Guia de nomenclatura estratigráfica

Guia de nomenclatura estratigráfica

(Parte 5 de 15)

(d) Mappability and thickness.—The proposal of a new formation must be based on tested mappability. Well-established formations commonly are divisible into several widely recognizable lithostratigraphic units; where formal recognition of these smaller units serves a useful purpose, they may be established as members and beds, for which the requirement of mappability is not mandatory. A unit formally recognized as a formation in one area may be treated elsewhere as a group, or as a member of another formation, without change of name. Example: the Niobrara is mapped at different places as a member of the Mancos Shale, of the Cody Shale, or of the Colorado Shale, and also as the Niobrara Formation, as the Niobrara Limestone, and as the Niobrara Shale.

Thickness is not a determining parameter in dividing a rock succession into formations; the thickness of a formation may range from a feather edge at its depositional or erosional limit to thousands of meters elsewhere. No formation is considered valid that cannot be delineated at the scale of geologic mapping practiced in the region when the formation is proposed. Although representation of a formation on maps and cross sections by a labeled line may be justified, proliferation of such exceptionally thin units is undesirable. The methods of subsurface mapping permit delineation of units much thinner than those usually practicable for surface studies; before such thin units are formalized, consideration should be given to the effect on subsequent surface and subsurface studies.

(e) Organic reefs and carbonate mounds.—Organic reefs and carbonate mounds (‘‘buildups’’) may be distinguished formally, if desirable, as formations distinct from their surrounding, thinner, temporal equivalents. For the requirements of formalization, see Article 30f.

(f) Interbedded volcanic and sedimentary rock.—Sedimentary rock and volcanic rock that are interbedded may be assembled into a formation under one name that should indicate the predominant or distinguishing lithology, such as Mindego Basalt.

(g) Volcanic rock.—Mappable distinguishable sequences of stratified volcanic rock should be treated as formations or lithostratigraphic units of higher or lower rank. A small intrusive component of a dominantly stratiform volcanic assemblage may be treated informally.

(h) Metamorphic rock.—Formations composed of low-grade metamorphic rock (defined for this purpose as rock in which primary structures are clearly recognizable) are, like sedimentary formations, distinguished mainly by lithic characteristics. The mineral facies may differ from place to place, but these variations do not require definition of a new formation. High-grade metamorphic rocks whose relation to established formations is uncertain are treated as lithodemic units (see Articles 31 et seq.).

Article 25.—Member. A member is the formal lithostratigraphic unitnextinrankbelowa formation andisalways a part of some formation. It is recognized as a named entity within a formation because it possesses characteristics distinguishing it from adjacent parts of the formation. A formationneednotbedividedintomembersunlessausefulpurpose is served by doing so. Some formations may be divided completely into members; others may have only certain parts designated as members; still others may have no members. A member may extend laterally from one formation to another.

Remarks. (a) Mapping of members.—A member is established when it is advantageous to recognize a particular part of a heterogeneous formation. A member, whether formally or informally designated, need not be mappable at the scale required for formations. Even if all members of a formation are locally mappable, it does not follow that they should be raised to formational rank, because proliferation of formation names may obscure rather than clarify relations with other areas.

(b) Lens and tongue.—A geographically restricted member that terminates on all sides within a formation may be called a lens (lentil). A wedging member that extends outward beyond a formation or wedges (‘‘pinches’’) out within another formation may be called a tongue.

(c) Organic reefs and carbonate mounds.—Organic reefs and carbonate mounds may be distinguished formally, if desirable, as members within a formation. For the requirements of formalization, see Article 30f.

(d) Division of members.—A formally or informally recognized division of a member is called a bed or beds, except for volcanic flow rocks, for which the smallest formal unit is a flow. Members may contain beds or flows, but may never contain other members.

(e) Laterally equivalent members.—Although members normally are in vertical sequence, laterally equivalent parts of a formation that differ recognizably may also be considered members.

Article 26.—Bed(s). A bed, or beds, is the smallest formal lithostratigraphic unit of sedimentary rocks.

Remarks. (a) Limitations.—The designation of a bed or a unit of beds as a formally named lithostratigraphic unit generally should be limited to certain distinctive beds whose recognition is particularly useful. Coal beds, oil sands, and other beds of economic importance commonly are named, but such units and their names usually are not a part of formal stratigraphic nomenclature (Articles 22g and 30g).

(b) Key or marker beds.—A key or marker bed is a thin bed of distinctive rock that is widely distributed. Such beds may be named, but usually are considered informal units. Individual key beds may be traced beyond the lateral limits of a particular formal unit (Article 23c).

