Wenlock Epoch

433.4 ± 0.8 – 427.4 ± 0.5 Ma
Name formalityFormal
Name ratified1980
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitEpoch
Stratigraphic unitSeries
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionImprecise. Currently placed between acritarch biozone 5 and last appearance of Pterospathodus amorphognathoides. See Llandovery for more info.
Lower boundary definition candidatesA conodont boundary (Ireviken datum 2) which is close to the murchisoni graptolite biozone.
Lower boundary GSSP candidate section(s)None
Lower boundary GSSPHughley Brook, Apedale, U.K.
52°34′52″N 2°38′20″W / 52.5811°N 2.6389°W / 52.5811; -2.6389
Lower GSSP ratified1980
Upper boundary definitionFAD of the Graptolite Saetograptus (Colonograptus) varians
Upper boundary GSSPPitch Coppice, Ludlow, U.K.
52°21′33″N 2°46′38″W / 52.3592°N 2.7772°W / 52.3592; -2.7772
Upper GSSP ratified1980

The Wenlock (sometimes referred to as the Wenlockian) is the second epoch of the Silurian. It is preceded by the Llandovery Epoch and followed by the Ludlow Epoch. Radiometric dates constrain the Wenlockian between 433.4 and 427.4 million years ago.

Naming and history

The Wenlock is named after Wenlock Edge, an outcrop of rocks near the town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire (West Midlands, United Kingdom). The name was first used in the term "Wenlock and Dudley rocks" by Roderick Murchison in 1834 to refer to the limestones and underlying shales that underlay what he termed the "Ludlow rocks". He later modified this term to simply the "Wenlock rocks" in his book, The Silurian System in 1839.

Definition and subdivision

The Wenlock's beginning is defined by the lower boundary (or GSSP) of the Sheinwoodian. The end is defined as the base (or GSSP) of the Gorstian.

The Wenlock is divided into the older Sheinwoodian and the younger Homerian stage. The Sheinwoodian lasted from 433.4 to 430.5 million years ago. The Homerian lasted from 430.5 to 427.4 million years ago.

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