Aspects of the isotopic age and stratigraphical databases underpinning Devonian geological time scales are reviewed to assess differences in recent U–Pb zircon-based schemes and older schemes based on Rb–Sr, K–Ar, 40Ar–39Ar dating of minerals and whole-rock samples. The various methods of time-scale construction are described and, with their databases, 14 calibrations of Devonian time are discussed. Finally, the most recent data are collated and compared against current U–Pb-based time scales.
Boundaries for all the Devonian series and stages have now been proposed by the Subcommission on Devonian Stratigraphy (SDS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) and have been ratified by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). A summary of these decisions is given. All the defined Global Stratigraphic Section and Points (GSSPs) are in the marine realm, and in pelagic facies. Much work is still needed to correlate the new boundaries into neritic and terrestrial facies.
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New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone
From the 1960s onwards, the Old Red Sandstone of both borders of the Atlantic Ocean has acted as a test-bed for the development of new ideas on the interpretation of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian sedimentary rocks, and the investigation of tectonically-active basins. Much of the earlier reconnaissance work is now being reviewed in the light of further detailed field study, along with new developments in the understanding of the biostratigraphy, palaeobiology, geochronology, pedogenesis and tectonics.
Three general papers review recent work on the stratigraphical and chronological analysis of the Late Silurian, Devonian and Early Carboniferous strata, and summarize present understanding of the tectonics of the basins. These are then followed by twenty-seven contributions covering new work in Eastern USA, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Greenland and Spitsbergen.