North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature


Report 10 - New Articles of Organization and Procedure of North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature

Report received, October 2, 1984; accepted October 15, 1984.

  • Donald E. Owen, Consulting geologist, PO. Box 521057, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74152.
  • Norman P. Lasca, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201.
  • Edward H. Schultz, Suncor Inc., Box 38, Calgary Alberta T2P 2V5, Canada.


A complete set of new bylaws was adopted by the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature at its 38th annual meeting, November 1, 1983, in Indianapolis, Indiana. These bylaws, printed below, replace the original bylaws (Moore, 1947), as later revised (Hutchinson, 1953). The new bylaws became effective at the close of the 1983 meeting.


I. Name

The name of the Commission shall be the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature.

II. Purposes

The purposes of the Commission are to develop statements of stratigraphic principles, to recommend procedures applicable to classification and nomenclature of stratigraphic and related units, to review problems in classifying and naming stratigraphic and related units, and to formulate expressions of judgment thereon.

III. Members
  1. The Commission shall be composed of members chosen as follows: three representatives each as designated by the
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists
  • Association of American State Geologists
  • Geological Society of America
  • United States Geological Survey
  • Geological Survey of Canada

two representatives each as designated by the

  • Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists
  • Geological Association of Canada

and one representative each as designated by the

  • Asociacién Mexicana de Gedélogos Petréleros
  • Sociedad Geolégica Mexicana
  • Instituto de Geologia de la Universidad Nacional Aut6énoma de Mexico,

except that in event any of the named organizations does not designate the assigned number of representatives, members of the Commission otherwise chosen are empowered to invite participation by additional organizations or to designate Commissioners-at-large. Selection of organizations and number of Commissioners designated to be represented on the Commission shall be by a two-thirds majority vote of current Commissioners.

  1. The terms of designated Commissioners within each organization shall be three (3) years, with staggered terms. Commissioners may be reappointed. In case of a vacancy, the agency that designated a Commissioner shall make a new designation to complete the unexpired term. For the purpose of determining the terms of Commissioners, a year shall be construed as the period from the end of one annual meeting of the Commission to the next.

  2. Organizations represented by members of the Commission shall be requested to designate the successor of a Commissioner whose term will expire at least 60 days before the date of such expiration, either by reappointment of the Commissioner or by selection of a new Commissioner.

IV. Officers
  1. The officers of the Commission shall be a Chairman and a Vice Chairman, who shall be elected annually by the Commissioners from their number. A Nominating Committee to be composed of three members in the third year of their terms, reasonably representing constituent organizations of the Commission, shall be selected by the current Chairman and Vice Chairman at the end of the annual meeting. The Nominating Committee, through its elected Chairman, shall provide the Commission Chairman, at least 90 days before the next annual meeting, with nominees for office. With the agenda for the annual meeting, the Commission Chairman shall submit to all Commissioners the names of all nominees. In the case of a sole nominee for an office, the Commission Chairman shall ask the current Commissioners to approve that nominee for that office. Should the sole nominee not be approved, the Commission Chairman shall request additional nominees from the Nominating Committee until one is approved. If there is more than one nominee for an office, the Commission Chairman shall conduct a secret ballot among the current Commissioners, and shall declare the nominee receiving the highest number of votes to be elected. Officers may be reelected. The election of officers shall be held following adjournment of the annual meeting by reconvening of all Commissioners whose terms extend through the ensuing year and all newly appointed Commissioners whose terms begin at close of the annual meeting just adjourned. Each such Commissioner is entitled to cast a ballot for officers who are to serve in the year next following each annual meeting, but Commissioners whose terms expire at close of the annual meeting shall not vote on selection of officers for the ensuing year.

  2. The Chairman or in the Chairman’s absence, the Vice Chairman, shall preside at meetings of the Commission and shall have responsibility of maintaining records, supervising presentation of matters to the Commission, organizing actions and opinions expressed by the Commission for publication, and generally guiding the work of the Commission in accordance with procedures adopted by the Commission.

