|Regional usage||Global (ICS)|
|Time scale(s) used||ICS Time Scale|
|Time span formality||Formal|
|Lower boundary definition||FAD of the Planktonic Foraminifer Rotalipora globotruncanoides|
|Lower boundary GSSP||Mont Risoux, Hautes-Alpes, France|
|Lower GSSP ratified||2002|
|Upper boundary definition||FAD of the Ammonite Watinoceras devonense|
|Upper boundary GSSP||Rock Canyon, Colorado, US|
|Upper GSSP ratified||September 2003|
The Cenomanian is, in the ICS' geological timescale, the oldest or earliest age of the Late Cretaceous Epoch or the lowest stage of the Upper Cretaceous Series. An age is a unit of geochronology; it is a unit of time; the stage is a unit in the stratigraphic column deposited during the corresponding age. Both age and stage bear the same name.
As a unit of geologic time measure, the Cenomanian Age spans the time between 100.5 and 93.9 million years ago (Mya). In the geologic timescale, it is preceded by the Albian and is followed by the Turonian. The Upper Cenomanian starts around at 95 Mya.
The Cenomanian was introduced in scientific literature by French palaeontologist Alcide d'Orbigny in 1847. Its name comes from the Neo-Latin name of the French city of Le Mans (département Sarthe), Cenomanum. The base of the Cenomanian Stage (which is also the base of the Upper Cretaceous Series) is placed at the first appearance of foram species Rotalipora globotruncanoides in the stratigraphic record. An official reference profile for the base of the Cenomanian (a GSSP) is located in an outcrop at the western flank of Mont Risou, near the village of Rosans in the French Alps (département Hautes-Alpes, coordinates: 44°23'33"N, 5°30'43"E). The base is, in the reference profile, located 36 meters below the top of the Marnes Bleues Formation.
Sequence stratigraphy and palaeoclimatology
The late Cenomanian represents the highest mean sea level observed in the Phanerozoic eon, the past 600 million years (about 150 meters above present-day sea levels). A corollary is that the highlands were at all time lows, so the landscape on Earth was one of warm broad shallow seas inundating low-lying land areas on the precursors to today's continents. What few lands rose above the waves were made of old mountains and hills, upland plateaus, all much weathered. Tectonic mountain building was minimal and most continents were isolated by large stretches of water. Without highlands to break winds, the climate would have been windy and waves large, adding to the weathering and fast rate of sediment deposition.
- International Commission on Stratigraphy. "ICS - Chart/Time Scale". www.stratigraphy.org.
- Kennedy, W.; Gale, A.; Lees, J.; Caron, M. (March 2004). "The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Cenomanian Stage, Mont Risou, Hautes-Alpes, France" (PDF). Episodes. 27: 21–32. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2004/v27i1/003. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- Kennedy, W. J.; I. Walaszczyk; W. A. Cobban (2005). "The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Turonian Stage of the Cretaceous: Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.A." (PDF). Episodes. 28 (2): 93–104. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2005/v28i2/003.
- See for a detailed geologic timescale Gradstein et al. (2004)
- "International Stratigraphic Chart v2021/05". Archived from the original on 2021-06-05. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
- The GSSP for the Cenomanian was established by Kennedy et al. (2004)
- Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
- Kennedy, W.J.; Gale, A.S.; Lees, J.A. & Caron, M.; 2004: The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Cenomanian Stage, Mont Risou, Hautes-Alpes, France, Episodes 27, pp. 21–32.
- GeoWhen Database - Cenomanian
- Late Cretaceous timescale, at the website of the subcommission for stratigraphic information of the ICS
- Stratigraphic chart of the Lower Cretaceous (including the Cenomanian), at the website of Norges Network of offshore records of geology and stratigraphy
- Cenomanian Microfossils: 20+ images of Foraminifera