Sunday 26 May 2024

What is the South African Committee for Stratigraphy (SACS)?

A prerequisite for geological research and the production of geological maps is the subdivision of rock strata into mappable, named units, a sub-discipline of geology known as 'stratigraphy'.  In order to promote the orderly development of stratigraphic classification and nomenclature in South Africa, the South African Committee for Stratigraphy (SACS) was formed in 1971 with four main objectives, viz.


  • To draw up a Code of Stratigraphic Terminology and Nomenclature for South Africa and update it as required (1st edition 1971; revised editions 1977, 1980, 1996);

  • To establish a comprehensive lithostratigraphic framework for South Africa based on the Code (1st edition published in 1980 as Handbook 8 of the Geological Survey);

  • To evaluate proposals for new and revised stratigraphic units; and

  • To publish definitive descriptions of all formal South African stratigraphic units.



Eighteen task groups, each comprising specialists on a specific part of the geological column, assist SACS in carrying out its mandate.  All SACS activities are funded by the Council for Geoscience (CGS), with the SACS Secretary being a full-time employeee of the CGS.

SACS is an organisational member of the International Sub-commission on Stratigraphic Classification (ISSC) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the largest scientific body of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

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