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29.a. Directions on vote.1st round

PostPosted: September 2nd, 2010, 11:05 am
by Junxuan Fan
To: ICS Voting Members

Attached is the ballot for the first round of voting. ICS statutes specify 60 calendar days for receipt of votes, but I am asking for a more prompt response, setting a deadline of 30 days, given that a final decision will require at least two, and possibly more, rounds of voting. Also, ballots have previously been sent out before discussion takes place; whereas we have already devoted far more than 30 days to discussion.

The first ballot lists the “status quo”, “Quaternary”, and “Neogene” proposals. You are to vote yes, no, or abstain on everyone of the three proposals. Those proposals receiving a majority of yes votes on the ballots submitted, if more than one, will be listed on a second-round ballot. In the second round of voting, you will be directed to vote in favor of only one of the proposals or to vote to abstain. The proposal receiving the majority of the votes will then be subject to a third-round ballot on which it will be the only proposal, and you will be directed to vote yes, no, or abstain. If that proposal then receives a 60% majority of “yes” votes, a formal decision will have been made, and it will be forwarded to the IUGS. If only one proposal receives a majority of yes votes on the first round, then only it will be on a second-round ballot for approval by a 60% majority.

Some of you may find more than one of the three proposals acceptable, or you may not like any of them. It is for that reason that you can vote yes (or no, or abstain) on all three proposals in the first round, the purpose of which is to determine which of the proposal, even if more than one, are acceptable to the majority of the voting members.

Please contact me should you have questions. The main thing to keep in mind on the first ballot is to cast a vote for each proposal. And, please promptly return your ballot electronically to both Paul Bown and myself.



29.b. Q-N Ballot.1

PostPosted: September 2nd, 2010, 11:08 am
by Junxuan Fan
On the rank, extent, definition, and/or redefinition of the
Quaternary, Pleistocene, Neogene, and Pliocene
Deadline for receipt of ballots: 23 April 2009
Vote yes, no, or abstain on each one of the proposals listed below.
“Status Quo” Proposal: Pleistocene Series/Epoch remains defined by Vrica GSSP. The base of the Quaternary System/Period is formally defined also by the Vrica GSSP, corresponding to the base of the Pleistocene Series/Epoch and Calabrian Stage/Age, and serving also as the Neogene-Quaternary boundary.
YES _____________ NO _______________ ABSTAIN ______________

“Quaternary” Proposal: Base of Pleistocene Series/Epoch is lowered such that the Pleistocene includes the Gelasian Stage/Age and its base is defined by the Monte San Nicola GSSP, which also defines the base of the Gelasian. In addition, the base of the Quaternary System/Period, and thus the Neogene-Quaternary boundary, is formally defined by Monte San Nicola GSSP and is coincident with the bases of the Pleistocene and Gelasian. With these definitions the Gelasian Stage/Age is transferred from the Pliocene Series/Epoch to the Pleistocene.
YES _____________ NO _______________ ABSTAIN ______________

“Neogene” Proposal: Pleistocene Series/Epoch remains defined by Vrica GSSP. The Pliocene Series/Epoch is split into two series/epochs named Lower/Early Pliocene and Upper/Late Pliocene, with the later composed of the Gelasian Stage/Age and with its base defined by the Monte San Nicola GSSP. The rank of the Quaternary is changed from system/period to subsystem/subperiod; its base is formally defined by the Monte San Nicola GSSP. As a result, the Quaternary is composed of the Upper/Late Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene series/epochs. The Neogene System/Period extends upwards such that it includes the Miocene, Lower/Early Pliocene, Upper/Late Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene series/epochs.
YES _____________ NO _______________ ABSTAIN ______________

Name: Date:


Return ballot by e-mail to Paul Bown, ICS Secretary at
with a copy to Stan Finney, ICS Chair at

30. Finny_SNS on ballot

PostPosted: September 2nd, 2010, 11:10 am
by Junxuan Fan
To: ICS Voting Members
Below is a series of correspondence I have had with the authors of the “Neogene” proposal, who raise questions with regard to the ballot and their desire to change the statement on their recommendation in the “Neogene” proposal from that specified in its abstract. They asked that I distribute to all of you their letter to me correspondence and my response, which I do below. They have since added another short message to which I also reply, both of which I also copy below.
The Discussion period ended before the ballots were sent out, and some parts of this correspondence directly relate to the “Neogene” proposal. However, questions are raised with regard to the nature of the ballot, and for that reason I consider it appropriate to circulate this correspondence at this time. As mentioned, the authors of the “Neogene” proposal requested that I do so, and I am more than willing for all of you to see my positions on the questions raised and my reasons for those positions.
Best wishes,

