COMMITTEE ON MALTESE STRATIGRAPHY

The Executive Council approved a resolution on the 24th May 2022 to set up the Committee on Maltese Stratigraphy. This standing Committee has the following objectives:

  1. Standardise Maltese stratigraphy

  2. Name Formations and members in the subsurface which are hitherto unnamed

  3. Become a focal point for the research on Maltese stratigraphy and liaise with the International Commission on Stratigraphy

The members of the Committee are:

Dr Daniel Sultana

Michael Gatt

Ray Zammit

Chris Gauci

Dr Peter Gatt

Stratigraphic column of Maltese Islands

Key stages in the development of Maltese stratigraphy:

  • 1854 Spratt distinguishes four 'groups' of rock.

  • 1856 Earl of Ducie publishes Geological map of Malta showing five types of rock and phosphorite beds

  • 1890 Murray names and establishes the five Formations of the Maltese Islands.

  • 1932 Rizzo subdivides the Globigerina Limestone Formation into three Members, Upper, Middle and Lower.

  • 1955 Dunham, Pedley, House and Wilson map the surface geology of the Maltese Islands

  • 1957 BP publishes Geological map of Malta

  • Wigglesworth maps surface geology of Gozo

  • 1976 Pedley, House and Waugh establish nomenclature for the Miocene phosphorite beds: C1 and C2 beds

  • 1978 Pedley subdivides the Upper (UCL) and Lower Coralline Limestone (LCL) Formations into four Members each. LCL stratigraphy incomplete.

  • 1993 Government of Malta publishes Geological map of Malta and Gozo

  • 2005 Gatt adds C0 phosphorite bed

  • 2009 Hilgen et al. establish the Serravallian Global Stratotype section and Point (GSSP) at the base of the of the Blue Clay Formation.

  • 2012 Gatt adds Migra Ferha Member to Lower Coralline Limestone Formation.

  • 2022 Gatt adds Zabbar Formation (Eocene).

  • June 2022, the Malta Chamber of Geologists establishes a standing Committee on Maltese Stratigraphy with the objectives of standardising Malta's stratigraphy.

Stratigraphic column based on

Pedley (1978), Gatt (2005), Gatt (2012), Gatt (2022).

One of the early Stratigraphic column of Maltese rocks (1856)

Updated stratigraphy of the Lower Coralline Limestone Formation (Oligocene) and naming of Eocene carbonates as Zabbar Formation (Gatt, 2022).

INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON STRATIGRAPHY

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) is the largest and oldest constituent scientific body in the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). Its primary objective is to define precisely global units (systems, series and stages) of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart that, in turn, are the basis for the units (periods, epochs and age) of the International Geological Time Scale; thus setting global standards for the fundamental scale for expressing the history of the Earth.

Click to view chronostratigraphic chart: Stratigraphic Chart

It should be noted that the nomenclature of Maltese Formations does not conform to the International Stratigraphic Guide, but have been kept for historical reasons. International Stratigraphic Guide

References


Gatt, P. (2005). Syntectonic deposition of an Oligo-Miocene phosphorite conglomerate bed in Malta. Central Mediterranean Naturalist, 4(2), 109-118.

Gatt, P. (2012). Carbonate facies, depositional sequences and tectonostratigraphy of the Palaeogene Malta Platform. University of Durham, UK: PhD thesis (available online).

Gatt, P. (2022) Facies, depositional environments and drowning of Tethyan isolated carbonate platforms: the Paleogene of Malta. Facies, 68(9). DOI: 10.1007/s10347-022-00648-1

Hilgen, F.J., Abels, H.A., Iaccarino, S., Krijgsman, W., Raffi, I., Sprovieri, R., Turco, E., and Zachariasse, W.J. (2009) The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Serravallian Stage (Middle Miocene), Episodes, 32, 152-166.

Pedley, H. (1978). A new lithostratigraphical and palaeoenvironmental interpretation for the coralline limestone Formation of the Maltese Islands. Overseas Geological & Mineralogical Resources, 54, 1-17.

Spratt, T. (1854). On the Geology of Malta and Gozo. Bradbury & Evans Printers.