GCR block - Portlandian - Berriasian (PTL-BER)

Portlandian - Berriasian

Block Description

UK map showing distribution of GCR sites of GCR block PTL-BER
Distribution of GCR sites of GCR block Portlandian - Berriasian

The GCR sites selected for this GCR Block represent the British ‘Portland beds’ and ‘Purbeck beds’ (uppermost Jurassic to Berriasian in age), strata that provide a geological record of Earth history from about 145 to 137 million years ago (Ma). This interval crosses the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary is the last Age (the Portlandian Age, 146 to 140 million years ago (Ma)) of the Late Jurassic Epoch (which itself spans from 157 to 140 Ma) and the first age (the Berriasian) of the Cretaceous Period (see BER-BAR).

The geology of the local non-marine facies of the ‘Wealden’ (Early Cretaceous in age) is afforded its own GCR Block (see WDN).

In the British area the marine Portland beds (well exposed on the Isles of Portland and Purbeck) were deposited in a triangular area whose corners are Dorset, Oxfordshire and Sussex. They are mostly concealed under younger strata. The Portland Sand lies below the Portland Stone. The predominantly non-marine Purbeck beds, which occur in southern England only (fully exposed on the Isle of Purbeck) are limestones, marls and clays of lacustrine or lagoonal origin, and include palaeosols and marine intercalations.

Palaeoenvironment and palaeogeography


The Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary

The Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary is by definition that between the terminal Jurassic stage and the base of the first Cretaceous stage. The terminal Jurassic stage is again, by definition, the European Portlandian Stage. Eastwards from southwestern and southern Europe to the Crimea and beyond (i.e. in the Tethys biogeographical realm) the boundary lies among marine limestones. In the Boreal realm of Russia, Greenland and Canada, it lies within broken sequences of marine, clastic sediments. In Britain, Greenland, the north Atlantic and northern mainland of Europe there is a variety of latest Portlandian rocks containing related marine faunas.

Across much of Europe (parts of Iberia, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Jura, Russia), the latest Jurassic to early Cretaceous rocks (Portlandian-Berriasian) are often developed in non-marine ‘Purbeck’ and ‘Wealden’ facies. This has obstructed the search for unambiguous correlation and nomenclatural uniformity because the non-marine facies cut across the established marine ammonite-zoned stages of the latest Jurassic and Neocomian Series (see BER-BAR). Additional complications were due to the deeper water facies in Tethys, extreme ammonite provincialism, belated general recognition and separation of the earliest marine Cretaceous strata from the late Jurassic and Valanginian succession and to the aggrandisement of a particular Portlandian facies to rival stage status (Tithonique/Tithonian). Erection of a ‘Purbeckian’ stage by Brogniart in 1829 further confused matters, but was not adopted by d’Orbigny, who saw the Purbecks as part of the Neocomian Series.

Abandonment of the ‘Purbeckian’ and acceptance of the ‘Portlandian’ stage automatically defines the base of the first Cretaceous (Berriasian) stage and greatly simplify nomenclatural matters. In particular, the problem of placing the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary in the Portland-Purbeck-Wealden interval across northwest Europe is now approaching resolution but awaits only a final concensus on the selection of a basal ammonite zone for the Berriasian stage in Tethys.

GCR site selection

Although the relatively common invertebrate fossils do not have a separate selection category in the GCR in their own right, the scientific importance of many stratigraphy sites lies in their fossil content. Therefore, some of the GCR sites are selected specifically for their fossil fauna, which facilitates stratal correlation and enables the interpretation of the environments in which the animals lived. Moreover, some sites have international significance because they have yielded fossils that are the ‘type’ material for a taxonomic group.


See KIM and BER-BAR.

Site List

Your selection found 32 GCR sites. Sites are sorted alphabetically by country, local authority and then by site name -
CodeNameCountryLocal AuthorityGrid RefGCR Site Account
985BiertonEnglandBuckinghamshire CCSP839157Not available
1644Bugle PitEnglandBuckinghamshire CCSP793121Not available
957Warren FarmEnglandBuckinghamshire CCSP851242Not available
435ChalburyEnglandDorset CCSY694837Not available
725Cliff HouseEnglandDorset CCSY762815Not available
1855Corton CuttingEnglandDorset CCSY637855Not available
1006Dungy Head - MupeEnglandDorset CCSY815800Not available
724Durlston BayEnglandDorset CCSZ035780Not available
996Freshwater BayEnglandDorset CCSY691700Not available
1628Gad CliffEnglandDorset CCSY871797Not available
726Houns-toutEnglandDorset CCSY946773Not available
999KingbarrowEnglandDorset CCSY691729Not available
1003Nicodemus KnobEnglandDorset CCSY691739Not available
723Perryfield QuarryEnglandDorset CCSY694712Not available
997Tar RocksEnglandDorset CCSY681725Not available
434Upwey QuarriesEnglandDorset CCSY671852Not available
1000West CliffEnglandDorset CCSY685729Not available
1001Winspit - SeacombeEnglandDorset CCSY976759Not available
1002Yeolands - Grove CliffEnglandDorset CCSY702718Not available
2565River LineEnglandEast Sussex CCTQ714190Not available
999KingbarrowEnglandNorfolkSY691729Not available
999KingbarrowEnglandNorfolkSY691729Not available
999KingbarrowEnglandNorth LanarkshireSY691729Not available
825Great QuarryEnglandSwindonSU151834Not available
722OkusEnglandSwindonSU147836Not available
721Old Town, SwindonEnglandSwindonSU153832Not available
1599ChilmarkEnglandWiltshire CCST975312Not available
2345Dinton (Railway Cutting)EnglandWiltshire CCSU008309Not available
437Lady DownEnglandWiltshire CCST960307Not available
1854Stert BrookEnglandWiltshire CCSU017583Not available
436Teffont EviasEnglandWiltshire CCST990310Not available
483Upper ChicksgroveEnglandWiltshire CCST962296Not available
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