Triassic ammonoid biostratigraphy: an overview
Published:January 01, 2010
The Triassic chronostratigraphic scale was built on two centuries of research on ammonoid biostratigraphy and biochronology. Two Triassic stage bases and all of the Triassic substages are currently defined by ammonoid bioevents. The study of Triassic ammonoids began during the late 1700s, and in 1895, Edmund von Mojsisovics, Wilhelm Waagen and Carl Diener published an essentially complete Triassic chronostratigraphic scale based on ammonoid biostratigraphy. This scale introduced many of the Triassic stage and substage names still used today, and all terminology of stages and substages subsequently introduced has been based on ammonoid biostratigraphy. Early Triassic ammonoids show a trend from cosmopolitanism (Induan) to latitudinal differentiation (Olenekian), and the four Lower Triassic substage (Griesbachian, Dinerian, Smithian and Spathian) boundaries are globally correlated by widespread ammonoid biotic events. Middle Triassic ammonoids have provinciality similar to that of the Olenekian and provide a basis for recognizing six Middle Triassic substages. Late Triassic ammonoids provide a basis for recognizing three stages divided into five substages. The main uncertainty for the future of Triassic ammonoid biostratigraphy is not the decline of the ammonoids as a tool for dating and correlation of Triassic strata but, rather, the dramatic decrease in the number of specialists, due to the lack of replacement of experienced palaeontologists who started their activity in the 1950s and 1960s.
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The Triassic Timescale
The Mesozoic Era begins with the approximately 50-million-year-long Triassic Period, a major juncture in Earth history when the vast Pangaean supercontinent completed its assembly and began its fragmentation, and the global biota diversified and modernized after the end-Permian mass extinction, the most extensive biotic decimation of the Phanerozoic. The temporal ordering of geological and biotic events during Triassic time thus is critical to the interpretation of some unique and pivotal events in Earth history. This temporal ordering is mostly based on the Triassic timescale, which has been developed and refined for nearly two centuries. This book reviews the state of the art of the Triassic timescale and includes comprehensive analyses of Triassic radio-isotopic ages, magnetostratigraphy, isotope-based and cyclostratigraphic correlations and timescale -relevant marine and non-marine biostratigraphy.