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Chrono-, litho- and biostratigraphy across the Devonian–Carboniferous transition are reviewed to provide a precise time framework for the global Hangenberg Crisis and for the current search for a revised basal Carboniferous Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). The outer shelf deposits of the Rhenish Massif (Germany) form a lithological standard. Pre- (main Wocklum Limestone), lower (top Wocklum Limestone/Drewer Sandstone to Hangenberg Black Shale), middle (Hangenberg Shale/Sandstone), upper (Stockum Limestone), and post-crisis (Hangenberg Limestone) deposits are defined. Combined with the conodont, ammonoid and miospore zonations and eustatic trends, this succession can be correlated internationally. The contemporaneous successions of the Ardennes serve as a reference for shallow shelf settings. The positive and negative aspects of five options for a redefined Devonian–Carboniferous boundary level are discussed: (1) base of the black shale (main extinction level, base of Bispathodus costatus–Protognathodus kockeli Interregnum and LN Zone), (2) sequence boundary (widespread unconformities) or glacial and regressive peak (base of Hangenberg Sandstone), (3) base of the kockeli Zone and of initial postglacial transgression (base of lower Stockum Limestone), (4) entry of Siphonodella (Eosiphonodella) sulcata (base of upper Stockum Limestone), and (5) base of post-crisis interval (base of Hangenberg Limestone), at approximately the poorly correlated current GSSP level. Due to homonymy, Siphonodella (Siphonodella) hassi Ji, 1985 is renamed as Siphonodella (Siphonodella) jii nom. nov. Consequently, the mid-lower Tournaisian S. (S.) hassi Zone (previous Upper S. (S.) duplicata Zone) becomes the S. (S.) jii Zone.

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