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192.9 ± 0.3 – 184.2 ± 0.3 Ma
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitAge
Stratigraphic unitStage
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionFAD of the Ammonite species Bifericeras donovani and genus Apoderoceras
Lower boundary GSSPRobin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, England, UK
54°24′25″N 0°29′51″W / 54.4069°N 0.4975°W / 54.4069; -0.4975
Lower GSSP ratifiedMarch 2005[2]
Upper boundary definitionPeniche, Portugal
Upper boundary GSSPFAD of the Ammonite D. (E.) simplex
39°22′15″N 9°23′07″W / 39.3708°N 9.3853°W / 39.3708; -9.3853
Upper GSSP ratified2014[3]

The Pliensbachian is an age of the geologic timescale and stage in the stratigraphic column. It is part of the Early or Lower Jurassic Epoch or Series and spans the time between 192.9 ±0.3 Ma and 184.2 ±0.3 Ma (million years ago).[4] The Pliensbachian is preceded by the Sinemurian and followed by the Toarcian.[5]

The Pliensbachian ended with the extinction event called the Toarcian turnover. During the Pliensbachian, the middle part of the Lias was deposited in Europe. The Pliensbachian is roughly coeval with the Charmouthian regional stage of North America.

Stratigraphic definitions[edit]

The Pliensbachian takes its name from the hamlet of Pliensbach in the community of Zell unter Aichelberg in the Swabian Alb, some 30 km east of Stuttgart in Germany. The name was introduced into scientific literature by German palaeontologist Albert Oppel in 1858.

The base of the Pliensbachian is at the first appearances of the ammonite species Bifericeras donovani and genera Apoderoceras and Gleviceras. The Wine Haven profile near Robin Hood's Bay (Yorkshire, England) has been appointed as global reference profile for the base (GSSP).[6]

The top of the Pliensbachian (the base of the Toarcian Stage) is at the first appearance of ammonite genus Eodactylites.


Pleuroceras spinatum Museum of Toulouse

The Pliensbachian contains five ammonite biozones in the boreal domain:

In the Tethys domain, the Pliensbachian contains six biozones:



  1. ^ "International Chronostratigraphic Chart" (PDF). International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  2. ^ Meister, Christian; Aberhan, Martin; Blau, Joachim; Dommergues, Jean-Louis; Feist-Burkhardt, Susanne; Hailwood, Ernie; Hart, Malcolm; Hesselbo, Stephen; Hounslow, Mark; Hylton, Mark; Martin, Nicol; Page, Kevin; Price, Greg (June 2006). "The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Pliensbachian Stage (Lower Jurassic), Wine Haven, Yorkshire, UK". Episodes. 29 (2): 93–106. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2006/v29i2/003. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  3. ^ da Rocha, Rogério Bordalo; Mattioli, Emanuela; Duarte, Luís Vítor; Pittet, Bernard; Elmi, Serge; Mouterde, René; Cabral, Maria Cristina; Comas-Rengifo, Maria José; Gómez, Juan José; Goy, António; Hesselbo, Stephen P.; Jenkyns, Hugh C.; Littler, Kate; Mailliot, Samuel; Veiga de Oliveira, Luiz Carlos; Osete, Maria Luisa; Nicola, Perilli; Pinto, Susana; Ruget, Christiane; Suan, Guillaume (September 2016). "Base of the Toarcian Stage of the Lower Jurassic defined by the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) at the Peniche section (Portugal)". Episodes. 39 (3): 460–481. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2016/v39i3/99741.
  4. ^ Benton, Michael J. (2012). Prehistoric Life. Edinburgh, Scotland: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0-7566-9910-9.
  5. ^ See Gradstein et al. (2004) for a detailed geologic timescale
  6. ^ Meister et al. (2006)


  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
  • Howart, M.K.; 2002: The Lower Lias of Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, and the work of Leslie Bairstow, Bulletin of the Natural History Museum. Geology Series 58, p. 81–152, Cambridge University Press, The Natural History Museum, (abstract)
  • Meister, C.; Aberhan, M.; Blau, J.; Dommergues, J.-L.; Feist-Burkhardt, S.; Hailwood, E.A.; Hart, M.; Hesselbo, S.P.; Hounslow, M.W.; Hylton, M.; Morton, N.; Page, K & Price, G.D.; 2006: The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Pliensbachian Stage (Lower Jurassic), Wine Haven, Yorkshire, UK, Episodes 29(2), pp. 93–106.
  • Oppel, C.A.; 1856-1858: Die Juraformation Englands, Frankreichs und des südwestlichen Deutschlands: nach ihren einzelnen Gliedern engetheilt und verglichen, 857 pp., Ebner & Seubert, Stuttgart. (in German)

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