Terminal Proterozoic

Because of its unique character (early metazoan faunas, isotope spikes, multiple (global?) glaciations) and it being the prelude to the “Cambrian explosion” of hard-bodied fossils, the Terminal Proterozoic has been the domain of a dedicated subcommission.

This subcommission recently led the process to formalize the Ediacaran Period and System, complete with a detailed base Ediacaran GSSP at Enorama Creek, Australia, defined by the onset of the cap carbonates overlying Marinoan glacial deposits (e.g., Knoll et al., 2004a, Knoll et al., 2004b; see also Whitfield, 2004). This subcommission remains active and is currently named the Subcommision of Ediacaran Stratigraphy (see Subcommissions of ICS). Its officers are:

Chair: Dr. James Gehling
South Australian Museum,
North Terrace, Adelaide, 5000 Australia,
Tel. +61-8-8207-7441, e-mail: jgehling@ozemail.com

Vice Chair: Dr. Shuhai Xiao
Department of Geological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnical Institute and University,
4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0420, USA,
Tel. +1-540-231-1336, e-mail: xiao@vt.edu

Secretary: Dr. Graham Shields
School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University,
Townsville, Queensland 4814, Australia,
Tel. +61-7-4781-5008, e-mail: graham.shields@jcu.edu.au

The new Precambrian Subcommission will work actively with the Ediacaran Subcommission, one focusing on a complete and coherent time scale for all of the Precambrian at eon and era rank, the other on more detailed subdivision of and events in the Neoproterozoic Era. The process and problems of formalizing the Ediacaran and deciding on its basal GSSP is instructive and captured in the following references.