  3. The Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, shall remain in office until relieved and replaced by newly elected officers, and in case the term of either as Commissioner is expired at adjournment of the annual meeting, either or both shall hold status as Commissioner-at-large until new officers are elected.

  4. The Chairman shall have responsibility of notifying organizations represented in the Commission of membership provisions stated in Article III-3 in ample time to permit compliance. The Vice Chairman shall perform functions of a secretary and treasurer in addition to other duties.

  5. In the event of vacancy in the office of Chairman, which for any reason occurs when an annual meeting is not in session, the Vice Chairman shall succeed to the office of Chairman, unless unwilling to accept the office, and in such case, a new Vice Chairman shall be selected in accordance with Article IV-6.

  6. In event of vacancy in the office of Chairman, to which the Vice Chairman is unwilling to succeed, or in the office of Vice Chairman, which for any reason occurs when an annual meeting is not in session, the remaining officer, if such exists, shall have responsibility and authority to designate a Commissioner to fill the vacancy, or at the officer’s option., to conduct a mail ballot for election to fill the vacancy. If both offices should become vacant when an annual meeting is not in session, the Commissioner or Commissioners having most years of service on the Commission shall have responsibility and authority to select a Chairman and a Vice Chairman in whatever manner the Commissioner or Commissioners elect.

V. Actions
  1. The Commission shall specify and establish procedures, including provision for obtaining statements of problems or cases in desired form and completeness, determination of steps in handling these matters by the Commission, and formulation of the Commission’s opinions, declarations, and recommendations. The Commission shall exercise the option of accepting or rejecting consideration of questions that may be brought before it. Opportunity shall be given for recording minority as well as majority judgments.

  2. The Commission shall have an annual meeting for the election of officers and for transaction of other business that it may choose to consider, such meeting being scheduled to coincide with the time and place of the annual meetings of the Geological Society of America. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairman of the Commission. A Commissioner may designate an alternate to act in his or her stead at meetings the Commissioner is unable to attend.

  3. Much of the Commission’s work may be carried on by correspondence between times of meetings.

  4. A majority vote of the entire Commission is necessary for adoption of opinions, declarations, and recommendations concerning classification and nomenclature of stratigraphic units.

  5. Commissioners-elect shall be invited to attend annual meetings as observers.

  6. Except as specified in these Articles of Organization and Procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order shall guide the actions of the Commission.

VI. Publication of Actions

The Commission shall prepare and offer for publication such record of its actions, including minority opinions, as it may deem significant. These statements may be issued either in the form of abstracts or full presentations. In cases where full statements are not published, manuscript file copies of such statements shall be provided and preserved in a repository designated by the Commission for consultation by interested workers in such manner as the Commission may arrange. Published opinions, declarations, recommendations, or other actions of the Commission shall be numbered and dated in such manner as to provide suitable basis for ready reference and indexing. Commission publications shall include: Codes, consisting of recommended procedures for classifying and naming stratigraphic and related units; Notes, consisting of records of annual meetings or preliminary statements on a given topic to encourage comment by interested workers; Reports, consisting of statements formally accepted by the Commission on a given topic; and Discussions, consisting of freely contributed comments on Codes, Notes, and Reports.

VII. Responsibility for Actions

An organization making designation of representatives to serve as Commissioners shall not be bound in any way to observe procedures or follow judgments expressed by the Commission. Actions by the Commission shall be advisory and involve no commitments by other agencies, either expressed or implied. However, the Commission welcomes formal adoption or endorsement of its actions.

VIII. Finances

The Commission is authorized to solicit and disburse such funds as may be needed for proper transaction of its functions.

IX. Amendments

Amendments to these articles of organization and procedure may be made at any time by majority vote of the current Commissioners.


Hutchinson, R. D., 1953, Note 15–records of the stratigraphic commission for 1951-1952: AAPG Bulletin, v.37, p.1078-1080. Moore, R. C., 1947, Note 1–organization and objectives of the stratigraphic commission: AAPG Bulletin, v.31, p.513-528.

Reprinted from: AAPG Bulletin, Volume 69, no, 5 (May 1985), p. 872-873