The Gzhelian is an age in the ICS geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is the youngest stage of the Pennsylvanian, the youngest subsystem of the Carboniferous. The Gzhelian lasted from 303.7 to 298.9 Ma. It follows the Kasimovian age/stage and is followed by the Asselian age/stage, the oldest subdivision of the Permian system.
The Gzhelian is more or less coeval with the Stephanian stage of the regional stratigraphy of Europe.
Name and definition
The Gzhelian is named after the Russian village of Gzhel (Russian: Гжель), nearby Ramenskoye, not far from Moscow. The name and type locality were defined by Sergei Nikitin (1850–1909) in 1890.
The base of the Gzhelian is at the first appearance of the Fusulinida genera Daixina, Jigulites and Rugosofusulina, or at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus zethus. The top of the stage (the base of the Permian system) is at the first appearance of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the Streptognathus "wabaunsensis" chronocline. Six meters higher in the reference profile, the Fusulinida species Sphaeroschwagerina vulgaris aktjubensis appears.
At the moment (2008), a golden spike for the Gzhelian stage is yet lacking. A candidate is a section along the Ussolka river (a tributary of the Belaya river) at the edge of the hamlet of Krasnoussolsky, about 120 kilometres south-east of Ufa and 60 kilometres north-east of Sterlitamak (in Bashkortostan).
The Gzhelian stage is subdivided into five biozones, based on the conodont genus Streptognathodus: