Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 135–153 | Cite as

Carboniferous integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China

  • Xiangdong WangEmail author
  • Keyi HuEmail author
  • Wenkun Qie
  • Qingyi Sheng
  • Bo Chen
  • Wei Lin
  • Le Yao
  • Qiulai Wang
  • Yuping Qi
  • Jitao Chen
  • Zhuoting Liao
  • Junjun Song


The Carboniferous period lasted about 60 Myr, from ~358.9 Ma to ~298.9 Ma. According to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the Carboniferous System is subdivided into two subsystems, i.e., Mississippian and Pennsylvanian, including 6 series and 7 stages. The Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) of three stages have been ratified, the Tournaisian, Visean, and Bashkirian stages. The GSSPs of the remaining four stages (i.e., the Serpukhovian, Moscovian, Kasimovian, and Gzhelian) have not been ratified so far. This paper outlines Carboniferous stratigraphic subdivision and correlation on the basis of detailed biostratigraphy mainly from South China, and summarizes the Carboniferous chronostratigraphic framework of China. High-resolution biostratigraphic study reveals 37 conodont zones, 24 foraminiferal (including fusulinid) zones, 13 ammonoid zones, 10 brachiopod zones, and 10 rugose coral zones in the Carboniferous of China. The biostratigraphic framework based on these biozones warrants the precise correlation of regional stratigraphy of China (including 2 subsystems, 4 series, and 8 stages) to that of the other regions globally. Meanwhile, the Carboniferous chemo-, sequence-, cyclo-, and event-stratigraphy of China have been intensively studied and can also be correlated worldwide. Future studies on the Carboniferous in China should focus on (1) the correlation between shallow- and deep-water facies and between marine and continental facies, (2) high-resolution astronomical cyclostratigraphy, and (3) paleoenvironment and paleoclimate analysis based on geochemical proxies such as strontium and oxygen isotopes, as well as stomatal indices of fossil plants.


Carboniferous Chronostratigraphy Biostratigraphy Chemostratigraphy Event stratigraphy Stratotype Stratigraphic correlation 


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This work was supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant Nos. XDB26000000, 18000000 and XDPB05), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41290263), and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2013FY111000).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiangdong Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keyi Hu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenkun Qie
    • 1
  • Qingyi Sheng
    • 3
  • Bo Chen
    • 4
  • Wei Lin
    • 1
  • Le Yao
    • 3
  • Qiulai Wang
    • 1
  • Yuping Qi
    • 1
  • Jitao Chen
    • 1
  • Zhuoting Liao
    • 3
  • Junjun Song
    • 3
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Economic Stratigraphy and Palaeogeography, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Center for Research and Education on Biological Evolution and EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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