Guia de nomenclatura estratigráfica

Guia de nomenclatura estratigráfica

(Parte 4 de 15)

Article 18.—Redefinition. A correction or change in the descriptive term applied to a stratigraphic or lithodemic unit is a redefinition, which does not require a new geographic term.

Remarks. (a) Change in lithic designation.—Priority should not prevent more exact lithic designation if the original designation is not everywhere applicable; for example, the Niobrara Chalk changes gradually westward to a unit in which shale is prominent, for which the designation ‘‘Niobrara Shale’’ or ‘‘Formation’’ is more appropriate. Many carbonate formations originally designated ‘‘limestone’’ or ‘‘dolomite’’ are found to be geographically inconsistent as to prevailing rock type. The appropriate lithic term or ‘‘formation’’ is again preferable for such units.

(b) Original lithic designation inappropriate.—Restudy of some long-established lithostratigraphic units has shown that the original lithic designation was incorrect according to modern criteria; for example, some ‘‘shales’’ have the chemical and mineralogical composition of limestone, and some rocks described as felsic lavas now are understood to be welded tuffs. Such new knowledge is recognized by changing the lithic designation of the unit, while retaining the original geographic term. Similarly, changes in the classification of igneous rocks have resulted in recognition that rocks originally described as quartz monzonite now are more appropriately termed granite. Such lithic designations may be modernized when the new classification is widely adopted. If heterogeneous bodies of plutonic rock have been misleadingly identified with a single compositional term, such as ‘‘gabbro,’’ the adoption of a neutral term, such as ‘‘intrusion’’ or ‘‘pluton,’’ may be advisable.

Article 19.—Revision. Revision involves either minor changes in the definition of one or both boundaries of a unit, or in the unit’s rank.

Remarks. (a) Boundary change.—Revision is justifiable if a minor change in boundary will make a unit more natural and useful. If revision modifies only a minor part of the content of a previously established unit, the original name may be retained.

(b) Change in rank.—Change in rank of a stratigraphic or temporal unit requires neither redefinition of its boundaries nor alteration of the geographic part of its name. A member may become a formation or vice versa, a formation may become a group or vice versa, and a lithodeme may become a suite or vice versa.

(c) Examples of changes from area to area.—The Conasauga

Shale is recognized as a formation in Georgia and as a group in eastern Tennessee; the Osgood Formation, Laurel Limestone, and Waldron Shale in Indiana are classed as members of the Wayne Formation in a part of Tennessee; the Virgelle Sandstone is a formation in western Montana and a member of the Eagle Sandstone in central Montana; the Skull Creek Shale and the Newcastle Sandstone in North Dakota are members of the Ashville Formation in Manitoba.

(d) Example of change in single area.—The rank of a unit may be changed without changing its content. For example, the Madison Limestone of early work in Montana later became the Madison Group, containing several formations.

(e) Retention of type section.—When the rank of a geologic unit is changed, the original type section or type locality is retained for the newly ranked unit (see Article 22c).

(f) Different geographic name for a unit and its parts.— In changing the rank of a unit, the same name may not be applied both to the unit as a whole and to a part of it. For example, the Astoria Group should not contain an Astoria Sandstone, nor the Washington Formation, a Washington Sandstone Member.

(g) Undesirable restriction.—When a unit is divided into two or more of the same rank as the original, the original name should not be used for any of the divisions. Retention of the old name for one of the units precludes use of the name in a term of higher rank. Furthermore, in order to understand an author’s meaning, a later reader would have to know about the modification and its date, and whether the author is following the original or the modified usage. For these reasons, the normal practice is to raise the rank of an established unit when units of the same rank are recognized and mapped within it.

Article 20.—Abandonment. An improperly defined or obsolete stratigraphic, lithodemic, or temporal unit may be formally abandoned, provided that (a) sufficient justification is presented to demonstrate a concern for nomenclatural stability, and (b) recommendations are made for the classification and nomenclature to be used in its place.

Remarks. (a) Reasons for abandonment.—A formally defined unit may be abandoned by the demonstration of synonymy or homonymy, of assignment to an improper category (for example, definition of a lithostratigraphic unit in a chronostratigraphic sense), or of other direct violations of a stratigraphic code or procedures prevailing at the time of the original definition. Disuse, or the lack of need or useful purpose for a unit, may be a basis for abandonment; so, too, may widespread misuse in diverse ways that compound confusion. A unit also may be abandoned if it proves impracticable, neither recognizable nor mappable elsewhere.

