Stratigraphy of the Middle Devonian boundary: Formal definition of the susceptibility magnetostratotype in Germany with comparisons to sections in the Czech Republic, Morocco and Spain

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One major difficulty in geology is high-resolution correlation among widely separated sections, especially in the Paleozoic where magnetostratigraphy polarity is not well established because rocks are often remagnetized, where critical biostratigraphic zonation may be poor or lacking, or where structural complexities make correlations very difficult. To address this problem, we have been using magnetostratigraphy susceptibility measurements. Here, we report our work from the Middle Devonian in Europe and North Africa. The Middle Devonian (Emsian-Eifelian) global boundary stratotype section and point (GSSP), located in the Eifel Hills, western Germany, was ratified by the International Subcommission on Stratigraphy in 1985, after careful evaluation of the biostratigraphy for this and many other sections. The boundary interval has been characterized using biostratigraphy, and the beginning of the Eifelian stage has been specifically defined by the first occurrence of the conodont Polygnathus costatus partitus. We have collected the Eifel Hills section for magnetic susceptibility (MS) measurement and here we establish it as the magnetostratotype for the Emsian-Eifelian stage boundary, by formally defining the magnetostratigraphy susceptibility for the section. We then collected, measured and compared the magnetostratotype to four other sections for which conodont biostratigraphy has been studied and where P. costatus partitus is present; two Emsian-Eifelian sections in Morocco and two sections in the Czech Republic (including the Emsian-Eifelian parastratotype). Finally, we have measured the MS for the El Puerto Creek section in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain and identified the location of the Emsian-Eifelian boundary within the section based on MS comparison to the GSSP in conjunction with excellent biostratigraphic indicators, primarily brachiopods. While the conodont zonation in the El Puerto Creek section is poorly defined, we believe that the correspondence between the MS and biostratigraphy in the section allows the identification of the Emsian-Eifelian boundary. These results indicate that this method can be successfully applied to marine sequences where ambiguities in correlation exist. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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