Stratigraphic nomenclature is the system of proper names given to specific stratigraphic units, which provides a universal language essential for all scientific publications. Consistent and effective communication in the geosciences requires systematic use of stratigraphic nomenclature. This review of geologic names usage and stratigraphic principles serves as a foundation for professionals and students to improve geoscience communication among all industries.
The importance of consistent stratigraphic nomenclature as a means of effective geologic communication has been recognized since the USGS established the Geologic Names Committee (GNC) in 1899 to evaluate and address issues of nomenclature. A geologic names review is more than spell checking geologic names and correcting usage of rank and rank terms. It also includes making sure publications are in conformance with the North American Stratigraphic Code or the International Stratigraphic Guide. It is essential to make sure there is stratigraphic consistency between text, correlation charts, descriptions of stratigraphic units, figures, and tables within papers and geologic maps, as this is a prerequisite for clear explanations, and precise discussion of data and interpretations.
About the speaker
Randall Orndorff is a Research Geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, Florence Bascom Geoscience Center. Mr. Orndorff is internationally recognized for his work in geologic mapping, stratigraphy, and structural geology and was appointed Secretary General for North and Central America for the Commission for the Geologic Map of the World. He has been a Commissioner representing the USGS on the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature since the late 1990’s and is Chair of the USGS Geologic Names Committee. Randall has published on many geology subjects, including stratigraphy, regional geology, structural geology, and karst, and has published 29 geologic maps. Also, Randall has 15 years of experience in project and program management for the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) as Associate Program Coordinator and the Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center (EGPSC) as Director.
For those who wish to earn CEU credits, please complete the associated on-demand GOLI course that was developed from this webinar.
- Download presentation slides
- Divisions of Geologic Time – Major Chronostratigraphic and Geochronologic Units
- International Chronostratigraphic Chart
- North American Stratigraphic Code
- National Geologic Map Database – Geolex
- Journal of Stratigraphy, v.6, n.2: How to use stratigraphic nomenclature in papers, illustrations, and talks
- USGS Suggestions to Authors 7
- Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Reports of the U.S. Geological Survey
- International Stratigraphic Guide