Public Release: 

New integrative stratigraphy and timescale for China released

Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

New integrative stratigraphy and timescales for 13 geological periods in China from the Ediacaran to the Quaternary have recently been published in a special issue of SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences.

The research summarizes the latest advances in stratigraphy and timescale as well as discusses the correlation among different blocks in China and with international timescales. The issue was edited by Prof. SHEN Shuzhong and Prof. RONG Jiayu of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The stratigraphic record represents a massive archive for illuminating the structure and dynamics of various biological and environmental events in deep time. Consequently, establishing timescales provides a means for precisely calibrating various major geologic and biological events. Such timescales also serve as an important reference for geological mapping in China and for intercontinental and regional correlations, which benefit all geologic disciplines and the exploration of natural resources.

Over the last decade, new technologies and more high-resolution biostratigraphic work have helped improving the formulation of stratigraphic frameworks and timescales in China. This special issue highlights these advances.

The issue also suggests that further refinement of chronostratigraphy and timescales in China should focus on high-quality systematic taxonomic studies of different fossil groups, using technologies including: high-resolution biostratigraphy; multidisciplinary approaches including high-precision geochronology, isotope chemostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and astronomical cyclostratigraphy etc.; and quantitative stratigraphy and temporal and spatial distrbutions of natural resources based on big data.


The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) was founded in 1965. Its initial priority was to establish a precisely defined chronostratigraphic system globally applicable to all geoscientific fields. According to this system, 11 of 72 defined Global Stratotype Section and Points (GSSPs) are in China.

This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program (B) and the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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