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Permian Timescale, The

Product Code: SP450
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by S.G. Lucas and S.Z. Shen
Publication Date: 12 March 2018
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Special Publication 450

The Palaeozoic Era ends with the c. 47-million-year-long Permian Period. This was a major juncture in Earth history when the vast Pangean supercontinent continued its assembly and the global biota suffered the most extensive biotic decimation of the Phanerozoic, the end-Permian mass extinction. It was also the time of accumulation of vast mineral and energy deposits, notably of salt and petroleum. The temporal ordering of geological and biotic events during Permian time is, therefore, critical to the interpretation of some unique and pivotal events in Earth history. This temporal ordering is based mostly on the Permian timescale, which has been developed and refined for nearly two centuries. This book reviews the history of the development of the Permian chronostratigraphic scale. It also includes comprehensive analyses of Permian radioisotopic ages, magnetostratigraphy, isotope-based correlations, and timescale-relevant marine and non-marine biostratigraphy and biochronology.

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Special Publication 334, The Triassic Timescale

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781786202826
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 458
Weight: 1.2 kg


LUCAS, S. G. & SHEN, S. Z. The Permian timescale: an introduction

LUCAS, S. G. & SHEN, S. Z. The Permian chronostratigraphic scale: history, status and prospectus

RAMEZANI, J. & BOWRING, S. A. Advances in numerical calibration of the Permian timescale based on radioisotopic geochronology

HOUNSLOW, M. W. & BALABANOV, Y. P. A geomagnetic polarity timescale for the Permian, calibrated to stage boundaries

KORTE, C. & ULLMANN, C. V. Permian strontium isotope stratigraphy

HENDERSON, C. M. Permian conodont biostratigraphy

ZHANG, L., FENG, Q. & HE, W. Permian radiolarian biostratigraphy

WANG, X., YAO, L. & LIN, W. Permian rugose corals of the world

LEONOVA, T. B. Permian ammonoid biostratigraphy

VACHARD, D. Permian smaller foraminifers: taxonomy, biostratigraphy and biogeography

ZHANG, Y.-C. & WANG, Y. Permian fusuline biostratigraphy

SHEN, S. Z. Global Permian brachiopod biostratigraphy: an overview

STEPHENSON, M. H. Permian palynostratigraphy: a global overview

CLEAL, C. J. A global review of Permian macrofloral biostratigraphical schemes

SCHNEIDER, J. W. & SCHOLZE, F. Late Pennsylvanian–Early Triassic conchostracan biostratigraphy: a preliminary approach

VOIGT, S. & LUCAS, S. G. Outline of a Permian tetrapod footprint ichnostratigraphy

LUCAS, S. G. Permian tetrapod biochronology, correlation and evolutionary events


Linda Morley

What the papers in this book highlight is the need for more research to define the missing GSSPs and to correlate the Permian stratigraphy across the globe, as it seems that there are still a good many gaps to be filled. This book could be a good jumping off point for anyone looking for a research project.

Geoff Warrington

The eye is drawn to this long-awaited companion to The Triassic Timescale (SP 334) by the stunning view of Middle Permian strata in the Guadalupe Mountains, West Texas, featured on its cover. Contributions in these volumes follow the same thematic order, with those on the chronostratigraphic scale, its radioisotopic and magnetostratigraphic calibration, and isotope stratigraphy preceding chapters on marine and non-marine palaeontology and biostratigraphy.

The editors provide a concise overview of the following chapters, with some critical comment. Advances in radioisotopic dating and issues such as differences in the dating of the beginning of the Illawara Superchron are highlighted; carbon isotopes are included here because only strontium is considered in the chapter on isotope stratigraphy. The comprehensive review of the Permian chronostratigraphic scale that follows is a must-read for those new to Permian studies. The System boundaries and bases of the five stages of the Middle and Upper Permian series had been defined by Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points, and that for the Sakmarian was ratified after the volume was published, leaving only those for the two succeeding Lower Permian stages to be determined. The authors support the nine Permian stages, but consider none perfect and that the definitions of their bases are not immutable. Regional chronostratigraphic scales are reviewed critically and the Western European scheme (Autunian, Saxonian, Thuringian) is considered neither a suitable chronostratigraphic division of the System nor useful for correlation.

Advances in analytical techniques and methodology continue to refine the numerical calibration that underpins the Permian Timescale. A corollary of these developments is that previous determinations may require reassessment or recalculation and, in some cases, re-analysis. Equally important is the progress in development of a geomagnetic polarity timescale and its calibration to stage boundaries.

Rugose corals did not survive into the Triassic, but their demise is shown to have begun in the Mid-Permian. Reviews of the biostratigraphy of conodonts, radiolarians, ammonoids, foraminifers, brachiopods and the micro- and macro-flora highlight the influence of palaeogeographical changes and other events, and factors such as provincialism.

A contribution on Late Pennsylvanian to Early Triassic conchostracan biostratigraphy is particularly welcome because system boundaries are too often the limits of studies. This, as well as the contributions on tetrapods and related ichnostratigraphy, link to corresponding ones in The Triassic Timescale (SP 334).

The book is well-produced and generally well-illustrated; some figures benefit from colour, but others are too small. With the specialist contributions and extensive bibliographies this is a recommended resource for Permian studies.

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