definition of the Ordovician System/Lower Ordovician Series/Tremadocian Stage GSSP see:
Cooper, R. A., Nowlan, G. S., and Williams, H. S. 2001. Global Stratotype Section and Point for base of the Ordovician System. Episodes 24(1), 19-28.





2003 – Paibian Stage and Furongian Series

The GSSP is 396 m above the base of the Huaqiao Formation in the Paibi section, Hunan, China. “Paibian” refers to Paibi Village, in the Wuling Mountains, Hunan. “Furongian” refers to “Furong”, meaning “lotus” in Chinese. It comes from a nickname for Hunan Province, the “Lotus State”. The horizon coincides with the FAD of the agnostoid Glyptagnostus reticulatus.

For definition of the Paibian Stage and Furongian Series see:
Peng, S. C., Babcock, L. E., Robison, R. A., Lin, H. L., Rees, M. N., and Saltzman, M. R. 2004. Global Standard Stratotype-section and Point (GSSP) of the Furongian Series and Paibian Stage (Cambrian). Lethaia 37, 365-379.




2006 – Drumian Stage

The GSSP is 62 metres above the base of the Wheeler Formation in the Stratotype Ridge section, Drum Mountains, Millard County, Utah, USA. The horizon coincides with the FAD of the agnostoid Ptychagnostus atavus (also published as Acidusus atavus). “Drumian” refers to the Drum Mountains, Utah.

For definition of the Drumian Stage see:
Babcock, L. E., Robison, R. A., Rees, M. N., Peng, S. C., and Saltzman, M. R. 2007. The Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Drumian Stage (Cambrian) in the Drum Mountains, Utah, USA. Episodes 30, 85-95.




2007 – Fortunian Stage and Terreneuvian Series

The names “Fortunian Stage” and “Terreneuvian Series” were ratified in 2007, although the GSSP defining their conterminant base was defined at the time that the base of Cambrian GSSP was ratified. “Fortunian” refers to the Fortune Head section, and “Terreneuvian” comes from an early French name for Newfoundland.

For definition of the Fortunian Stage and Terreneuvian Series see:
Landing, E., Peng, S. C., Babcock, L. E., Geyer, G., and Moczydlowska-Vidal, M. 2007. Global standard names for the lowermost Cambrian series and stage. Episodes 30, 287-289.



2008 – Guzhangian Stage
The GSSP is 121.3 m above the base of the Huaqiao Formation, Luoyixi section, exposed along a roadcut on the south bank of the Youshui River, 4 km northwest of the town of Luoyixi, Guzhang County, China. The horizon coincides with the FAD of the agnostoid Lejopyge laevigata. “Guzhangian” refers to Guzhang County, in the Wuling Mountains, Hunan.

For definition of the Guzhangian Stage see:
Peng, S. C., Babcock, L. E., Zuo, J. X., Lin, H. L., Zhu, X. J., Yang, X. F., Robison, R. A., Chi, Y. P., Bagnoli, G., and Chen, Y. 2009. The Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Guzhangian Stage (Cambrian) in the Wuling Mountains, northwestern Hunan, China. Episodes 32, 41-55.



2011 – Jiangshanian Stage
The GSSP is 108.12 m above the base of the Huayansi Formation in the Duibian B section, Jiangshan County, Zhejiang Province, China. The horizon coincides with the FAD of the agnostoid Agnostotes orientalis. “Jiangshanian” refers to Jiangshan County, Zhejiang. The ASSP is 61.2 m above the base of Unit 8 of the Zhumabai Formation, Kyrshabakhty section, Malyi Karatau, Kazakhstan.

For definition of the Jiangshanian Stage see:
Peng, S. C., Babcock, L. E., Zuo, J. X., Lin, H. L., Zhu, X. J., Yang, X. F., Qi, Y. P., Bagnoli, G., and Wang, L. W. 2012. Global Standard Stratotype-section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Jiangshanian Stage (Cambrian: Furongian) at Duibian, Jiangshan, Zhejiang, Southeast China. Episodes 35(4), 1-16.



Provisional stages and series in the Cambrian
Stages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10, and series 2 and 3 are undefined by GSSPs (as of July 2013). The use of numbers to identify these units is provisional. When a GSSP for each of these units has been ratified, the provisional name will be replaced by a new name based on a geographic locality.


A brief history of Cambrian subdivisions and goals of the ISCS by Shergold and Geyer (2002) can be downloaded here.