The Coniacian is an age or stage in the geologic timescale. It is a subdivision of the Late Cretaceous epoch or Upper Cretaceous series and spans the time between 89.8 ± 1 Ma and 86.3 ± 0.7 Ma (million years ago). The Coniacian is preceded by the Turonian and followed by the Santonian.[2]

Age (Ma)
Paleogene Paleocene Danian younger
Cretaceous Upper/
Maastrichtian 66.0 72.1
Campanian 72.1 83.6
Santonian 83.6 86.3
Coniacian 86.3 89.8
Turonian 89.8 93.9
Cenomanian 93.9 100.5
Albian 100.5 ~113.0
Aptian ~113.0 ~125.0
Barremian ~125.0 ~129.4
Hauterivian ~129.4 ~132.9
Valanginian ~132.9 ~139.8
Berriasian ~139.8 ~145.0
Jurassic Upper/
Tithonian older
Subdivision of the Cretaceous system
according to the ICS, as of 2017.[1]

Stratigraphic definitions

The Coniacian is named after the city of Cognac in the French region of Saintonge. It was first defined by French geologist Henri Coquand in 1857.

The base of the Coniacian stage is at the first appearance of the inoceramid bivalve species Cremnoceramus rotundatus. An official reference profile for the base (a GSSP) had in 2009 not yet been appointed.

The top of the Coniacian (the base of the Santonian stage) is defined by the appearance of the inoceramid bivalve Cladoceramus undulatoplicatus.

The Coniacian overlaps the regional Emscherian stage of Germany, which is roughly coeval with the Coniacian and Santonian stages. In magnetostratigraphy, the Coniacian is part of magnetic chronozone C34, the so-called Cretaceous Magnetic Quiet Zone, a relatively long period with normal polarity.

Sequence stratigraphy and geochemistry

After a maximum of the global sea level during the early Turonian, the Coniacian was characterized by a gradual fall of the sea level. This cycle is in sequence stratigraphy seen as a first order cycle. During the middle Coniacian a shorter, second order cycle, caused a temporary rise of the sea level (and global transgressions) on top of the longer first order trend. The following regression (Co1, at 87,0 Ma) separates the Middle from the Upper Coniacian substage. An even shorter third order cycle caused a new transgression during the Late Coniacian.

Beginning in the Middle Coniacian, an anoxic event (OAE-3) occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, causing large scale deposition of black shales in the Atlantic domain. The anoxic event lasted till the Middle Santonian (from 87.3 to 84.6 Ma) and is the longest and last such event during the Cretaceous period.[3]


The Coniacian is often subdivided into Lower, Middle and Upper substages. It encompasses three ammonite biozones in the Tethys domain:

In the boreal domain the Coniacian overlaps just one ammonite biozone: that of Forresteria petrocoriensis





Plesiosaurs of the Coniacian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images


Coniacian Trichinopoly Group, India A small plesiosaur of undeterminate length.




  1. ^ Super User. "ICS - Chart/Time Scale".
  2. ^ See Gradstein et al. (2004) for a detailed version of the ICS' geologic timescale
  3. ^ See Meyers et al. (2006)


  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
  • Meyers, P.A.; Bernasconi, S.M. & Forster, A.; 2006: Origins and accumulation of organic matter in expanded Albian to Santonian black shale sequences on the Demerara Rise, South American margin, Organic Geochemistry 37, pp 1816–1830.

External links


Baalsaurus (named after the dinosaur fossil site Baal in Argentina, which in turn is named after the ancient Phoenician god Baal) is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Neuquén Province, Patagonia, Argentina. The type and only known species is B. mansillai, with the specific name honoring the discoverer Juan Eduardo Mansilla, a museum technician at the Geology and Paleontology Museum of the National University of Comahue.

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Futalognkosaurus ( FOO-tə-long-ko-SAW-rəs; meaning "giant chief lizard") is a genus of titanosaurian dinosaur. The herbivorous Futalognkosaurus lived approximately 87 million years ago in the Portezuelo Formation, in what is now Argentina, of the Coniacian stage of the late Cretaceous Period. The fish and fossilized leaf debris on the site, together with other dinosaur remains, suggest a warm tropical climate in Patagonia during this period.


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Megaraptor ("giant thief") is a genus of large theropod dinosaur that lived in the Turonian to Coniacian ages of the Late Cretaceous. Its fossils have been discovered in the Patagonian Portezuelo Formation of Argentina. Initially thought to have been a giant dromaeosaur-like coelurosaur, it was classified as a neovenatorid allosauroid in previous phylogenies, but more recent phylogeny and discoveries of related megaraptoran genera has placed it as either a basal tyrannosauroid or a basal coelurosaur.


Mendozasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur. It was a member of Titanosauria, which were massive sauropods that were common on the southern landmasses during the Cretaceous period. The titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur Mendozasaurus neguyelap is represented by several partial skeletons from a single locality within the Coniacian (lower Upper Cretaceous) Sierra Barrosa Formation in the south of Mendoza Province, northern Neuquén Basin, Argentina.

The type species, Mendozasaurus neguyelap, was described by Argentine paleontologist Bernardo Javier González Riga in 2003. Mendozasaurus is the first dinosaur named from Mendoza Province, Argentina.


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Prochelidella is an extinct genus of Early to Late Cretaceous chelid turtles from the Bajo Barreal, Candeleros, Cerro Barcino and Portezuelo Formations of the Cañadón Asfalto, Golfo San Jorge and Neuquén Basins in Patagonia, Argentina. It includes the following species:

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P. cerrobarcinae De la Fuente et al. 2011

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The Santonian is an age in the geologic timescale or a chronostratigraphic stage. It is a subdivision of the Late Cretaceous epoch or Upper Cretaceous series. It spans the time between 86.3 ± 0.7 mya (million years ago) and 83.6 ± 0.7 mya. The Santonian is preceded by the Coniacian and is followed by the Campanian.


The Turonian is, in the ICS' geologic timescale, the second age in the Late Cretaceous epoch, or a stage in the Upper Cretaceous series. It spans the time between 93.9 ± 0.8 Ma and 89.8 ± 1 Ma (million years ago). The Turonian is preceded by the Cenomanian stage and underlies the Coniacian stage.At the beginning of the Turonian an anoxic event took place which is called the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary event or the "Bonarelli Event".

Cenozoic era
(present–66.0 Mya)
Mesozoic era
(66.0–251.902 Mya)
Paleozoic era
(251.902–541.0 Mya)
Proterozoic eon
(541.0 Mya–2.5 Gya)
Archean eon (2.5–4 Gya)
Hadean eon (4–4.6 Gya)


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