Name formalityFormal
Name ratified1960
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitPeriod
Stratigraphic unitSystem
First proposed byCharles Lapworth, 1879
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionFAD of the Conodont Iapetognathus fluctivagus
Lower boundary GSSPGreenpoint section, Green Point, Newfoundland, Canada
49°40′58″N 57°57′55″W / 49.6829°N 57.9653°W / 49.6829; -57.9653
Lower GSSP ratified2000[5]
Upper boundary definitionFAD of the Graptolite Akidograptus ascensus
Upper boundary GSSPDob's Linn, Moffat, U.K.
55°26′24″N 3°16′12″W / 55.4400°N 3.2700°W / 55.4400; -3.2700
Upper GSSP ratified1984[6][7]
Atmospheric and climatic data
Sea level above present day180 m; rising to 220 m in Caradoc and falling sharply to 140 m in end-Ordovician glaciations[8]

The Ordovician (/ɔːrdəˈvɪʃi.ən, -d-, -ˈvɪʃən/ or-də-VISH-ee-ən, -⁠doh-, -⁠VISH-ən)[9] is a geologic period and system, the second of six periods of the Paleozoic Era. The Ordovician spans 41.6 million years from the end of the Cambrian Period 485.4 million years ago (Mya) to the start of the Silurian Period 443.8 Mya.[10]

The Ordovician, named after the Welsh tribe of the Ordovices, was defined by Charles Lapworth in 1879 to resolve a dispute between followers of Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison, who were placing the same rock beds in North Wales in the Cambrian and Silurian systems, respectively.[11] Lapworth recognized that the fossil fauna in the disputed strata were different from those of either the Cambrian or the Silurian systems, and placed them in a system of their own. The Ordovician received international approval in 1960 (forty years after Lapworth's death), when it was adopted as an official period of the Paleozoic Era by the International Geological Congress.

Life continued to flourish during the Ordovician as it did in the earlier Cambrian Period, although the end of the period was marked by the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events. Invertebrates, namely molluscs and arthropods, dominated the oceans, with members of the latter group probably starting their establishment on land during this time, becoming fully established by the Devonian. The first land plants are known from this period. The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event considerably increased the diversity of life. Fish, the world's first true vertebrates, continued to evolve, and those with jaws may have first appeared late in the period. About 100 times as many meteorites struck the Earth per year during the Ordovician compared with today.[12]

  1. ^ Wellman, C.H.; Gray, J. (2000). "The microfossil record of early land plants". Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 355 (1398): 717–732. doi:10.1098/rstb.2000.0612. PMC 1692785. PMID 10905606.
  2. ^ Korochantseva, Ekaterina; Trieloff, Mario; Lorenz, Cyrill; Buykin, Alexey; Ivanova, Marina; Schwarz, Winfried; Hopp, Jens; Jessberger, Elmar (2007). "L-chondrite asteroid breakup tied to Ordovician meteorite shower by multiple isochron 40 Ar- 39 Ar dating". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 42 (1): 113–130. Bibcode:2007M&PS...42..113K. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2007.tb00221.x.
  3. ^ Lindskog, A.; Costa, M. M.; Rasmussen, C.M.Ø.; Connelly, J. N.; Eriksson, M. E. (2017-01-24). "Refined Ordovician timescale reveals no link between asteroid breakup and biodiversification". Nature Communications. 8: 14066. doi:10.1038/ncomms14066. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5286199. PMID 28117834. It has been suggested that the Middle Ordovician meteorite bombardment played a crucial role in the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, but this study shows that the two phenomena were unrelated
  4. ^ "Chart/Time Scale". www.stratigraphy.org. International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  5. ^ Cooper, Roger; Nowlan, Godfrey; Williams, S. H. (March 2001). "Global Stratotype Section and Point for base of the Ordovician System" (PDF). Episodes. 24 (1): 19–28. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2001/v24i1/005. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  6. ^ Lucas, Sepncer (6 November 2018). "The GSSP Method of Chronostratigraphy: A Critical Review". Frontiers in Earth Science. 6: 191. Bibcode:2018FrEaS...6..191L. doi:10.3389/feart.2018.00191.
  7. ^ Holland, C. (June 1985). "Series and Stages of the Silurian System" (PDF). Episodes. 8 (2): 101–103. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/1985/v8i2/005. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  8. ^ Haq, B. U.; Schutter, SR (2008). "A Chronology of Paleozoic Sea-Level Changes". Science. 322 (5898): 64–68. Bibcode:2008Sci...322...64H. doi:10.1126/science.1161648. PMID 18832639. S2CID 206514545.
  9. ^ "Ordovician". Dictionary.com Unabridged (Online). n.d.
  10. ^ "International Chronostratigraphic Chart v.2015/01" (PDF). International Commission on Stratigraphy. January 2015.
  11. ^ Charles Lapworth (1879) "On the Tripartite Classification of the Lower Palaeozoic Rocks," Geological Magazine, new series, 6 : 1-15. From pp. 13-14: "North Wales itself — at all events the whole of the great Bala district where Sedgwick first worked out the physical succession among the rocks of the intermediate or so-called Upper Cambrian or Lower Silurian system; and in all probability, much of the Shelve and the Caradoc area, whence Murchison first published its distinctive fossils — lay within the territory of the Ordovices; … Here, then, have we the hint for the appropriate title for the central system of the Lower Paleozoic. It should be called the Ordovician System, after this old British tribe."
  12. ^ "New type of meteorite linked to ancient asteroid collision". Science Daily. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.

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