Abstract

The Cenozoic stratigraphy of South Africa has developed over the past 166 years since geological mapping of the region was initiated. The current status of lithostratigraphy and the global chronostratigraphic framework is discussed in the context of the diverse Cenozoic regolith across the region. Geological mapping here utilizes lithostratigraphy to organise the Cenozoic deposits, although some extensive units are characterised informally using lithological descriptors. Although there are no formal biostratigraphic units, the allied use of “Land Mammal Ages” compiled from fossil type sites is described. An analogous archaeological cultural-historical “technocomplex” stratigraphy is outlined to subdivide stone age cultural material commonly associated with Quaternary deposits and has often been used as a relative dating framework. A summary table of Cenozoic regolith is presented, differentiating deposits into their terrain morphologically defined Geomorphic Province context as a means of correlating similar deposits across the subcontinent. For mapping units based on lithological characteristics, the use of lithodemic nomenclature to characterise units in each geomorphic province is proposed as a temporary measure to enhance inter-regional correlation and encourage further research that could lead to formal lithostratigraphic descriptions.

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