371.1 ± 1.1 – 358.9 ± 0.4 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 conodont Palmatolepis subperlobata
LAD of the conodont Palmatolepis bogartensis
Lower boundary GSSPCoumiac quarry, Montagne Noire, France
43°27′41″N 3°02′25″E / 43.4613°N 3.0403°E / 43.4613; 3.0403
Lower GSSP ratified1993[5]
Upper boundary definitionFAD of the conodont Siphonodella sulcata (discovered to have biostratigraphic issues as of 2006).[6]
Upper boundary GSSPLa Serre, Montagne Noire, France
43°33′20″N 3°21′26″E / 43.5555°N 3.3573°E / 43.5555; 3.3573
Upper GSSP ratified1990[7]

The Famennian is the later of two faunal stages in the Late Devonian epoch. The most recent estimate for its duration is that it lasted from around 371.1 to 359.3 million years ago.[8] An earlier 2012 estimate, still used by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, is that it lasted from 372.2 million years ago to 358.9 million years ago. It was preceded by the Frasnian stage and followed by the Tournaisian stage.

Major events

In the seas, a novel major group of ammonoid cephalopods called clymeniids appeared, underwent tremendous diversification and spread worldwide, then just as suddenly went extinct.

The beginning of the Famennian is marked by the final stages of a major extinction event, the Kellwasser Event, which is the largest component of the Late Devonian mass extinction. The end of the Famennian experiences a smaller but still quite severe extinction event, the Hangenberg Event. A brief episode of glaciation, possibly linked to the Hangenberg event, occurred during the late Famennian, the first in a series of short glaciations that preceded the Late Palaeozoic ice age of the Carboniferous and Permian periods.[9]


The International Commission on Stratigraphy divides the Famennian into four informal substages based primarily on conodont zonation. The Famennian corresponds to four historical subdivisions in German stratigraphy: the Nehdenian, Hembergian, Dasbergian, and Wocklumian (from oldest to youngest). However, these are based solely on ammonoid zonation and do not precisely correspond to the informal ICS subdivisions. The Uppermost Famennian substage (approximating the Wocklumian) is also known as the Strunian in the Ardennes region.[8]

North American subdivisions of the Famennian include the Chautauquan, Canadaway, Conneaut, Conneautan, Conewango and Conewangan.

Name and definition

The Famennian Stage was proposed in 1855 by Belgian geologist André Hubert Dumont and was accepted for the upper stage of the Upper Devonian by the Subcommission on Devonian Stratigraphy in 1981.[10] It is named after Famenne, a natural region in southern Belgium. The lower GSSP, ratified in 1993, is located within the Coumiac Formation near Cessenon in southern France.[5][8]

Since 2017, the base of the Famennian has been defined by a distinctive turnover of conodonts, particularly the last appearance of Palmatolepis bogartensis, the first appearance of Palmatolepis subperlobata, and an increase in the abundance of Palmatolepis ultima. It was previously defined by the start of the Palmatolepis triangularis conodont zone, but later studies showed that P. triangularis first appeared slightly later than the main conodont turnover in the GSSP.[8][11]

A 2012 ICS timescale based on rough radioisotopic records estimated the Famennian began around 372.2 ± 1.6 Ma, and ended at 358.9 ± 0.4 Ma. In 2020 this was revised to a start at 371.1 ± 1.1 Ma and an end at 359.3 ± 0.3 Ma.[8]


  1. ^ Parry, S. F.; Noble, S. R.; Crowley, Q. G.; Wellman, C. H. (2011). "A high-precision U–Pb age constraint on the Rhynie Chert Konservat-Lagerstätte: time scale and other implications". Journal of the Geological Society. 168 (4). London: Geological Society: 863–872. doi:10.1144/0016-76492010-043.
  2. ^ Kaufmann, B.; Trapp, E.; Mezger, K. (2004). "The numerical age of the Upper Frasnian (Upper Devonian) Kellwasser horizons: A new U-Pb zircon date from Steinbruch Schmidt(Kellerwald, Germany)". The Journal of Geology. 112 (4): 495–501. Bibcode:2004JG....112..495K. doi:10.1086/421077.
  3. ^ Algeo, T. J. (1998). "Terrestrial-marine teleconnections in the Devonian: links between the evolution of land plants, weathering processes, and marine anoxic events". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 353 (1365): 113–130. doi:10.1098/rstb.1998.0195.
  4. ^ "Chart/Time Scale". www.stratigraphy.org. International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  5. ^ a b Klapper, G.; Feist, R.; Becker, R.; House, M. (December 1993). "Definition of the Frasnian/Famennian Stage boundary". 16 (4): 433–441. Retrieved 19 December 2020. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Kaiser, Sandra (1 April 2009). "The Devonian/Carboniferous boundary stratotype section (La Serre, France) revisited". Newsletters on Stratigraphy. 43 (2): 195–205. doi:10.1127/0078-0421/2009/0043-0195. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  7. ^ Paproth, Eva; Feist, Raimund; Flajs, Gerd (December 1991). "Decision on the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary stratotype" (PDF). Episodes. 14 (4): 331–336. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/1991/v14i4/004.
  8. ^ a b c d e Becker, R. T.; Marshall, J. E. A.; Da Silva, A. -C.; Agterberg, F. P.; Gradstein, F. M.; Ogg, J. G. (2020-01-01), Gradstein, Felix M.; Ogg, James G.; Schmitz, Mark D.; Ogg, Gabi M. (eds.), "Chapter 22 - The Devonian Period", Geologic Time Scale 2020, Elsevier, pp. 733–810, ISBN 978-0-12-824360-2, retrieved 2022-02-21
  9. ^ Lakin, J. A.; Marshall, J. E. A.; Troth, I.; Harding, I. C. (15 April 2016). "Greenhouse to icehouse: a biostratigraphic review of latest Devonian–Mississippian glaciations and their global effects". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 423: 439–464. doi:10.1144/SP423.12. S2CID 130689152. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  10. ^ Thorez, Jacques; Dreesen, Roland; Streel, Maurice (2006). "Frasnian". Geologica Belgica. 9 (1–2): 27–45. Retrieved 16 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Spalleta, Claudia; Perri, Maria Cristina; Over, D. Jeffrey; Corradini, Carlo (2017). "Famennian (Upper Devonian) conodont zonation: revised global standard" (PDF). Bulletin of Geosciences. 92 (1): 31–57. doi:10.3140/bull.geosci.1623.

See also