(b) Abandoned names.—A name for a lithostratigraphic or lithodemic unit, once applied and then abandoned, is available for some other unit only if the name was introduced casually, or if it has been published only once in the last several decades and is not in current usage, and if its reintroduction will cause no confusion. An explanation of the history of the name and of the new usage should be a part of the designation.

(c) Obsolete names.—Authors may refer to national and provincial records of stratigraphic names to determine whether a name is obsolete (see Article 7b).

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(d) Reference to abandoned names.—When it is useful to refer to an obsolete or abandoned formal name, its status is made clear by some such term as ‘‘abandoned’’ or ‘‘obsolete,’’ and by using a phrase such as ‘‘La Plata Sandstone of Cross (1898).’’ (The same phrase also is used to convey that a named unit has not yet been adopted for usage by the organization involved.)

(e) Reinstatement.—A name abandoned for reasons that seem valid at the time, but which subsequently are found to be erroneous, may be reinstated. Example: the Washakie Formation, defined in 1869, was abandoned in 1918 and reinstated in 1973.

Article 21.—Procedure for Amendment. Additions to, or changes of, this Code may be proposed in writing to the Commission by any geoscientist at any time. If accepted for consideration by a majority vote of the Commission, they may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Commission at an annual meeting not less than a year after publication of the proposal.


Article22.—NatureofLithostratigraphicUnits.Alithostratigraphic unit is a defined body of sedimentary, extrusive igneous, metasedimentary, or metavolcanic strata that is distinguished and delimited on the basis of lithic characteristics and stratigraphic position. A lithostratigraphic unit generally conforms to the Law of Superposition and commonly is stratified and tabular in form.

Remarks. (a) Basic units.—Lithostratigraphic units are the basic units of general geologic work and serve as the foundation for delineating strata, local and regional structure, economic resources, and geologic history in regions of stratified rocks. They are recognized and defined by observable rock characteristics; boundaries may be placed at clearly distinguished contacts or drawn arbitrarily within a zone of gradation. Lithification or cementation is not a necessary property; clay, gravel, till, and other unconsolidated deposits may constitute valid lithostratigraphic units.

(b) Type section and locality.—The definition of lithostratigraphic unit should be based, if possible, on a stratotype consisting of readily accessible rocks in place, e.g., in outcrops, excavations, and mines, or of rocks accessible only to remote sampling devices, such as those in drill holes and underwater. Even where remote methods are used, definitions must be based on lithic criteria and not on the geophysical characteristics of the rocks, nor the implied age of their contained fossils. Definitions must be based on descriptions of actual rock material. Regional validity must be demonstrated for all such units. In regions where the stratigraphy has been established through studies of surface exposures, the naming of new units in the subsurface is justified only where the subsurface section differs materially from the surface section, or where there is doubt as to the equivalence of a subsurface and a surface unit. The establishment of subsurface reference sections for units originally defined in outcrop is encouraged.

(c) Type section never changed.—The definition and name of a lithostratigraphic unit are established at a type section (or locality) that, once specified, must not be changed. If the type section is poorly designated or delimited, it may be redefined subsequently. If the originally specified stratotype is incomplete, poorly exposed, structurally complicated, or unrepresentative of the unit, a principal reference section or several reference sections may be designated to supplement, but not to supplant, the type section (Article 8e).

(d) Independence from inferred geologic history.—Inferred geologic history, depositional environment, and biological sequence have no place in the definition of a lithostratigraphic unit, which must be based on composition and other lithic characteristics; nevertheless, considerations of well-documented geologic history properly may influence the choice of vertical and lateral boundaries of a new unit. Fossils may be valuable during mapping in distinguishing between two lithologically similar, noncontiguous lithostratigraphic units. The fossil content of a lithostratigraphic unit is a legitimate lithic characteristic; for example, oyster-rich sandstone, coquina, coral reef, or graptolitic shale. Moreover, otherwise similar units, such as the Formacion Mendez and Formacion Velasco mudstones, may be distinguished on the basis of coarseness of contained fossils (foraminifera).