Article 27.—Flow. A flow is the smallest formal lithostratigraphic unit of volcanic flow rocks. A flow is a discrete, extrusive, volcanic rock body distinguishable by texture, composition,orderof superposition, paleomagnetism, or other objective criteria. It is part of a member and thus is equivalent in rankto a bed or beds of sedimentary-rock classification. Many flows are informal units. The designation and naming of flows as formal rock-stratigraphic units should be limited to those that are distinctive and widespread.

Article 28.—Group. A group is the lithostratigraphic unit next higher in rank to formation; a group may consist entirely of named formations, or alternatively, need not be composed entirely of named formations.

Remarks. (a) Use and content.—Groups are defined to express the naturalrelations of associatedformations.They are useful in smallscale mapping and regional stratigraphic analysis. In some reconnaissance work, the term ‘‘group’’ has been applied to lithostratigraphic units that appear to be divisible into formations, but havenot yet been so divided. In such cases, formations may be erected subsequently for one or all of the practical divisions of the group.

(b)Changeincomponentformations.—The formationsmaking up a group need not necessarily be everywhere the same. The

North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature 1569

Rundle Group, for example, is widespread in western Canada and undergoes several changes in formational content. In southwestern Alberta, it comprises the Livingstone, Mount Head, and Etherington Formations in the Front Ranges, whereas in the foothills and subsurface of the adjacent plains, it comprises the Pekisko, Shunda, Turner Valley, and Mount Head Formations. However, a formation or its parts may not be assigned to two vertically adjacent groups.

(c) Change in rank.—The wedge-out of a component formation or formations may justify the reduction of a group to formation rank, retaining the same name. When a group is extended laterally beyond where it is divided into formations, it becomes in effect a formation, even if it is still called a group. When a previously established formation is divided into two or more component units that are given formal formation rank, the old formation, with its old geographic name, should be raised to group status. Raising the rank of the unit is preferable to restricting the old name to a part of its former content, because a change in rank leaves the sense of a wellestablished unit unchanged (Articles 19b, 19g).

Article 29.—Supergroup. A supergroup is a formal assemblage of related or superposed groups, or of groups and formations. Such units have proved useful in regional and provincial syntheses. Supergroups should be named only where their recognition serves a clear purpose.

Remark. (a) Misuse of ‘‘series’’ for group or supergroup.—

Although ‘‘series’’ is a useful general term, it is applied formally only to a chronostratigraphic unit and should not be used for a lithostratigraphic unit. The term ‘‘series’’ should no longer be employed for an assemblage of formations or an assemblage of formations and groups, as it has been, especially in studies of the Precambrian. These assemblages are groups or supergroups.

Lithostratigraphic Nomenclature

Article 30.—Compound Character. The formal name of a lithostratigraphic unit is compound. It consists of a geographicname combined with a descriptivelithic term or with the appropriaterank term, or both. Initial letters of all words used in forming the names of formal rock-stratigraphic units are capitalized.

Remarks. (a) Omission of part of a name.—Where frequent repetition would be cumbersome, the geographic name, the lithic term, or the rank term may be used alone, once the full name has been introduced; as ‘‘the Burlington,’’ ‘‘the limestone,’’ or ‘‘the formation,’’ for the Burlington Limestone.

(b) Use of simple lithic terms.—The lithic part of the name should indicate the predominant or diagnostic lithology, even if subordinate lithologies are included. Where a lithic term is used in the name of a lithostratigraphic unit, the simplest generally acceptable term is recommended (for example, limestone, sandstone, shale, tuff, quartzite). Compound terms (for example, clay shale) and terms that are not in common usage (for example, calcirudite, orthoquartzite) should be avoided. Combined terms, such as ‘‘sand and clay,’’ should not be used for the lithic part of the names of lithostratigraphic units, nor should an adjective be used between the geographic and the lithic terms, as ‘‘Chattanooga Black Shale’’ and ‘‘Biwabik Iron-Bearing Formation.’’

(c) Group names.—A group name combines a geographic name with the term ‘‘group,’’ and no lithic designation is included; for example, San Rafael Group.

(d) Formation names.—A formation name consists of a geographic name followed by a lithic designation or by the word

‘‘formation.’’ Examples: Dakota Sandstone, Mitchell Mesa Rhyolite, Monmouth Formation, Halton Till.

