International Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification

Wise Words

"Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing"



The final goal of ISSC is to update, upgrade and implement the International Stratigraphic Guide (ISG, Hedberg, 1976-first edition; Salvador, 1994-second edition; Murphy and Salvador, 1999-abridged edition).

The International Stratigraphic Guide is a most important official document of large distribution which requires a revisitation because of the fundamental advances of stratigraphy in the last approximately thirty years. A project was developed by ISSC following a workshop organized during the 32nd IGC in Florence, entitled "Post-Hedberg Developments in Stratigraphic Classification".

A bottom-up approach was initiated with the distinction of seven subjects (subdisciplines) to be developed by different groups of scientists mostly but not necessarily ISSC members. The project is not funded, and is uniquely based on voluntary participation of dedicated scientists with a team work approach.The target is represented by undergraduate and graduate students, field geologists, professionals.

Each chapter will start with an incipit summarizing the historical development of that peculiar branch of stratigraphy. Basic concepts have to be clearly presented, followed by precise definitions. Then real examples (case - studies) will be presented and discussed.

Finally recommendations and the terminology to be adopted and problems in the application of the methods will be developed.

Background and motivation of this ambitious project are clearly expressed in the presentation published on Newletters on Stratigraphy (Cita, 2007) to which reference is made.

A series of review-articles are foreseen under the umbrella of "New developments on Stratigraphic Classification".

Task Group leaders have been appointed for categories of stratigraphic units not included in previous ISG as

  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Cyclostratigraphy
  • Sequence stratigraphy

Working Group leaders have been appointed for categories already considered as

  • Biostratigraphy
  • Chronostratigraphy
  • Lithostratigraphy
  • Magnetostratigraphy

Each Task Group and/or Working Group consists of a limited number of scientists with broad international experience.

Participation of our large and variegated membership to the project proceeds in two steps:

STEP 1 - is the distribution of a detailed outline of each chapter (= review paper to be published in Newsletters on Stratigraphy). ISSC members have one month on-line review time to send comments or additions to ISSC chair. Comments are sent to the Group leader, who modifies the text accordingly.

STEP 2 -When the text and illustrations are ready, they are sent to ISSC members for another one month on-line review. Additional comments received by ISSC chair are assembled and sent to the group leader for revision of the text prior to its finalization.