C. N. Waters, 2011. "Definitions of chronostratigraphic subdivisions: geochronology and event stratigraphy", A Revised Correlation of Carboniferous Rocks in the British Isles, C. N. Waters, I. D. Somerville, N. S. Jones, C. J. Cleal, J. D. Collinson, R. A. Waters, B. M. Besly, M. T. Dean, M. H. Stephenson, J. R. Davies, E. C. Freshney, D. I. Jackson, W. I. Mitchell, J. H. Powell, W. J. Barclay, M. A. E. Browne, B. E. Leveridge, S. L. Long, D. McLean
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The term Carboniferous was created as a stratigraphical term by Conybeare & Phillips (1822) for strata present in England and Wales and was first referred to as a system by Phillips (1835). The original definition of the Carboniferous included the Old Red Sandstone. With the establishment of the Devonian system in 1839 the Old Red Sandstone was removed from the Carboniferous and placed in the Devonian.
Broad similarities within the successions of Britain and Ireland with the rest of Western Europe have allowed development of a regionally applicable chronostratigraphy. Munier-Chalmas & de Lapparent (1893) originally divided the Carboniferous of Western Europe into the Dinantian, Westphalian and Stephanian. Later, the lower part of the Westphalian was redefined as the Namurian and both were identified as stages (Jongmans 1928). The Namurian, Westphalian and Stephanian stages do not represent global faunal or fioral events, but were chosen to represent prominent facies variations and palaeogeographic separations in Western Europe.
The Dinantian subsequently became a subsystem, with two component series, the Tournaisian and Visean (George & Wagner 1972), whereas the Namurian, Westphalian and Stephanian became series of a Silesian Subsystem. However, George et al. (1976) were not prepared to use the terms Tournaisian and Visean in their review of British chronostratigraphy.
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A Revised Correlation of Carboniferous Rocks in the British Isles
The report revises and expands upon the 1976 and 1978 publications for the Dinantian and Silesian, respectively, combining them into a single account of British and Irish Carboniferous stratigraphy. The need to update the two Special Reports reflects the considerable advances in Carboniferous geology over the last 30 years. The report covers developments in international chronostratigraphy and incorporates wholesale reassessments of British lithostratigraphy. A huge volume of biostratigraphical information has been published over recent decades and the report summarizes the key information.
Carboniferous rocks have long been of economic importance, but it is the search for hydrocarbons, in its infancy at the time of the previous reports, which has greatly increased our understanding of Carboniferous successions offshore and at depth, particularly in southern and eastern England.