(e) Independence from time concepts.—The boundaries of most lithostratigraphic units are time independent, but some may be approximately synchronous. Inferred time spans, however measured, play no part in differentiating or determining the boundaries of any lithostratigraphic unit. Either relatively short or relatively long intervals of time may be represented by a single unit. The accumulation of material assigned to a particular unit may have begun or ended earlier in some localities than in others; also, removal of rock by erosion, either within the time span of deposition of the unit or later, may reduce the time span represented by the unit locally. The body in some places may be entirely younger than in other places. On the other hand, the establishment of formal units that straddle known, identifiable, regional disconformities is to be avoided, if at all possible. Although concepts of time or age play no part in defining lithostratigraphic units nor in determining their boundaries, evidence of age may aid recognition of similar lithostratigraphic units at localities far removed from the type sections or areas.

(f) Surface form.—Erosional morphology or secondary surface form may be a factor in the recognition of a lithostratigraphic unit, but properly should play a minor part at most in the definition of such units. Because the surface expression of lithostratigraphic units is an important aid in mapping, it is commonly advisable, where other factors do not countervail, to define lithostratigraphic boundaries so as to coincide with lithic changes that are expressed in topography.

(g) Economically exploited units.—Aquifers, oil sands, coal beds, and quarry layers are, in general, informal units even though named. Some such units, however, may be recognized formally as beds, members, or formations because they are important in the elucidation of regional stratigraphy.

(h) Instrumentally defined units.—In subsurface investigations, certain bodies of rock and their boundaries are widely recognized on borehole geophysical logs showing their electrical resistivity, radioactivity, density, or other physical properties. Such bodies and their boundaries may or may not correspond to formal lithostratigraphic units and their boundaries. Where other considerations do not countervail, the boundaries of subsurface units should be defined so as to correspond to useful geophysical markers; nevertheless, units defined exclusively on the basis of remotely sensed physical properties, although commonly useful in stratigraphic

1566 North American Stratigraphic Code analysis, stand completely apart from the hierarchy of formal lithostratigraphic units and are considered informal.

(i) Zone.—As applied to the designation of lithostratigraphic units, the term ‘‘zone’’ is informal. Examples are ‘‘producing zone,’’ ‘‘mineralized zone,’’ ‘‘metamorphic zone,’’ and ‘‘heavy-mineral zone.’’ A zone may include all or parts of a bed, a member, a formation, or even a group.

(j) Cyclothems.—Cyclic or rhythmic sequences of sedimentary rocks, whose repetitive divisions have been named cyclothems, have been recognized in sedimentary basins around the world. Some cyclothems have been identified by geographic names, but such names are considered informal. A clear distinction must be maintained between the division of a stratigraphic column into cyclothems and its division into groups, formations, and members. Where a cyclothem is identified by a geographic name, the word cyclothem should be part of the name, and the geographic term should not be the same as that of any formal unit embraced by the cyclothem.

(k) Soils and paleosols.—Soils and paleosols are layers composed of the in-situ products of weathering of older rocks that may be of diverse composition and age. Soils and paleosols differ in several respects from lithostratigraphic units, and should not be treated as such (see ‘‘Pedostratigraphic Units,’’ Articles 5 et seq.).

(l) Depositional facies.—Deposition al facies are informal units, whether objective (conglomeratic, black shale, graptolitic) or genetic and environmental (platform, turbiditic, fluvial), even when a geographic term has been applied, e.g., Lantz Mills facies. Descriptive designations convey more information than geographic terms and are preferable.

Article23.—Boundaries. Boundaries of lithostratigraphic units are placed at positions of lithic change. Boundaries are placed at distinct contacts or may be selected at some arbitrary level within zones of gradation (Figure 2A). Both vertical and lateral boundaries are based on the lithic criteria that provide the greatest unity and utility.

Remarks. (a) Boundary in a vertically gradational sequence.—

A named lithostratigraphic unit is preferably bounded by a single lower and a single upper surface so that the name does not recur in a normal stratigraphic succession (see Remark b). Where a rock unit passes vertically into another by intergrading or interfingering of two or more kinds of rock, unless the gradational strata are sufficiently thick to warrant designation of a third, independent unit, the boundary is necessarily arbitrary and should be selected on the basis of practicality (Figure 2B). For example, where a shale unit overlies a unit of interbedded limestone and shale, the boundary commonly is placed at the top of the highest readily traceable limestone bed. Where a sandstone unit grades upward into shale, the boundary may be so gradational as to be difficult to place even arbitrarily; ideally it should be drawn at the level where the rock is composed of one-half of each component. Because of creep in outcrops and caving in boreholes, it is generally best to define such arbitrary boundaries by the highest occurrence of a particular rock type, rather than the lowest.

