Climate stratigraphy: use of climate changes for stratigraphical correlation

Philip L. Gibbard, Philip Hughes, Colin N. Waters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter deals with how the recognition and interpretation of palaeoclimatic conditions and change recorded in sedimentary successions can be used for stratigraphical correlation. Climate stratigraphy, or climatostratigraphy (Zubkhov 1965; Gibbard 2007), has been most widely applied in Quaternary successions because the short-term high amplitude glacial-interglacial climate cycles are recorded in deep ocean oxygen isotopic records, presenting some of the most complete and continuous stratigraphical datasets spanning this period and enabling regional chronostratigraphical divisions based mostly on non-marine successions to be correlated to the global timescale (Fig. 10.1). The development of climate stratigraphy has enabled global comparison of orbitally-forced climate cycles. This phenomenon is not unique to the Quaternary (Chapters 9 and 15) and is increasingly used for older parts of the geological record as far back as the Proterozoic (Lantink et al. 2019). Furthermore, super-regional or global climatic events associated with rapid global warming (e.g. Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum event, Mesozoic oceanic anoxic events) or cooling (e.g. mid-Miocene climatic cooling event, Late Ordovician glaciation) often provide an unequivocal basis for high-resolution global correlation. Other climatic indicators (Section 10.2) such as palynomorph assemblages and sedimentary facies are used throughout the geological record for local and regional correlation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeciphering Earth's History: the Practice of Stratigraphy
EditorsAngela Coe
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherGeological Society
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781786205742
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameGeoscience in Practice
PublisherThe Geological Society


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