Aquitanian (stage)

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The Aquitanian is, in the ICS' geologic timescale, the oldest age or lowest stage in the Miocene. It spans the time between 23.03 ± 0.05 Ma and 20.43 ± 0.05 Ma (million years ago) during the Early Miocene. It is a dry, cooling period.[4] The Aquitanian succeeds the Chattian (the youngest age of the Oligocene) and precedes the Burdigalian.

23.03 – 20.44 Ma
Key events in the Neogene
-24 —
-22 —
-20 —
-18 —
-16 —
-14 —
-12 —
-10 —
-8 —
-6 —
-4 —
-2 —
North American prairie expands[2]
An approximate timescale of key Neogene events.
Vertical axis: millions of years ago.
Formerly part ofTertiary Period/System
Usage Information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional UsageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitAge
Stratigraphic unitStage
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definition
Lower boundary GSSPLemme-Carrosio Section, Carrosio, Italy
44°39′32″N 8°50′11″E / 44.6589°N 8.8364°E / 44.6589; 8.8364
GSSP ratified1996[3]
Upper boundary definitionNot formally defined
Upper boundary definition candidates
Upper boundary GSSP candidate section(s)Astronomically tuned ODP-core

The Aquitanian age overlaps with the Harrisonian, Agenian, Pareora, Landon, Otaian, and Waitakian ages from various regional timescales.

Stratigraphic definitionEdit

The Aquitanian stage was named after the region Aquitaine in France and was introduced in scientific literature by Swiss stratigrapher Karl Mayer-Eymar in 1858.

The base of the Aquitanian (also the base of the Miocene series and the Neogene system) is defined as the place in the stratigraphic column at the first appearance of foram species Paragloborotalia kugleri, the extinction of calcareous nanoplankton species Reticulofenestra bisecta (which forms the base of nanoplankton biozone NN1), and the base of magnetic chronozone C6Cn.2n. The official GSSP for the Aquitanian stage lies in the Lemme-Carrosio section near the small village of Carrosio (north of Genoa) in northern Italy.[5]

The top of the Aquitanian stage (the base of the Burdigalian) is at the first appearance of foram species Globigerinoides altiaperturus and the top of magnetic chronozone C6An.



  1. ^ Krijgsman, W.; Garcés, M.; Langereis, C. G.; Daams, R.; Van Dam, J.; Van Der Meulen, A. J.; Agustí, J.; Cabrera, L. (1996). "A new chronology for the middle to late Miocene continental record in Spain". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 142 (3–4): 367–380. Bibcode:1996E&PSL.142..367K. doi:10.1016/0012-821X(96)00109-4.
  2. ^ Retallack, G. J. (1997). "Neogene Expansion of the North American Prairie". PALAIOS. 12 (4): 380–390. doi:10.2307/3515337. JSTOR 3515337. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  3. ^ Steininger, Fritz F.; M. P. Aubry; W. A. Berggren; M. Biolzi; A. M. Borsetti; Julie E. Cartlidge; F. Cati; R. Corfield; R. Gelati; S. Iaccarino; C. Napoleone; F. Ottner; F. Rögl; R. Roetzel; S. Spezzaferri; F. Tateo; G. Villa; D. Zevenboom (1997). "The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Neogene" (PDF). Episodes. 20 (1): 23–28. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/1997/v20i1/005.
  4. ^ Edward Petuch, Ph.D. Florida Atlantic University, Department of Geosciences
  5. ^ The Aquitanian GSSP was established by Steininger et al. (1997)


  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
  • Mayer-Eymar, K.; 1858: Versuch einer neuen Klassifikation der Tertiär-Gebilde Europa’s, Verhandlungen der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft 17–19 (August 1857), p. 70–71 & 165–199. (in German)
  • Steininger, F.F.; Aubry, M.P.; Berggren, W.A.; Biolzi, M.; Borsetti, A.M.; Cartlidge, J.E.; Cati, F.; Corfield, R.; Gelati, R.; Iaccarino, S.; Napoleone, C.; Ottner, F.; Rogl, F.; Roetzel, R.; Spezzaferri, S.; Tateo, F.; Villa, G. & Zevenboom, D.; 1997: The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Neogene, Episodes 20(1), p. 23-28.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 44°39′32″N 8°50′11″E / 44.6589°N 8.8364°E / 44.6589; 8.8364