(b) Boundaries in lateral lithologic change.— Where a unit changes laterally through gradation into, or intertongues with, a markedly different kind of rock, a new unit should be proposed for the different rock type. An arbitrary lateral boundary may be placed between the two equivalent units. Where the area of lateral intergradation or intertonguing is sufficiently extensive, a transitional interval of interbedded rocks may constitute a third independent unit (Figure 2C). Where tongues (Article 25b) of formations are mapped separately or otherwise set apart without being formally named, the unmodified formation name should not be repeated in a normal stratigraphic sequence, although the modified name may be repeated in such phrases as ‘‘lower tongue of Mancos Shale’’ and ‘‘upper tongue of Mancos Shale’’: To show the order of superposition on maps and cross sections, the unnamed tongues may be distinguished informally (Figure 2D) by number, letter, or other means. Such relations may also be dealt with informally through the recognition of depositional facies (Article 2-1).

(c) Key beds used for boundaries.—Key beds (Article 26b) may be used as boundaries for a formal lithostratigraphic unit where the internal lithic characteristics of the unit remain relatively constant. Even though bounding key beds may be traceable beyond the area of the diagnostic overall rock type, geographic extension of the lithostratigraphic unit bounded thereby is not necessarily justified. Where the rock between key beds becomes drastically different from that of the type locality, a new name should be applied (Figure 2E), even though the key beds are continuous (Article 26b). Stratigraphic and sedimentologic studies of stratigraphic units (usually informal) bounded by key beds may be very informative and useful, especially in subsurface work where the key beds may be recognized by their geophysical signatures. Such units, however, may be a kind of chronostratigraphic, rather than lithostratigraphic, unit (Article 75, 75c), although others are diachronous because one, or both, of the key beds are also diachronous.

(d) Unconformities as boundaries.—Unconformities, where recognizable objectively on lithic criteria, are ideal boundaries for lithostratigraphic units. However, a sequence of similar rocks may include an obscure unconformity so that separation into two units may be desirable but impracticable. If no lithic distinction adequate to define a widely recognizable boundary can be made, only one unit should be recognized, even though it may include rock that accumulated in different epochs, periods, or eras.

(e) Correspondence with genetic units.—The boundaries of lithostratigraphic units should be chosen on the basis of lithic changes and, where feasible, to correspond with the boundaries of genetic units, so that subsequent studies of genesis will not have to deal with units that straddle formal boundaries.

Ranks of Lithostratigraphic Units

Article 24.—Formation. The formation is the fundamental unit in lithostratigraphic classification. A formation is a body of rock identified by lithic characteristics and stratigraphic position; it is prevailingly but not necessarily tabular and is mappable at the Earth’s surface or traceable in the subsurface.

Remarks. (a) Fundamental unit.—Formations are the basic lithostratigraphic units used in describing and interpreting the geology of a region. The limits of a formation normally are those surfaces of lithic change that give it the greatest practicable unity of constitution. A formation may represent a long or short time interval, may be composed of materials from one or several sources, and may include breaks in deposition (see Article 23d).

(b) Content.—A formation should possess some degree of internal lithic homogeneity or distinctive lithic features. It may contain between its upper and lower limits (i) rock of one lithic type, (i) repetitions of two or more lithic types, or (ii) extreme lithic heterogeneity that in itself may constitute a form of unity when compared to the adjacent rock units.

(c) Lithic characteristics.—Distinctive lithic characteristics include chemical and mineralogical composition, texture, and such supplementary features as color, primary sedimentary or volcanic structures, fossils (viewed as rock-forming particles), or other organic content (coal, oil-shale). A unit distinguishable only by the taxonomy of its fossils is not a lithostratigraphic but a biostratigraphic unit

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Figure 2. Diagrammatic examples of lithostratigraphic boundaries and classification. 1568 North American Stratigraphic Code

(Article48). Rock typemay bedistinctivelyrepresented by electrical, radioactive, seismic, or other properties (Article 22h), but these properties by themselves do not describe adequately the lithic character of the unit.

(Parte 4 de 15)