The Tournasian age is one of the three ages in the Mississippian Epoch of the Carboniferous Period. It lasted from 359.2±2.5 to 345.4±2.1 million years ago. It was preceded by the Famennian age and followed by the Visean age. In the Tournaisian age ancient forests formed and died, setting the stage for the creation of modern-day carbon-based fuels such as coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels. The name derives from the Belgian city of Tournai/Doornik.


The base of the Tournaisian (which is also the base of the Carboniferous system) is at the first appearance of the conodont Siphonodella sulcata within the evolutionary lineage from Siphonodella praesulcata to Siphonodella sulcata. The first appearance of ammonite species Gattendorfia subinvoluta is just above this and was used as a base for the Carboniferous in the past.[1] The GSSP for the Tournaisian is near the summit of La Serre in the Montagne Noire (southern France).[2] The GSSP is in a section on the southern side of the mountain, in an 80 cm deep trench, about 125 m south of the summit, 2.5 km north of the hamlet of Fontès.

The top of the Tournaisian (the base of the Viséan) is at the first appearance of the fusulinid species Eoparastaffella simplex (morphotype 1/morphotype 2).

The Tournaisian contains eight conodont biozones:


  • Dumont, A.H.; 1832: Mémoire sur la constitution géologique de la province de Liège, Mémoires couronnés par l'Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles 8(3), VII.
  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; 2004: A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
  • Heckel, P.H. & Clayton, G.; 2006: The Carboniferous system, use of the new official names for the subsystems, series and stages, Geologica Acta 4(3), pp 403-407.
  • Menning, M.; Alekseev, A.S.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Devuyst, F.-X.; Forke, H.C.; Grunt, T.A.; Hance, L.; Heckel, P.H.; Izokh, N.G.; Jin, Y.-G.; Jones, P.J.; Kotlyar, G.V.; Kozur, H.W.; Nemyrovska, T.I.; Schneider, J.W.; Wang, X.-D.; Weddige, K.; Weyer, D. & Work, D.M.; 2006: Global time scale and regional stratigraphic reference scales of Central and West Europe, East Europe, Tethys, South China, and North America as used in the Devonian–Carboniferous–Permian Correlation Chart 2003 (DCP 2003), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 240(1-2): pp 318-372.
  • Paeckelmann, W. & Schindewolf, O.H.; 1937: Die Devon-Karbon-Grenze, Comptes Rendus (2) du Cinquième Congrès International de Stratigraphie et Géologie du Carbonifère, Heerlen 1935 (2), pp 703–714.
  • Paproth, E.; Feist, R. & Flajs, G.; 1991: Decision on the Devonian–Carboniferous Boundary Stratotype, Episodes 14(4), pp 331–336.
Carboniferous period
Lower/Early Middle
Tournaisian Viséan Serpukhovian Bashkirian Moscovian Kasimovian | Gzhelian
Mantell's Iguanodon restoration

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