Data Australian Stratigraphic Units Database
Last updated:5 January 2024
The objectives of the Australian Stratigraphic Units Database (ASUD) are to provide the primary national standard for geological names in Australia and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication of geological unit information.
Stratigraphic Units Search
If you are looking for information on a particular stratigraphic unit, you can perform a search of the stratigraphic units database. You will need to know something about the unit you are looking for (e.g. name, age, location) in order to perform this search.
Stratigraphic Units by State/Territory
If you are interested in finding all stratigraphic units within a state or territory of Australia, you can instead view a summary report or download more comprehensive .txt files for your chosen region. The summary report lists all known stratigraphic units for that region, as well as their first published use recorded by the database (units established prior to ~1970 may have older references than the database indicates), their definition reference, an indication of how well the unit has been described, previous names (for current units) and what name replaces the non-current names, where known. If the unit occurs in more than one State/Territory this is also indicated. The .txt files download is suitable for importing into Excel, or a database, and provides all the information available in a stratigraphic units search for all the units in the region selected.
Reference database search
References that cite stratigraphic information are indexed to enhance and update the ASUD. If you wish to check whether a particular reference has been indexed or not, or are interested in checking which stratigraphic units have been discussed in a particular reference you can choose to search for that reference within the reference database. You will need to know something about the reference you are interested in (e.g. year or journal of publication, author, keyword) in order to perform this search.
Planning on publishing a stratigraphic name?
If you are planning to discuss stratigraphy in a future publication and especially if you have new information to share, it will be most effectively communicated if you get the nomenclature correct. You can check all the available information about, and known references to stratigraphic units recorded in in the stratigraphic units database, including published examples of misspelt and incorrectly named units.
If you plan to publish a new stratigraphic unit or definition, please reserve the name prior to publishing. This will ensure that the name is suitable and available for your unit and will not be confused with existing units. If you are establishing a new unit, you should aim to define it, as soon as you know enough about it. The instructions for defining a stratigraphic unit can guide you in assembling the appropriate information, to describe the unit to others. These instructions can also be found online.
About the database
The Australian Stratigraphic Units Database (ASUD) originated as the National Register of Stratigraphic Names in 1949. The register was originally set up to help geoscientists adhere to the (then) newly created Australian Code of Stratigraphic Nomenclature (Lenz, et al, 1996). All information was held in a card file system until 1979 when the database was first developed electronically. Some of the card files were transferred to the database, but there is still legacy data held only in the card files. This may be relevant when reviewing very long-standing units.
The database now records information on all Australian stratigraphic units and their usage in literature, making it a centralised reference point for all Australian stratigraphic unit information. The database is also the repository for definition descriptions for these units.
For many digital databases and digital geological maps, the database can act as an authority table with the potential to automatically provide current information on the related parentage, age and province.
The database is maintained by Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Geological Society of Australia's Australian Stratigraphy Commission.
How to cite the database
Geoscience Australia and Australian Stratigraphy Commission. (2017). Australian Stratigraphic Units Database.
The database is updated daily, so we suggest you list the year you viewed the database for your paper and/or publication reference list.
Where can I get help?
You can also refer to the Guide to the Australian Stratigraphic Names Database. Note: This guide presents an overview of the database structure and links to other AGSO databases as they were in 1996. There have been subsequent modifications to both the database structure and the presentation format but the purpose, general structure and types of reports available from the database remain current.
Using the Stratigraphic Units Database
- Stratigraphic Units Search
- Whole State Searches
- Reference Database Search
- Stratigraphic Unit Reservation Form
- Definition of New Stratigraphic Units - Unit Definition Form
- Reference Suggestion Form
- Australian Stratigraphy Commission
- Availability and Reservation of Stratigraphic Unit Names
- Re-Use of Abandoned Stratigraphic Unit Names
- How to Define a Lithostratigraphic Unit
- Igneous Unit Definition and Nomenclature in Australia
- Australian Stratigraphic Type Sections
- Kinds of Stratotypes
- International Stratigraphic Guide
- International Time Scale