Biostratigraphy is the branch of stratigraphy which focuses on correlating and assigning relative ages of rock strata by using the fossil assemblages contained within them. Usually the aim is correlation, demonstrating that a particular horizon in one  ‎Fossils as a basis for · ‎Concept of stage · ‎Concept of zone. subdividing, and correlation strata from one area to another. Deshayes in France . Basis for Biostratigraphic Zonation: Changes in Organisms through Time. Biostratigraphic units are extended away from the areas where they were defined or from their reference sections by biostratigraphic correlation, which is the establishment of correspondence in biostratigraphic character and position between geographically separated sections or outcrops based on their fossil content.


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Biostratigraphy originated in the early biostratigraphic correlation century, where geologists recognised that the correlation of fossil biostratigraphic correlation between rocks of similar type but different age decreased as the difference in age increased.

The method was well-established before Charles Darwin explained the mechanism behind it— evolution.

Microfossils such as acritarchschitinozoansconodontsdinoflagellate cysts, ostracodspollen biostratigraphic correlation, spores and foraminiferans are also frequently used. Different fossils work well for sediments of different ages; trilobites, for example, are particularly useful for sediments of Cambrian age.

To work well, the fossils biostratigraphic correlation must be widespread geographically, so that they can occur in many different places.

International Stratigraphic Guide

They must also be short lived as a species, so that the period of time during which they could be incorporated in the sediment is relatively narrow. The longer lived the species, the poorer the stratigraphic precision, so fossils that evolve rapidly, such as ammonites, are favoured over forms that evolve biostratigraphic correlation more slowly, like nautiloids.

There are two principal types of range zones: Taxon-range Biostratigraphic correlation see Figure 1.

The body of strata representing the known range of stratigraphic and geographic biostratigraphic correlation of specimens of a particular taxon. It is the sum of the documented occurrences in all individual sections and localities from which the particular taxon has been identified.

biostratigraphic correlation


The boundaries of a taxon-range zone are biohorizons marking the outermost limits of known occurrence in every local section of specimens whose range is to be represented by the zone. The boundaries of a taxon-range zone in any one section are the horizons of lowest stratigraphic occurrence and highest stratigraphic occurrence of the specified taxon in that section.

The taxon-range zone is named from the taxon whose range it expresses. Local Range of a Taxon. The local range of a taxon may be specified in some biostratigraphic correlation section, area, or region as long as the context is clear.

Concurrent-range Zone see Figure 2. The body of strata including the overlapping parts of the range zones biostratigraphic correlation two specified taxa.


This type of zone may include taxa additional to those specified as biostratigraphic correlation elements of the zone, but only the two specified taxa are used to define the boundaries of the zone.

The boundaries of a concurrent-range zone are defined in any particular stratigraphic section by the lowest stratigraphic occurrence of the higher-ranging biostratigraphic correlation the two defining taxa and the highest stratigraphic occurrence of the lower-ranging of the two defining taxa.

A concurrent-range zone is named from both the taxa that define and characterize the biozone by their concurrence. Interval Zone see Figures 3 and 4.

Biostratigraphy - Wikipedia

The body of fossiliferous strata between two specified biohorizons. Biostratigraphic correlation a zone is not itself biostratigraphic correlation the range zone of a taxon or concurrence of taxa; it is defined and identified only on the basis of its bounding biohorizons Figure 3.


In subsurface stratigraphic work, where the section biostratigraphic correlation penetrated from top to bottom and biostratigraphic correlation identification is generally made from drill cuttings, often contaminated by recirculation of previously drilled sediments and material sloughed from the walls of the drill hole, interval zones defined as the stratigraphic section comprised between the highest known occurrence first occurrence downward of two specified taxa are particularly useful Figure 4.