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Last updated: 09/09/2009

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International Commission on Stratigraphy

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The Subcommission on Neogene Stratigraphy (SNS) is part of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). The SNS was founded in 1971 in Lyon - during the IV congress on Mediterranean Neogene Stratigraphy - by Professor Menner, chairman of the ICS.


The present SNS executive consists of Frits Hilgen (Chairman, Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Javier Sierro (Vice-Chairman, University of Salamanca, Spain), David Hodell (Vice-Chairman) and Elena Turco (Secretary, University of Parma, Italy).


To the present day the prime objective of the subcommission was to provide optimum clarity and stability in the Neogene Chronostratigraphic Scale by carefully selecting and defining Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSP's) for Series and Stages. The base and top of the Neogene System, and the base of the Gelasian, Piacenzian, Zanclean (= base of Pliocene Series), Messinian, Tortanian, and Serravallian Stages are now all defined by GSSP's.

Regional committees and Working groups

The SNS presently has four regional committees ( Mediterranean, Pacific, Atlantic and Nordic) and one working group on defining the Langhian and Burdigalian GSSP's chaired by Isabella Raffi. The mandate of the working group is to propose remaining GSSP's for these Miocene stages and to place them in an astronomocally-calibrated time scale.