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NCS meeting report 08/06/2015

Meeting report: National Commission for Stratigraphy Belgium

GSB-RBINS, 08/06/2015

Start : 10h05 – End : 12h50

Present (11): N.Vandenberghe (P), M. De Ceukelaire (S and Webmaster), E. Goemaere (S), Isabelle Belanger, Frieda Bogemans, Marie Coen-Aubert, Vanessa Heyvaert, Katrien De Nil, Michiel Dusar, Alain Herbosch, Stephen Louwye

Excused (2): B. Mottequin, Jacques Verniers

Agenda :


1. Observation on  the presence/absence of the members of the different subcommissions.


No representatives present of the subcommission Carboniferous (E. Poty & B. Delcambre)  and of the Service Géologique de Wallonie ( M. Laloux). They were also absent in the previous meeting and did not respond to earlier e-mail messages. E. Poty  will be contacted by the chairman to request a more active involvement and E. Goemaere will contact B. Delcambre with a similar request.


1B. Approval of  Report of last NCS written meeting (11-2014 http://ncs/meeting-reports/report-2014-11#) : no reactions received  from the Carboniferious and Perm-Trias-Jura  subcommissions.


Reactions on the report following the  ‘written procedure’ meeting :

  • NCS reports can be written in English and not necessarily  in French and Dutch .
  • Website : introductory texts are still missing for some subcommissions (e.g. Dinantian), ,also the list of subcommission members is in some cases missing  or needing an update.
  • On the written procedure: some subcommissions have insisted on having physisical meetings  , twice a year,  and consider a written procedure meeting as an exceptional measure.


2. Subcommission activities.

 2.1. Subcommission Lower Paleozoic

  • Completed (litho-, bio-,chrono-) regarding Silurian and Ordovician.
  • Goutteux member ( lower member of the Brutia Formation)-  in progress àneeds aceptance by the members of the subcommission.
  • à discussion on the significance  and use of the  terms ‘discussion’ ,’ proposal’, ‘ submitted’ and ‘adopted by’  à the results of this discussion and a more explicitly written procedure text will be put on the website ; the board of the subcommissions is responsible for the correct application  of the procedure.

 Application of rules :  the use of an own stratigraphic nomenclature by the mapping teams of the Carte Géologique de Wallonie has been discussed. It is apparently difficult to convince the mapping teams to try to follow the procedures outlined by the ncs. 

E. Goemaere will repeat  and explain the ncs position during the next  mapping team meeting at the SGW/SPW of Monday 15th June 2015. It will be asked to M. Laloux  to document the units newly described during the mapping ; it can then be evaluated how these descriptions and their nomenclature  can  be brought in line with  the ncs procedure  and eventually a separate category on the website can be temporarily reserved for the new mapping derived units  assuring that the units used on the maps can be found in the list of the ncs website .

2.2. Subcommission Devonian

The subcommission has not had a full meeting with all members.

The discussion between M. Coen and D. Lagrou about the formations in the Campine Basin by the latter have had a positive outcome.  The proposed  Heibaart  formation has been withdrawn  and M. Coen will propose to the subcommission members to accept the other new units proposed by David Lagrou and posted on the website under discussions and proposals on 30/04/2015.

M. Coen reminds the commission that the stratigraphic research during IGCP-596 will be presented during an international conference at the KBIN-IRSNB  in September 2015 ; 75 participants have already be registered and the field visits will involve also the subcommission members.

 2.3. Subcommission Carboniferous


No activities of the full subcommission have been reportedand no information was received by the ncs secretary.

2.4. Subcommission Perm-Trias-Jura

No full subcommission meeting has taken place.  I. Belanger informs the commission about the future discussions, probably during a field meeting, to rank the ‘couche de Robelmont’ (Hondelange Member)  as a formal ‘bed’.

Also the member list will be updated , allowing the constitution of an active group involved in the P-T-J.

2.5. Subcommission Cretaceous.

No fullsubcommission meeting was held.

A discussion was heldregarding the members of the Vert-Galand Formation( Nieuwkerke Noordhoek Member and Nieuwkerke De Seule Member), their lateral facies variability and the problematic correlation of units between the West Flanders and Hainaut provinces.

Actually 3 subdivions are in existence along each other and it is suggested to make a discussion text and panel putting these three alongside each other and indicating thecorrelation levels that could be used to link the subdivisions.However some more discussion will be needed as the the subdivision tools between the different subdivisions are different (surface mapping, biostratigraphy, geophysical bore hole logging).


A discussion is held about the stratigraphic status and ranking of the ‘altered clays with flint’ on top of many Cretaceous deposits. On some maps they are formally mapped and will be described as a complement to the lithologicalunits they have been altered from.

It is proposed to create on the website anew category of ‘alteration units’, at the same level of the subcommissions, in which all mapped units will be grouped and discussed(‘argiles à silex’,’ kaolins’ saprolithes,red alterites in the Ardennes– ‘chapeaux de fer’ …)

2.6 Subcommission Paleogene-Neogene

A meeting was held in August 2014 where several actions have been started up.

A new meeting is scheduled for 13th July and an open-science meeting in the second week of December 2015., dealing with subjects of purely stratigraphic nature but also with practical applications as the use of stratigraphic  information in models for example.

