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303.7 ± 0.1 - 298.9 ± 0.15 Ma
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Type locality for the Gzhelian in Gzhel, Russia
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitAge
Stratigraphic unitStage
Time span formalityFormal
Type sectionGzhel horizon, Ghzel, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Lower boundary definitionNot formally defined
Lower boundary definition candidatesFAD of the Conodont Idiognathodus simulator[2]
Lower boundary GSSP candidate section(s)
Upper boundary definitionFAD of the Conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the morphotype Streptognathodus wabaunsensis chronocline
Upper boundary GSSPAidaralash, Ural Mountains, Kazakhstan
50°14?45?N 57°53?29?E / 50.2458°N 57.8914°E / 50.2458; 57.8914
GSSP ratified1996[3]

The Gzhelian ( ZHELL-ee-?n) is an age in the ICS geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is the youngest stage of the Pennsylvanian, the youngest subsystem of the Carboniferous. The Gzhelian lasted from 303.7 to 298.9 Ma.[4] It follows the Kasimovian age/stage and is followed by the Asselian age/stage, the oldest subdivision of the Permian system.

The Gzhelian is more or less coeval with the Stephanian stage of the regional stratigraphy of Europe.

Name and definition

The Gzhelian is named after the Russian village of Gzhel (Russian: ), nearby Ramenskoye, not far from Moscow. The name and type locality were defined by Sergei Nikitin (1850-1909) in 1890.

The base of the Gzhelian is at the first appearance of the Fusulinida genera Daixina, Jigulites and Rugosofusulina, or at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus zethus. The top of the stage (the base of the Permian system) is at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the Streptognathus "wabaunsensis" chronocline.[5] Six meters higher in the reference profile, the Fusulinida species Sphaeroschwagerina vulgaris aktjubensis appears.

At the moment (2008), a golden spike for the Gzhelian stage is yet lacking. A candidate is a section along the Ussolka river (a tributary of the Belaya river) at the edge of the hamlet of Krasnoussolsky, about 120 kilometres south-east of Ufa and 60 kilometres north-east of Sterlitamak (in Bashkortostan).[6]


The Gzhelian stage is subdivided into five biozones, based on the conodont genus Streptognathodus:

  • Streptognathodus wabaunsensis and Streptognathodus bellus Zone
  • Streptognathodus simplex Zone
  • Streptognathodus virgilicus Zone
  • Streptognathodus vitali Zone
  • Streptognathodus simulator Zone

Gzhelian life


Arthropoda of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Flénu Formation, Belgium
Middle Coal Formation, Pictou Group, Nova Scotia, Canada
Bochum Formation and Saarbrücker Schichten, Germany
the Netherlands
Middle and Lower Coal Measures, United Kingdom
Arkansas, Carbondale Formation, Illinois, Allegheny Formation, Maryland, Pottsville Formation, Pennsylvania, United States
Flénu Formation, Belgium
Saarbrücker Schichten, Germany
Foel and Farrington Formations, United Kingdom and northeastern North America[]
A 2 m (79 in) long millipede
Pennsylvanian France, England A dragonfly with wingspans ranging from 65 cm (25.6 in) to over 70 cm (28 in)
Pallero member, Bajo de Véliz Formation, Argentina A eurypterid

Cartilaginous fishes

Chondrichthyes of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Carboniferous Czech Republic A xenacanthidan elasmobranch
Carboniferous to Cisuralian Germany A xenacanthidan elasmobranch
Carboniferous to Cisuralian Germany; Nebraska, United States A xenacanthidan elasmobranch



Temnospondyli of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Late Carboniferous Jefferson County, Ohio An early basal dissorophid, similar to Platyhystrix.
Late Carboniferous-Early Permian Texas, New Mexico; United States An edopoid amphibian in the family Cochleosauridae. It was likely a terrestrial vermivore with relatively weak bite.
Joggins and Parrsboro Formations, Nova Scotia, Canada
Spain A genus of basal temnospondyl amphibian which lived in a marine environment.
New Mexico A dvinosaurian temnospondyl within the family Trimerorhachidae
  • Onchiodon
    • O. langenhani
    • O. manebachensis
    • O. thuringiensis
Thuringia, Germany A genus of temnospondyl in the family Eryopidae.


Lepospondyli of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Bond Formation, Danville, Illinois


Reptiliomorphs of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
New Mexico A diadectomorph
Colorado, New Mexico, United States A diadectomorph


Eureptilia of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Virgilian (late Kasimovian to early Gzhelian stage) Greenwood County, Kansas, USA The earliest and most basal known captorhinid reptile.
Pennsylvanian United States An araeoscelidian diapsid, the earliest known reptile with two temporal fenestrae.
Stephanian United States A basal araeoscelidian diapsid, one of the earliest known reptiles with two temporal fenestrae and the first known reptile to return to the water,.


Synapsids of the Gzhelian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Kasimovian-Gzhelian Calhouns Shale Formation, Kansas, United States A varanopid
Pennsylvanian Czech Republic An edaphosaurid
Remigiusberg Formation, Saar-Nahe Basin, Germany A sphenacodontid
Kasimovian-Asselian Ludwikowice Formation, Nowa Ruda, Poland A caseasaur
Pennsylvanian to Cisuralian New Mexico, United States An edaphosaurid
Kasimovian-Gzhelian Kansas, United States Eocasea is the oldest and most basal definite caseid.
Pennsylvanian Kansas, United States An edaphosaurid
Pennsylvanian Mattoon Formation, Illinois A haptodontiform
Kasimovian-Kungurian Ada Formation, Oklahoma An ophiacodont
Gzhelian-Artinskian New Mexico; Utah-Arizona border region, both in USA; possibly England The English specimen known as S?. brittanicus is now generally classified as Sphenacodontidae incertae sedis separate from the other Sphenacodon species so may need reassigning.


  1. ^ "Chart/Time Scale". www.stratigraphy.org. International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  2. ^ a b "Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point". International Commission of Stratigraphy. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ Davydov et al. 1998.
  4. ^ Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press
  5. ^ Davydov, V.I.; Glenister, B.F.; Spinosa, C.; Ritter, S.M.; Chernykh, V.V.; Wardlaw, B.R. & Snyder, W.S.; 1998: Proposal of Aidaralash as Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for base of the Permian System, Episodes 21(1): pp 11-18, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Chernykh, V.V.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Schmitz, M. & Snyder, W.S.; 2006: Usolka section (southern Urals, Russia): a potential candidate for GSSP to define the base of the Gzhelian Stage in the global chronostratigraphic scale Geologija 49(2): pp 205-217, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-12-14. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links

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