A.W. A. Rushton, S. G. Molyneux, 2011. "Biostratigraphical divisions", A Revised Correlation of the Cambrian Rocks in the British Isles, A. W. A. Rushton, P. M. Brück, S. G. Molyneux, M. Williams, N. H. Woodcock
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Since the 19th century geologists working on Cambrian rocks world-wide have relied largely on trilobites as biostratigraphical guides, and these remain important, especially in Series 3 and the Furongian Series, where they enable refined correlations. In Series 2, especially in its lower part where trilobite biostratigraphy becomes increasingly difficult, other criteria are employed, for example the distribution of small shelly fossils, bradoriid arthropods and, where available, archaeocyaths. In Avalonia there are no archaeocyaths, but the bradoriids have been revised and exploited stratigraphically (Siveter & Williams 1997; Williams & Siveter 1998). The recent development of acritarch biostratigraphy, which has made a vital contribution, is discussed below. Towards the base of the Cambrian, body fossils may be very scarce and trace fossils have been used biostratigraphically (Narbonne & Myrow 1988; Bland & Goldring 1995; McIlroy & Horák 2006), although they may be difficult to work with. All the zones referred to are biozones (Rawson et al. 2002), most of those in the Terreneuvian and Series 2 and 3 being assemblage zones, whereas those in the Furongian are local range-zones of selected species.
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A Revised Correlation of the Cambrian Rocks in the British Isles
This work reviews the correlation of the British and Irish Cambrian with the current (though incomplete) international standard for the Cambrian. Since the earlier edition of 1972, the basal and upper limits of the Cambrian system has been internationally agreed; so this account excludes Tremadocian rocks but includes some that were formerly considered Neoproerozoic. Half of the series and stage subdivisions are internationally agreed, but for the undefined divisions of the Cambrian the standard used here makes use of data from Avalonian successions.
Since the first edition was published, almost every aspect of the Cambrian I the British Isles has been subjected to new study. Here, the plate tectonic make-up of the British Isles is reviewed, new radiometric ages and isotopic studies are summarized and the biostratigraphy is enhanced by the study of acritarchs, especially in the Irish successions