Discussions on the website :  no reactions so far on Inden, Brussels and Kiezeloöliet and therefore these units can be confirmed  during the July meeting of the subcommission and submitted for final approval to ncs/ there are comments on the Ieper Group discussion text  to be discussed during the July meeting of the subcommission. Texts are in preparation on the Diest Fm (Rieko Adriaens)  and Voort (M. Dusar and N. Vandenberghe).

The text on Stramproy will be taken of the website as  this unit is Quaternary in age and will be dealt with by the appropriate subcommission in due time.

2.7. Subcommission Quaternary .

Three working group meetings have been involved with   Arenberg Fm , Meuse-Rhine Group , Weelde Fm.

One field trip has been organised  to the Marke valley in the framework of the redefinition of the Arenberg Formation.

The Gent Fm as proposed on the ncs website will need limited modification.


3. Corrected Proposal text procedure for approval of new lithostratigraphic units or amendments (9 June 2015):


Difference in content between  a Discussion and Proposal text


A discussion  offers alternative views or introduces new ideas on a  particular stratigraphic  item  and  has as objective the stimulation of discussion on these  ideas  and  receive feedback.

A proposal is a text with a specific  proposition to change or to add the description of  a particular  stratigraphic unit or propose a change of rank of change of grouping of units , compared to the description existing on the website at the time of the introduction of the proposal.

Technically , only  proposals approved by the ncs  can appear  in the ncs website list of official lithostratigraphic units ( for procedure see hereafter).


The central role of the Subcommission

The subcommissions themselves,  can take the initiative to start a discussion on the website  and subcommissions can also post a proposal on the website.

However, any person or group of persons  can  start a discussion  or write a proposal on a stratigraphic  theme  related to the objectives of the National Stratigraphic Commission on the ncs website. Importantly, both discussion and proposal texts must be  submitted  to the relevant subcommission. If the subcommission judges the discussions or proposals submitted  reasonable contributions, its secretary will transmit the  texts to the webmaster for their  publication on the website under the heading ‘discussion and proposals’  and clearly indicated whether the text  is a discussion or a proposal.  The subcommissions are urged to keep an open mind on all submitted texts; decisions in the subcommissions to support the transmission of the texts to the website are taken preferably by consensus within 3 months after the submission. The  chairman and the secretary of the subcommission can decide to organise a written consultation of the subcommission rather than a physical meeting.

Texts should be submitted electronically (text .doc and figures .jpg 96 dpi). For discussions no particular format is required, for proposals the structure adopted in the  Geologica Belgica  2001 volume  on lithostratigraphy  preferably should be  followed .


Procedure for approving new or adapted  lithostratigraphic units and introduction in the list of official units on the ncs website

On the website, it will clearly be  indicated whether the text  is a discussion or a proposal.  Also  it will be indicated  to whom the comments should be addressed and  before which date.  For discussion texts  the time open  for  reactions can vary  but for  formal proposals   the time open for reaction since publication on the website is  3 months.  

A discussion  text,  after the period open for reactions, is reexamined by the subcommission considering the received comments and reactions; the subcommission decides on further action such as the transformation of the discussion text into a  formal proposal, in the resubmission  of a modified discussion text, in a withdrawal of the discussion from the site or in a prolongation of the present discussion text on the website. 

A proposal text, after the period open for reactions, can be adapted  based on the received comments and reactions. The subcommission judges whether major changes, minor changes or no changes are needed. If major changes are needed, an adapted proposal text can  be resubmitted by the subcommission (and follow again the procedure outlined above);  if only minor or no changes are requested, the subcommission informs the webmaster by delivering the eventually slightly modified text which will now be put on the website, obviously under the heading proposal, with indication ‘to be approved at next ncs meeting’.  The  proposal can be formally accepted by the ncs in its next upcoming meeting. If accepted  during this meeting the unit receives an official status and will be included in the website at the appropriate stratigraphic position. If not accepted by ncs , the proposal is sent for adaptation to the subcommission.


4. Varia

4.1. How to make a reference to the website ?

The correct reference is :

Author name , year, name of the unit , adress of the website

It is important that our procedure for allowing a text to the website needs the quality of a ‘review procedure’ in  common journal papers ; authors can refer to the procedure outlined on the website and make this known in their CV . It is up to evaluators in commissions to consider these contributions as acceptable contributions and eventually even as equivalent to peer reviewed papers but obviously the quality of our website  and the quality of the subcommissions will play a substantial role to achieve this status.

4.2.  Miscellanea Geologica

The ncs should have a permanent section in the Miscellanea.  All actual  discussions and proposals  on the site should be reported each month alongside with the general information and obviously the address  to access to the website.

4.3. Confirmation of the subcommission board

It is decided to introduce the rule that the board ( chairperson and secretary) of the subcommission should be confirmed or replaced every 3 years in order to allow a more easy intervention in case of non activity of teh subcommission.

4.4. How to deal with changing stratigraphic nomenclature after the publication of the map ?

In principle each map has a date of print which obviously refers to the stratigraphic definitions valid  at that time. For changes since the date of print the user should refer to the ncs website.

A discussion is held on the possibility of ‘print on demand’  versions of maps  or on the way of delivering up to date nomenclature and stratigraphic information when maps are consulted on the website , a much more common situation than the purchase of new print versions of a map.






Secretaries                                                       President