Base-Changhsingian GSSP is Unveiled

A special ceremony was held on June 14, 2003 at Meishan, China to unveil the GSSP monument for the base of the Changhsingian Stage (see pictures). Changxing County officials provided a colourful venue for the ceremony, complete with fireworks. There were about 100 people in attendance including some local people, county officials, Director Sha of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, and participants of the International Palaeontological Congress pre-congress fieldtrip A3 led by Shen Shuzhong, Tong Jinnan and Charles Henderson. Professor Sha introduced some of the work that had been done to complete this international agreement and Charles Henderson made remarks on behalf of the Subcommission on Permian Stratigraphy (see Permophiles#47). Doug Erwin spoke about the significance of this site, particularly that we now have a body stratotype for the last two million years of the Permian leading up to Earth’s Greatest Extinction. The lower monument includes a carving of the defining conodont species, Clarkina wangi, which first appears 88 cm above the base of the Changxing Limestone at Meishan Section D, which is the same location as the PTB GSSP. A second monument next to the outcrop provides stratigraphic details (see Permophiles#43 for full information) for the GSSP. These two GSSPs are the centerpiece of an expanding GeoPark (see home page of SPS website). During the ceremony a second GSSP was also highlighted. The base-Wuchiapingian (base-Lopingian Series) GSSP was also recently ratified and county officials from Laibin in Guangxi Province have agreed to protect the site referred to as the Penglaitan Section along the south bank of the Hongshui River (see Permophiles 39 for details).