Non-marine Permian biostratigraphy and biochronology: an introduction
Spencer G. Lucas, Joerg W. Schneider, Giussepe Cassinis, 2006. "Non-marine Permian biostratigraphy and biochronology: an introduction", Non-Marine Permian Biostratigraphy and Biochronology, Spencer G. Lucas, Giuseppe Cassinis, Joerg W. Schneider
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The Permian time scale based on marine rocks and fossils is well defined and of global utility, but non-marine Permian biostratigraphy and chronology is in an early phase of development. Non-marine Permian strata are best known from western Europe and the western United States, but significant records are also known from Russia, South Africa, China and Brazil. Global time terms based on non-marine Permian strata, such as Rotliegend, Zechstein, Autunian, Saxonian and Thuringian, are either inadequately defined or poorly characterized and should only be used as lithostratigraphic terms. Macro- and microfloras have long been important in non-marine Permian correlations, but are subject to limitations based on palaeoprovinciality and facies/climatic controls. Charophytes, conchostracans, ostracodes and freshwater bivalves have a potential use in non-marine Permian biostratigraphy but are limited by their over-split taxonomy and lack of well-established stratigraphic distributions of low-level taxa. Tetrapod footprints provide poor biostratigraphic resolution during the Permian, but tetrapod body fossils and insects provide more detailed biostratigraphic zonations, especially in the Lower Permian. Numerous radioisotopic ages are available from non-marine Permian sections and need to be more precisely correlated to the global time scale. The Middle Permian Illawarra reversal and subsequent magnetic polarity shifts are also of value to correlation. There needs to be a concerted effort to develop non-marine Permian biostratigraphy, to correlate it to radio-isotopic and magnetostratigraphic data, and to cross-correlate it to the marine time scale.
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Non-Marine Permian Biostratigraphy and Biochronology
During the Permian, the single supercontinent Pangaea stretched from pole to pole. Early Permian glacial deposits are found in southern Gondwana. Along the sutures of Pangaea, mountain ranges towered over vast tropical lowlands. Interior areas included dry deserts where dune sands accumulated. Gypsum and halite beds document the evaporation of hot, shallow seas that formed the most extensive salt deposits in the geological record. The Permian period (251 to 299 Ma) encompasses nine ages (stages) arranged into three epochs (series). Most of the Permian marine timescale has been defined by global stratotype sections and points for the stage boundaries. This volume presents new data regarding the biostratigraphy and biochronology of the non-marine Permian and provides a basis for temporally ordering Permian geological and biotic history on land, and correlating that history to events in the marine realm.