A new GIS-based biozone map of the Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup), South Africa
van der Walt, Merrill
Cooper, Antony K.
Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand
The stratigraphic subdivision of the Karoo Supergroup of South Africa has been addressed for more than a century by various geoscience studies. A lack of good lithostratigraphic markers in the Beaufort Group and the fact that the succession preserves a rich diversity of therapsid fossils for which there is a robust taxonomic scheme, make biostratigraphy the best option for correlation. This is applicable both within the basin and when comparing the Karoo succession to other coeval depositional basins. Published biostratigraphic maps of the Beaufort Group were compiled based on rough estimates of the distribution of zone-defining tetrapod fossil genera throughout the basin. None of these simultaneously utilized all the databases of South African museum collections. The recent application of GIS technology to integrate the vertebrate fossil databases of all South African museums has resulted in a far more precise biozone map which can be continuously updated as new information is received. This digital map introduces an entirely new way of representing the geographical distribution of fossil data, and thus can potentially enhance basin development and tetrapod biogeographic studies.
Karoo Supergroup, fossil tetrapods, biostratigraphy