A reappraisal of "International Stratigraphic Lexicon" and the need for the creation of named units critical catalogues




Analysis of stratigraphic terminology and classification, shows that time-related stratigraphic units, which by definition have a global extent, are the concern of international cornrnissions and committees of the intemational Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) . In contrast, lithostratigraphic, and other closely related units, are regional in extent and are catalogued in the International Stratigraphic Lexicon (ISL), the last volume of which, was published in 1987. Tlie intemational Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) is currently attempting to revitalize the publication of ISL, given that the information contained in published volumes has never been updated, and that there has been a significant increase in stratigraphic research in recent decades. The proliferation of named units in the South Pyrenean and Ebro Basin Paleogene is evaluated to illustrate the extent of the problem. Moreover, new approaches to stratigraphic analysis have led to the naming of genetic units according to similar guidelines followed in the naming of descnptive or
lithostratigraphic units. This has led to considerable confusion. The proposal to revitalize the ISL is accepted as part of the solution, that should also include the publication of critica1 catalogues, and the creation of norms for genetic unit terminology.