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:03:40 +0100
To: Stan Finney <>
From: frits hilgen <>
Subject: clarification of procedure
Cc: Marie Aubry <>,Bill Berggren <>,
John Van Couvering <>,
Brian McGowran <>,
Friedrich Steininger <>,
Lucas Lourens <>

Dear Stan,
we read your last contribution (no. 27) to the open discussion great interest and would like to receive further clarification about two important issues of the procedure followed thusfar.
The first issue is why we were/are not allowed to slightly modify our initial proposal if the outcome of the open discussion gives every reason to do so. To us it seems quite reasonable that proposals are sharpened following the open discussion, because at the end you prefer to vote on the best possible proposals; in fact this has been done by ICS several times during the last years. Otherwise the open discussion would only be ment to come up with all arguments pro and contra the proposals that have been submitted. But you have to realize that our situation changed radically with the emergence of the third Status Quo option (see second issue). We therefore decided to include an age of 1.8 Ma for base Quaternary into our last comments as one of the options. However this inclusion does not affect the core of our proposal at all, which simply remains:
(1) a Neogene Period extending to the Recent;
(2) two Periods, Paleogene and Neogene, that comprise the Cenozoic, and;
(3) a Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary at 1.8 Ma.

In our last comments we more clearly separated this core of our proposal (i.e. the first step) from the second step of how to accommodate the Q in such a scheme. You can imagine that we would like to keep all possible options open for the inclusion of the Quaternary and not only the one that we suggested at the end of the abstract in our initial proposal. Note that other options are clearly indicated in the proposal, i.e. in Figure 5.

The second issue relates to the Status Quo option itself for which no full proposal has been submitted at least as far as we know, while full proposals were specifically requested from SQS and SNS for their proposals. Moreover the Status Quo option was not incorporated in the first SNS/SQS round of the entire voting procedure. Why was the Status Quo option given such a special handling?
Best regards,
Frits Hilgen
Marie-Pierre Aubry
Bill Berggren
John van Couvering
Lucas Lourens
Brian McGowran
Fritz Steininger

PS. We would like to see that this email and you answer be distributed among ICS voting members.
Dr. F.J. Hilgen
Institute of Paleoenvironments and Paleoclimate Utrecht
Budapestlaan 4
3584 CD Utrecht
The Netherlands
tel.: +31 (0)30 2535173
fax: +31 (0)30 2535030

To: frits hilgen <>
From: Stan Finney <>
Subject: Re: clarification of procedure
Cc: Marie Aubry <>,Bill Berggren <>, John Van Couvering <>, Brian McGowran <>, Friedrich Steininger <>, Lucas Lourens <>

Dear Frits, Marie-Pierre, Bill, John, Lucas, Brian and Fritz:

I regret that before writing me you did not re-read Frits' letter to me on 12 December 2008, reporting the vote by the Neogene Subcommission (2.a.1. Hilgen 12-02-08). The following are direct quotes from his letter.

"Finally there are two votes (Gladenkov and Vai) against both proposals. These votes should be interpreted as in favour of the status quo (see also their comments)."

"Of course I am curious to know how you will exactly proceed with the voting procedure. One of the problems as discussed earlier and outlined especially by Yuri Gladenkov is the lack of a proposal for the third "status quo" option. Such a third proposal would probably not have had much influence on the outcome of the current voting. However it might be an idea to include this option in the next round by stating that two times NO is a (formal?) vote for the status quo. This third option has support from some members and national committees. However in that case it should be clearly stated what is meant by status quo, and I am afraid that it will only result in a further delay of solving this deep-rooted naughty problem."

