GSSP for the Pliocene - Pleistocene Boundary.


Definition:

The base of the Pleistocene Series is defined as the base of the marine claystones conformably overlying the sapropelic Marker Bed "e" in the Vrica Section, Italy.


Location:

The Vrica Section is located 4km south of the town of Crotone in the Marchesato Peninsula, Calabria, Italy. Latitude: 3902'18.61" north, longitude:1708'05.79" east.
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Sedimentology:

The Vrica section consists of open sea deposits preserved in the emergent portion of a late Cenozoic sedimentary basin. The rocks are bathyal, marly and silty claystones (dark grey or blue-gray in color) with interbedded, fairly conspicuous, pale grey-pink sapropelic marker beds. Some very thin sandy horizons and a volcanic ash layer also occur within the section. Sedimentation rates through the section range from 310mm to more than 750mm per thousand years.
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Primary Markers:

The base of the Pleistocene Series is defined as the base of the marine claystones conformably overlying the sapropelic Marker Bed "e" in the Vrica Section

Secondary Markers:

Foraminifera and Nannoplankton:
The boundary between the Last appearance Datum of Discoaster brouweri (below) and the Last Appearance Datums of Globigerinoides obliquus extremus and Cyclococcolithus macintyrei and the First Appearance Datums of Geophyrocapsa oceanica and Globigerinoides tenellus (above); these taxa are distinctive foraminifera and nannoplankton of widespread distribution.

Paleomagnetics:
The boundary is some 3 - 6m (representing a period of 10,000 - 20,000 years) above the top of the Olduvai normal polarity subchron.

References:

Aguirre, E. and Pasini, G., 1985. The Pliocene - Pleistocene Boundary. Episodes, 8/2, 116 - 120.

Bassett, M. G., 1985. Towards a "Common Language" in Stratigraphy. Episodes, 8/2, 87.