Inauguration of the Santonian GSSP

November 27, 2015 – Santonian GSSP inaugurated at Olazagutia, Spain

November 27, 2015 was a special day for the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). A new Global Stratotype Section and Point, an international geostandard, was formally inaugurated: the GSSP that defines the base of the Santonian Stage (Upper Cretaceous Series, Cretaceous System), and it is located in a quarry at Olazagutia, in Navarra, Spain. This quarry is owned by the company Cementos Portland Valderrivas, and is actively worked. Following negotiations, the company transferred to the government of Navarra the part of the quarry with the GSSP.

The Instituto Geologico y Minero de España (IGME) and the Government of Navarra placed a fence around the wall of the quarry with the GSSP and erected a plaque and educational panels. The ceremony began with signing of a formal agreement that guarantees that the GSSP will be preserved and will remain accessible to scientists wishing to study it. More than 30 persons attended the ceremony, including Manuel Ayerdi Olaizola (Deputy President of the Government of Navarra), Jorge Civis Llovera (Director of IGME), Jose Antonio Garcia Martinez (representative of Cementos Portland Valderribas), and Stan Finney (Chair of ICS). The ceremony included the placing of a ‘golden spike’ in the section at the level of the boundary. Everyone in attendance took part in hammering in the spike. Of most importance, the efforts of the Santonian boundary working group of the ICS Subcommission were recognized. The working group was represented by Prof. Josep Pons of the University of Barcelona. It was a special day for those of the working group who had investigated the section at Olazagutia and prepared the formal proposal that was approved by the Subcommission on Cretaceous Stratigraphy and the IUGS, and then ratified by the IUGS Executive Committee. Prof. Jose Calvo (IUGS Secretary General), attended the ceremony and participated in the driving of the ‘golden spike’. The base of the Santonian Stage is now marked by a symbol for the ‘golden spike’ on the ICS International Chronostratigraphic Chart.

Read the GSSP definition at:

Find the updated ICS Chart at:

by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)
(IUGS-Bullettin no. 114)


Santonian Golden Spike Cerimony at Olazagutia (Spain, 2015)

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