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Units in geochronology and stratigraphy[1]
Segments of rock (strata) in chronostratigraphy Time spans in geochronology Notes to
geochronological units
4 total, half a billion years or more
14 total, several hundred million years
tens of millions of years
millions of years
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 subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigraphy, geological, and geochronological matters on a global scale.

It is a subordinate body of the International Union of Geological Sciences—of which it is the largest body within the organisation—and of which it is essentially a permanent 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.


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.)


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 subcommittee level organizations organized and mobilized on a local country-wide or regional basis that are the true working committees of the IUGS, and these do the field work, basis comparisons in conference or co-ordination research committee meetings of local or wide-scale scope.


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.


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Commission_on_Stratigraphy — Please support Wikipedia.
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5 news items

Yahoo News UK
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Many scientists have jumped on board and are using the term, but the epoch has no official start date and is not recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy – an organization that aims to provide a standard global geological time scale.


Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:53:50 -0700

As discussed in the last post, the International Commission on Stratigraphy is deliberating on whether to officially adopt the term Anthropocene to denote the geologic period of time since human activity went global and we became an important geologic ...


Sat, 16 Aug 2014 10:11:06 -0700

The scientific decision on whether to incorporate the term Anthropocene into the geologic lexicon falls to a carefully deliberative group called the International Commission on Stratigraphy, particularly its Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy ...

Planet Earth

Planet Earth
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 02:22:30 -0700

... timeline, and there is controversy about when it started. Zalasiewicz and his colleagues, including scientists from NERC's British Geological Survey, will submit recommendations to the International Commission on Stratigraphy in the next couple of ...

Greenreport: economia ecologica e sviluppo sostenibile

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Fri, 08 Aug 2014 04:47:06 -0700

... numero di chilometri. Ci vorrà un po' potere deduttivo per mettere insieme i pezzi del puzzle». Zalasiewicz e i suoi colleghi, in base ai loro studi, nei prossimi due anni presenteranno delle raccomandazioni alla International Commission on ...

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