International Commission on Stratigraphy

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS ) denotes ( International Commission on Stratigraphy ), sometimes unofficially as International Stratigraphic Commission ( International Stratigraphic Commission), is concerned with stratigraphic and geochronological issues on a worldwide basis.

The ICS is the largest scientific organization under the International Union of Geological Sciences ( IUGS ​​) and represents a permanent commission, which meets more often than on the quarterly dates that are recognized by the IUGS ​​in the context of meetings or working groups.

The ICS itself has currently 15 sub-committees, which are responsible for the different systems of the Phanerozoic, the Neoproterozoic, the Precambrian as well as generally for stratigraphic classification.


One of the main objectives of the ICS is to develop a multi-disciplinary and globally applicable geological time scale. This project was started in 1974 and aims to simplify regional paläontogische and geobiological comparisons. For this purpose shall be defined for each stratigraphic unit known as a GSSP (Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point), satisfies the strict and uniform criteria.

In addition, the ICS defines alternative methods and criteria used to cross-regional comparison of rock sequences, the so-called GSSA ( Global Standard Stratigraphic Age), which are based solely on physical methods of dating ( magnetostratigraphy, radiometric dating, etc.). In addition, the ICS supports the open and international exchange between geoscientists in all fields of geosciences sub-areas.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy has spawned numerous sub-divisions, which operate on a regional or national level and are responsible for the field work, the classification of the local results and the organization of scientific conferences on site.


The ICS publishes both different results and scientific works as well as regularly updated policies, which in the International Stratigraphic Chart ( International stratigraphic chart) to be published. This table summarizes both the currently debated proposals as well as the currently valid guidelines, which were published after the most recent meeting of the ICS. The proposals of the ICS are formulated as recommendations and deal with the dating and selection of geological formations and other stratigraphic units and issues of nomenclature. They are not official until until they were accepted or rejected by the umbrella organization IUGS ​​. De facto, the results of ICS meetings almost always accepted and immediately applied in geoscience everyday. Exceptions are rare, affecting cases in which there is a substantial difference of opinion within the framework of the meetings even after prolonged discussion. Such issues are resolved before the General Assembly of the IUGS ​​.

Such a controversy arose after the proposal published in 2004, well located the Pleistocene and the Holocene from the in use but take out unofficial Quaternary and assign the Neogene and Quaternary quit altogether. This decision provoked fierce opposition among geoscientists, especially among the persons involved in the Quaternary geologists. The proposal was eventually withdrawn, Pleistocene and Holocene remained so composed. In addition, the proposal was made to the Pliocene Gelasian belonging to strike the Pleistocene. The formal adoption of the proposal in June 2009.