(e) Member names.—All member names include a geographic term and the word ‘‘member;’’ some have an intervening lithic designation, if useful; for example, Wedington Sandstone Member of the Fayetteville Shale. Members designated solely by lithic character (for example, siliceous shale member), by position (upper, lower), or by letter or number, are informal.

(f) Names of reefs.—Organic reefs identified as formations or members are formal units only where the name combines a geographic name with the appropriate rank term, e.g., Leduc Formation (a name applied to the several reefs enveloped by the Ireton Formation), Rainbow Reef Member.

(g) Bed and flow names.—The names of beds or flows combine a geographic term, a lithic term, and the term ‘‘bed’’ or ‘‘flow;’’ for example, Knee Hills Tuff Bed, Ardmore Bentonite Beds, Negus Variolitic Flows.

(h) Informal units.—When geographic names are applied to such informal units as oil sands, coal beds, mineralized zones, and informal members (see Articles 22g and 26a), the unit term should not be capitalized. A name is not necessarily formal because it is capitalized, nor does failure to capitalize a name render it informal. Geographic names should be combined with the terms ‘‘formation’’ or ‘‘group’’ only in formal nomenclature.

(i) Informal usage of identical geographic names.—The application of identical geographic names to several minor units in one vertical sequence is considered informal nomenclature (lower Mount Savage coal, Mount Savage fireclay, upper Mount Savage coal, Mount Savage rider coal, and Mount Savage sandstone). The application of identical geographic names to the several lithologic units constituting a cyclothem likewise is considered informal.

(j) Metamorphic rock.—Metamorphic rock recognized as a normal stratified sequence, commonly low-grade metavolcanic or metasedimentary rocks, should be assigned to named groups, formations, and members, such as the Deception Rhyolite, a formation of the Ash Creek Group, or the Bonner Quartzite, a formation of the Missoula Group. High-grade metamorphic and metasomatic rocks are treated as lithodemes and suites (see Articles 31, 3, 35).

(k) Misuse of well-known name.—A name that suggests some well-known locality, region, or political division should not be applied to a unit typically developed in another less well-known locality of the same name. For example, it would be inadvisable to use the name ‘‘Chicago Formation’’ for a unit in California.

Nature and Boundaries

Article31.—NatureofLithodemicUnits.Alithodemic6 unit is a defined body of predominantly intrusive, highly deformed, and/or highly metamorphosed rock, distinguished and delimited on the basis of rock characteristics. In contrast to lithostratigraphic units, a lithodemic unit generally does not conform to the Law of Superposition. Its contacts with other rock units may be sedimentary, extrusive, intrusive, tectonic, or metamorphic (Figure 3).

Remarks. (a) Recognition and definition.—Lithodemic units are defined and recognized by observable rock characteristics. They

6From the Greek demas,- os: ‘‘living body, frame.’’ 1570 North American Stratigraphic Code

are the practical units of general geological work in terranes in which rock bodies generally lack primary stratification; in such terranes they serve as the foundation for studying, describing, and delineating lithology, local and regional structure, economic resources, and geologic history.

(b) Type and reference localities.—The definition of a lithodemic unit should be based on as full knowledge as possible of its lateral and vertical variations and its contact relations. For purposes of nomenclatural stability, a type locality and, wherever appropriate, reference localities should be designated.

(c) Independence from inferred geologic history.—Concepts based on inferred geologic history properly play no part in the definition of a lithodemic unit. Nevertheless, where two rock masses are lithically similar but display objective structural relations that preclude the possibility of their being even broadly of the same age, they should be assigned to different lithodemic units.

(d) Use of ‘‘zone.’’—As applied to the designation of lithodemic units, the term ‘‘zone’’ is informal. Examples are: ‘‘mineralized zone,’’ ‘‘contact zone,’’ and ‘‘pegmatitic zone.’’

Article 32.—Boundaries. Boundaries of lithodemic units are placed at positions of lithic change. They may be placed at clearly distinguished contacts or within zones of gradation. Boundaries, both vertical and lateral, are based on the lithic criteria that provide the greatest unity and practical utility. Contacts with other lithodemic and lithostratigraphic units may be depositional, intrusive, metamorphic, or tectonic.

Remark. (a) Boundaries within gradational zones.—W here a lithodemic unit changes through gradation into, or intertongues with, a rock mass with markedly different characteristics, it is usually desirable to propose a new unit. It may be necessary to draw an arbitrary boundary within the zone of gradation. Where the area of intergradation or intertonguing is sufficiently extensive, the rocks of mixed character may constitute a third unit.

Ranks of Lithodemic Units

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