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System Subsystem/
Stage Age (Ma)
Permian Cisuralian Asselian younger
Carboniferous Pennsylvanian Gzhelian 298.9 303.7
Kasimovian 303.7 307.0
Moscovian 307.0 315.2
Bashkirian 315.2 323.2
Mississippian Serpukhovian 323.2 330.9
Visean 330.9 346.7
Tournaisian 346.7 358.9
Devonian Late Famennian older
Subdivision of the Carboniferous system
according to the ICS, as of 2017.[1]

The Visean, Viséan or Visian is an age in the ICS geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is the second stage of the Mississippian, the lower subsystem of the Carboniferous. The Visean lasted from 346.7 to 330.9 Ma.[2] It follows the Tournaisian age/stage and is followed by the Serpukhovian age/stage.

Name and definitions[edit]

The Visean stage was introduced by Belgian geologist André Dumont in 1832. Dumont named this stage after the city of Visé in the Belgian province of Liège. Before being used as an international stage, the Visean stage was part of the (West) European regional geologic time scale, in which it followed the Tournaisian stage and is followed by the Namurian stage. In the North American regional scale, the Visean stage correlates with the upper Osagean, the Meramecian and lower Chesterian stages. In the Chinese regional time scale, it correlates with the lower and middle Tatangian series.[3]

The base of the Visean stage is at the first appearance of the fusulinid species Eoparastaffella simplex (morphotype 1/morphotype 2). The type locality for the stage base used to be in a road section below the castle of Dinant in Belgium, but this type locality proved to be insufficient for the purpose of stratigraphic correlation.[3] A GSSP has been proposed in the Luzhai Formation near Penchong in the Chinese province of Guanxi.[4] The top (the base of the Serpukhovian and Namurian) is laid at the first appearance of the conodont Lochriea ziegleri,[5] or at the base of the biozone of goniatite Cravenoceras leion.


One of the tetrapods that lived during the Visean age was Westlothiana, a reptile-like amphibian.


The Visean contains four conodont biozones:

  • Lochriea nodosa Zone
  • Lochriea mononodosa Zone
  • Gnathodus bilineatus Zone
  • Gnathodus texanus Zone

In British stratigraphy, the Visean is subdivided into five substages. These are from bottom to top: Chadian (the lower part of this substage falls in the Tournaisian), Arundian, Holkerian, Asbian and Brigantian.[6]




Reptiliomorphs of the Viséan
Taxa Presence Location Description Images


Cheese Bay, Scotland The earliest known amniote, also likely to be among the first amniotes in the biological sense


Cartilaginous fish[edit]

Cartilaginous fish of the Viséan
Taxa Presence Location Description Images



Tetrapodomorphs of the Viséan
Taxa Presence Location Description Images




Arthropods of the Viséan
Taxa Presence Location Description Images





East Kirkton Limestone Formation, Scotland


  1. ^
  2. ^ "International Chronostratigraphic Chart". International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b Menning, M.; Alekseev, A.S.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Devuyst, F.-X.; Forke, H.C.; Grunt, T.A.; Hance, L.; Heckel, P.H.; Izokh, N.G.; Jin, Y.-G.; Jones, P.J.; Kotlyar, G.V.; Kozur, H.W.; Nemyrovska, T.I.; Schneider, J.W.; Wang, X.-D.; Weddige, K.; Weyer, D. & Work, D.M.; 2006: Global time scale and regional stratigraphic reference scales of Central and West Europe, East Europe, Tethys, South China, and North America as used in the Devonian–Carboniferous–Permian Correlation Chart 2003 (DCP 2003), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 240(1-2): pp 318–372.
  4. ^ Devuyst, F.X.; Hance, L.; Hou, H.-F.; Wu, X.; Tian, S.; Coen, M. & Sevastopulo, G.; 2003: A proposed Global Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Visean Stage (Carboniferous): the Pengchong section, Guangxi, South China, Episodes 26(2), pp 105–115.
  5. ^ Nemyrovska, T.I.; 2005: Late Visean/early Serpukhovian conodont succession from the Triollo section, Palencia (Cantabrian Mountains, Spain), Scr. Geol. 129, pp 13–89.
  6. ^ Heckel, P.H. & Clayton, G.; 2006: The Carboniferous system, use of the new official names for the subsystems, series and stages, Geologica Acta 4(3), pp 403–407.


  • Dumont, A.H.; 1832: Mémoire sur la constitution géologique de la province de Liège, Mémoires couronnés par l'Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles 8(3), VII. (in French)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 24°26′00″N 109°27′00″E / 24.4333°N 109.4500°E / 24.4333; 109.4500