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Proposed reassessment of the Cambrian GSSP

  • Loren Babcock
  • Shanchi Peng
  • Maoyan Zhu
  • Shuhai Xiao
  • Per Ahlberg
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 3-10
Publication/Series: Journal of African Earth Sciences
Volume: 98
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Since the time of its ratification in 1992, the Cambrian GSSP, 23 m above the base of Member 2A (Quaco Road Member) of the Chapel Island Formation, Fortune Head section, Newfoundland, Canada, has been challenged as posing an ambiguous correlation level. Difficulties have been encountered in precisely correlating the horizon coinciding with the GSSP to strata on most paleocontinents, but especially to Siberia and South China (Gondwana). The GSSP point, which was intended to coincide with the base of the Treptichnus pedum (formerly Phycodes pedum or Trichophycus pedum) Ichnozone at the FAD of the trace fossil T. pedum, occurs above the first appearance of the trace in the stratotype section. Trace fossils of other forms in the stratotype provide a means of bracketing the position of the GSSP, but are imprecise guides for correlation globally. Other chronostratigraphic guides are unavailable at the stratotype because of a dominance of coarse siliciclastic lithologies and metamorphic overprint. To facilitate global correlation of the Cambrian base and ensure nomenclatural stability to the extent possible, discussion of the merits and perceived weaknesses of the Cambrian GSSP is sought. Possible solutions to the problems surrounding the current GSSP definition are addressed in hopes that the global scientific community will actively participate in developing a well-reasoned, practical solution that will stand the test of time. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Geology
  • Terreneuvian
  • Paleozoic
  • GSSP
  • Ediacaran
  • Chronostratigraphy


  • ISSN: 1464-343X
Per Ahlberg
E-mail: per [dot] ahlberg [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Lithosphere and Biosphere Science

+46 46 222 78 70