33.9 – 27.82 Ma
Paleogene Graphical Timeline
-65 —
-60 —
-55 —
-50 —
-45 —
-40 —
-35 —
-30 —
-25 —
First Antarctic permanent ice-sheets[1]
Subdivision of the Paleogene according to the ICS, as of 2021.[2]
Vertical axis scale: millions of years ago
Formerly part ofTertiary Period/System
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitAge
Stratigraphic unitStage
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionLAD of Planktonic Foraminiferans Hantkenina and Cribrohantkenina
Lower boundary GSSPMassignano quarry section, Massignano, Ancona, Italy
43°31′58″N 13°36′04″E / 43.5328°N 13.6011°E / 43.5328; 13.6011
GSSP ratified1992[3]
Upper boundary definitionLAD of the Planktonic Foraminifer Chiloguembelina (Base of Foram Zone P21b)
Upper boundary GSSPMonte Cagnero, Central Apennines, Italy
43°38′48″N 13°28′04″E / 43.6466°N 13.4677°E / 43.6466; 13.4677
GSSP ratifiedSeptember 2016[4]

The Rupelian is, in the geologic timescale, the older of two ages or the lower of two stages of the Oligocene epoch/series. It spans the time between 33.9 and 28.1 Ma. It is preceded by the Priabonian stage (part of the Eocene) and is followed by the Chattian stage.


The stage is named after the small river Rupel in Belgium, a tributary to the Scheldt. The Belgian Rupel Group derives its name from the same source. The name Rupelian was introduced in scientific literature by Belgian geologist André Hubert Dumont in 1850. The separation between the group and the stage was made in the second half of the 20th century, when stratigraphers saw the need to distinguish between lithostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic names.

Stratigraphic definition

The base of the Rupelian stage (which is also the base of the Oligocene series) is at the extinction of the foraminiferan genus Hantkenina. An official GSSP for the base of the Rupelian has been assigned in 1992 (Massignano, Italy). The transition with the Chattian has also been marked with a GSSP in August 2017 (Monte Conero, Italy).[5]

The top of the Rupelian stage (the base of the Chattian) is at the extinction of the foram genus Chiloguembelina (which is also the base of foram biozone P21b).

The Rupelian overlaps the Orellan, Whitneyan and lower Arikareean North American Land Mammal Ages, the upper Mustersan and Tinguirirican South American Land Mammal Ages, the uppermost Headonian, Suevian and lower Arvernian European Land Mammal Mega Zones (the Rupelian spans the Mammal Paleogene zones 21 through 24 and part of 25[6]), and the lower Hsandgolian Asian Land Mammal Age. It is also coeval with the only regionally used upper Aldingan and lower Janjukian stages of Australia, the upper Refugian and lower Zemorrian stages of California and the lower Kiscellian Paratethys stage of Central and eastern Europe. Other regionally used alternatives include the Stampian, Tongrian, Latdorfian and Vicksburgian.


  1. ^ Zachos, J. C.; Kump, L. R. (2005). "Carbon cycle feedbacks and the initiation of Antarctic glaciation in the earliest Oligocene". Global and Planetary Change. 47 (1): 51–66. Bibcode:2005GPC....47...51Z. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.01.001.
  2. ^ "International Chronostratigraphic Chart" (PDF). International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  3. ^ Silva, Isabella; Jenkins, D. (September 1993). "Decision on the Eocene-Oligocene boundary stratotype" (PDF). Episodes. 16: 379–382. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  4. ^ Coccioni, Rodolfo; Montanari, Alessandro; Nice, David; Brinkhuis, Henk; Deino, Alain; Frontalini, Fabrizio; Liter, Fabrizio; Maiorano, Patricia; Monechi, Simonetta; Prods, Jörg; Rochette, Pierre; Sagnotti, Leonardo; Sideri, Marianna; Sprovieri, Mario; Tateo, Fabio; Touchard, Yannick; Can Simaeys, Stefaan; Williams, Graham L. (1 March 2018). "The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Chattian stage (Paleogene System, Oligocene Series) at Monte Cagnero, Italy". Episodes. 41 (1): 17–32. doi:10.18814/epiuggs/2018/v41i1/018003. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  5. ^ "International Commission of Stratigraphy" (PDF). Stratigraphy.org. International Commission of Stratigraphy. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  6. ^ Alroy, John. "Mammal Paleogene zones". p. The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 15 July 2009.


  • Dumont, A.H.; 1850: Rapport sur la carte géologique du Royaume, Bulletins de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique 16(2), p. 351-373. (in French)
  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.

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