Obviously, what I did is more-or-less what Frits recommended. The "status quo" proposal was always on the table and has been the point at which we started the discussions (see contribution 1., as well as my earlier calls for participation in the discussion session at Oslo), and the statements in Frits' letter, posted on the ICS website and thus available to all of you, demonstrate that the existence of the “status quo” position was realized by Frits, and even brought to my attention by him, before the ICS discussions began. Nevertheless, the authors of the "Neogene" proposal chose to recommend only one very specific scheme for incorporating the Quaternary, even though another scheme was discussed extensively in the proposal, and even though I directed the Neogene and Quaternary subcommission chairs to discuss and deliberate on these proposals carefully. Furthermore, none of the other papers submitted in support of the "Neogene" proposal included the option of defining the base of the Quaternary at 1.8 Ma as you now propose, and neither did the submitted proposal. Given that there was so much written and published on the inclusive "Neogene" proposal, that the published papers must have gone through critical peer review, and that the "status quo" was on the table from the beginning, why is this new(?) option only being introduced now and with the reason being that I introduced the "status quo" option in my summary of March 12th? Why has the "situation changed radically" now, when Frits raised the same "status quo" issue in December 2008?

With regard to your question about keeping your options open, I again ask why you did not do so in your proposal, in which you chose to recommend only one option after reviewing other options, and after I directed the Neogene Subcommission to deliberate the proposals in the Neogene Subcommission. I also note that of the many options in your Figure 5 not one shows the base of the Quaternary at 1.8 Ma. So, yes, you are now, at the last minute, just before the vote, wanting to put a new option on the table. Furthermore, it was the obligation solely of those promoting the "Neogene" proposal to provide a specific recommendation on the rank and extent, if any, of the Quaternary, and it is for that reason that I reject the two-step process. If the proponents cannot recommend a "best" solution for incorporating the Quaternary, then one must question if there is "good" solution. If it is not possible to select the "best" solution, then perhaps no solution should be proposed. Regardless, after seeing several papers by the proponents of the "Neogene" proposal discussing many different options, and then seeing only one recommendation in the submitted proposal and seeing it stated that it was the preferred recommendation, I wonder why it is not being fully supported now.

As a final comment, the purpose of the ICS discussion period was to fully evaluate the proposals approved by the Neogene and Quaternary subcommissions in light of the “status quo", primarily so that the ICS voting members fully understood them. And that has been the reason for, and the subject of, our 30+ days of discussion. Putting a new option on the table immediately before the vote is to be taken, a option that has not been subject to the discussion nor even mentioned in the the "Neogene" proposal, or to change from a very specific option to an open two-step process again immediately before the vote is to be taken without being subject to discussion are unacceptable, particularly when the duration of the discussion period was specified when it was initiated.

Tomorrow, I will circulate your letter and this response as you requested unless you tell me otherwise. I have no problem doing so. But, in my opinion, doing so will only put the “Neogene” proposal and its supporters in an unfavorable light.

Best wishes,

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 21:43:29 +0100 (CET)
Subject: circulation
To: "Stanley Finney" <>
Cc: "William Berggren" <>,
"Brian McGowran" <>,
"Fritz Steininger" <>,
"John Van Couvering" <>,
"Lucas Lourens" <>,
"Marie-Pierre Aubry" <>

Dear Stan,

After consulting the other presenters of the Neogene proposal, we decided
that you can circulate our letter and your response. However it might be
clear that we do not fully agree with your suggestion that we are somehow to be held responsible for the addition of the third so-called Status Quo
option. As I have reported only two members of SNS (=10%) were in favour
of such a Status Quo, but even if they would have written a full Status
Quo proposal themselves such a proposal would never have reached a
majority vote in either SNS or SQS, and thus would never have passed the
first round of the voting procedure. Hence the second round of the voting
procedure would in our opinion always have had only two proposals and not

best wishes,
Frits Hilgen

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 21:49:31 +0100 (CET)
To: "Stanley Finney" <>

Dear Stan,

in connection with my previous email, you may add that email to what is
to be circulated if that is acceptable for you. I have the idea that we
really look at things differently because for us the Status Quo option was
never on the table from the beginning ...

best wishes,

Date: Wed., 25March 2009
To: Authors of Neogene Proposal
From: Stan Finney
Re: My final response

If neither the “Neogene” nor the “Quaternary” proposals receive a majority of yes votes, the present situation is maintained, i.e., with the Pleistocene Series/Epoch defined by the Vrica GSSP and the Quaternary in the chart as a system/period, with the directive from the IUGS EC to formally define the base of the Quaternary system/period, but with the Monte San Nicola GSSP (base Gelasian) not available as an option. To deny this is to deny reality. See the message below from the IUGS Secretary General to ICS that ratifies the Quaternary as a system/period, and note that it specifically directs the ICS to make a decision on the base Quaternary. Furthermore, a review of all my correspondence will also show that the same objective was presented in the invitation to participate the open discussion meeting in Oslo and in the process that meeting initiated. The “status quo” was not another proposal on the table; it was the “table”, and it will remain the “table”, with the base Quaternary still needing to be defined, should neither the “Neogene” nor the “Quaternary” proposals receive the required 60% majority yes vote. What I did with the ballot was give the voting members the opportunity to vote on the “status quo” position in a positive sense, by being able to vote “yes” on it, instead of doing so in an ambiguous manner by voting no on both the “Neogene” and “Quaternary” proposals.

Best wishes,

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Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 18:25:49 -0400
From: James Ogg <>
To: Quat <>, Neog <>,
Paleog <>, Cret <>,Jur <>,,Tri <>, Perm <>,Carb <>, Dev <>,Sil <>,
Cc: Ordov <>, Camb <>,
Ediac <>, PreCamb <>,StratClass <>, John Clague <>,, Chair <>,ViceChair <>, Secr <>
Subject: IUGS will not define Quaternary until after 2008

Dear ICS and INQUA,
I just received the following letter from IUGS.
They accept the "Quaternary" as a formal system/period, but indicate that the definition of the Quaternary "has yet to follow established protocol for consultation, discussion and voting by ICS".
Therefore, "IUGS now suggests that ICS follows the established protocol for defining the base of the Quaternary ..." and that "this next step cannot be rushed and should be a key topic for discussion at the 2008 IGC Congress in Oslo".

----- Forwarded message from "Bobrowsky, Peter" <> -----
Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 10:10:50 -0400
From: "Bobrowsky, Peter" <>
Reply-To: "Bobrowsky, Peter" <>
Subject: RE: Request to IUGS to formalize Quaternary
To: James Ogg <>,,,, Antonio Brambati

Dear Jim

Thank you very much for providing the IUGS with your recommendations
regarding the Quaternary. We are extremely pleased that you have managed to quickly and actively engage such a diverse group of parties.

IUGS subscribes to a logical and methodical process, bound by concensus and existing policy, rules of order and procedure. The issue of the "Quaternary" in fact involves several steps including the first which is formal acceptance of the Quaternary as a system/period.

I am therefore pleased to inform you that the IUGS EC unanimously
approves the recommendation to recognize the "Quaternary" as a formal system/period of the international geological scale. However, IUGS EC does NOT approve the simultaneous definition of the base of the Quaternary as proposed in your letter and attachment. This latter recommendation has yet to follow established protocol for consultation, discussion and voting by the ICS. This item is therefore NOT an ICS voted recommendation and as such cannot be ratified by IUGS.

IUGS now suggests that you follow the established protocol for defining the base of the Quaternary with due consideration and respect for the issue of the "Tertiary" and due process regarding establishment for the base of the Pleistocene; e.g agreed 10 year moratorium on the base of the Pleistocene. We believe this next step cannot be rushed and should be a key topic for discussion at the 2008 IGC Congress in Oslo, where a captive and informed audience may participate.

Please inform your colleagues in ICS about this decision.


Prof. Peter T. Bobrowsky, P.Geo.
Secretary General
International Union of Geological Sciences
601 Booth Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0E8

Tel: 1-613-947-0333
Cell: 1-613-866-4333
Fax: 1-613-992-0190

IUGS Ratification_Q & Pleistocene

PostPosted: September 2nd, 2010, 11:14 am
by Junxuan Fan
IUGS Ratification_Q & Pleistocene.jpg
IUGS Ratification_Q & Pleistocene.jpg (178.59 KiB) Viewed 285091 times

Re: Redefinition of Quaternary, Pleistocene, Neogene & Pliocene

PostPosted: December 11th, 2010, 6:25 am
by harper36
Dear Stan,

please find attached as promised our last comments for the open discussion. As you will see we propose a stepwise approach of our proposal as it should be considered on its merits apart from the complications of the various compromise options. These merits are the core of the proposal (with the Neogene up to the Recent, two Paleogene and Neogene Periods in the Cenozoic, and the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary at 1.8 Ma) as mentioned in the first paragraph of the letter. Only in a second step, in close consultation with the Quaternary community, should the question be addressed on how best to incorporate the Quaternary in a Cenozoic that has only two periods, Paleogene and Neogene.

The reason for the proposed approach might be clear because otherwise we are simply penalized for attempting to find an inclusive compromise ...