Chronological listing: publications of R. M. Stainforth

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With comments by RMS recorded 1980-81.

1938        Uintacrinus westfalicus (Schlüter) in the Yorkshire Senonian.
“A putting on record of some exceedingly rare fossil specimens, mostly found in my own youthful expeditions. The editor’s date of receipt, 1st February, 1938, confirms that this was written while I was still a student at the Royal School of Mines.”

1942        jointly with H.G. Kugler, S.C. Mackenzie, J.C. Griffiths and G.R. Brotherhood:
Report on exploration for oil in British Guiana.
“As the well geologist was also the drilling mud engineer, this contains my only published excursion outside the field of geology.”

1945        J.A. Cushman and RMS:
The foraminifera of the Cipero Marl Formation of Trinidad, British West Indies.
“Though primarily a “faunal-inventory” paper, this became a minor classic as one of the earliest uses of the ranges of Tertiary planktonic foraminifera to define stratigraphic zones.”

1946        RMS and F.V. Stevenson:
Three new foraminifera from the Tertiary of Ecuador.
“Nothing earthshaking, but one of the three belongs to Technitella and—for a single-celled organism—is an amazingly sophisticated house” made of selected (matching) sponge spicules neatly cemented together.”

               J.A. Cushman and RMS:
A new species of Amphistegina from the Eocene of Ecuador.

1947        J.A. Cushman and RMS:
A new genus and some new species of foraminifera from the Upper Eocene of Ecuador.
“(The two above are) more records of new discoveries.”

1948        Applied micropaleontology in coastal Ecuador.
“If my reputation were to depend on a single paper, I would select this one. The special status of the planktonic (‘pelagic’) foraminifera was clearly stated and a regionally valid sequence of index species was demonstrated, long before their use in biostratigraphy became commonplace.
At the same time other aspects of biostratigraphy were reviewed in a manner which needs no apology today.”

               Description, correlation and paleoecology of Tertiary Cipero Marl Formation, Trinidad, B.W.I.
“Written at the same time as the 1945 paper on the Cipero foraminifera, but publication delayed by war-end confusion and my own movements. This assessment of the stratigraphic status of a fossil Globigerina-ooze still stands scrutiny, even if subsequent studies have modified it in detail. In 1973 the AAPG reprinted it in a symposium of Bulletin papers on paleoecology.”

1949        The Hannatoma fauna in the Zapotal sands of southwest Ecuador.
“I organized this symposium of seven papers and myself supplied the introduction and the article on Ecuador. The basic problem was a molluscan fauna determined persistently as Oligocene, whereas foraminiferal evidence showed the beds to be Eocene.”

               Foraminifera in the Upper Tertiary of Egypt.
Though I only had a short assignment in Egypt, it was long enough to establish that planktonic index species were present in the same sequence there as in the South American region, and this was considered enough justification for publishing a summary of my findings.”

                Work in comfort.
“Description of a simple microscopist’s bench.”

                Further notes on Globigerina oozes.
“There was some argument at this time as to whether or not fossil Globigerina oozes are incontrovertible evidence of deposition at great oceanic depths.

               Nomenclatural notes on Pullenia and Cibicides.

1950        Types of Pullenia duplicata Stainforth.

                Comments on “A pitfall of paleontologic ‘Latin’”.
“These three interrelated papers are on taxonomic matters of trivial importance. For the record, Pullenia duplicata Stainforth was the only species erected solely by me, all my others being joint creations with Dr. Cushman or (1946, as above) with F. V. Stevenson.”

                Is more concerted effort possible in establishing the regional significance of planktonic foraminifera as indices of geological age?
“The brief remarks following this rhetorical question were described as “a plea to all students of foraminifera to pay due attention to the planktonic forms and to make known the order of advent and extinction of species in different parts of the world”.
“Pleasing to report, the plea was taken up and two pertinent references to it are appended here. Grimsdale (1951) gave a valuable paper on the theme at the Third World Petroleum Congress. He referred (p.467) to my article, and his own presentation was so well received that an international committee was formed to expedite studies of the plankton (see p.475). In a comparably influential presidential address on foraminifera, Church (1953) referred to the surge of interest in the planktonics, with mention (p. 1555) of my plea and Grimsdale’s paper.”

1951        J.A. Cushman and RMS:
Tertiary foraminifera of coastal Ecuador: part I - Eocene.
“This paper described 59 localities in Ecuador from which foraminiferal assemblages were available, representative of five distinct marine facies ranging in age from middle Eocene to Upper Miocene (as then identified). It was intended to publish detailed descriptions of all these microfaunas, but Dr. Cushman’s death curtailed the project and even this review of the Eocene species had to be finalized posthumously.
“Subsequently Dr. Hofker published a revision of the Eocene (Journal of Paleontology 30-4, 1956) and many years later he finished an enormous manuscript on the younger material, but none of the journals were willing to accept his verbose and argumentative style, and I don’t know the final outcome.”

                Growth of recognition of the zonal value of planktonic microfossils.
“More on my favourite theme.”

1952        Ecology of arenaceous foraminifera.
“A suggestion that turbidity of marine waters inhibits development of calcareous micro-organisms. [Modern writers uphold the idea to some extent, but oceanographic studies have demonstrated that absence of calcareous tests in ocean-floor assemblages can simply be due to solution of CaCO3 below the “carbonate compensation depth”.]”

                Classification of uniserial calcareous foraminifera.

                 Nodosaria[n] nomenclature.
“The second is an addendum to the first. In retrospect I can say that my proposed modifications to existing nomenclature have been accepted. My new genus Orthomorphina is recognized by modern authors, also my assertion (repeating Finlay’s claim in a little-known New Zealand journal) that Stilostomella has priority over names then in use.

1953-55    A debate in the Geological Magazine.
“Out of a blue sky Dr. Eames in London challenged age determinations and fossil identifications considered firmly established by South American stratigraphers. I responded (rather brashly) and so did Hans Kugler and Cornelius Drooger.”

1953        Interpretive Methods in Applied Micropalaeontology (as developed in the petroleum industry). Doctoral thesis.
“Although it was not commonly done, a graduate of London University could submit a Ph.D. thesis externally without attending any courses. While in Peru and able to do most of the compilation in my office, I undertook this and was awarded the doctorate in 1952. Plans to publish the thesis fell through, though Standard Oil Co. (N. J.) issued it as an internal report.
“(Interestingly, the title was generally accepted without comment, even by the invigilators, and it took a Peruvian colleague to point out that a purist would write “interpretative”.)”

                The basis of Paleogene correlation in middle America.
“My contribution to a Festschrift in honour of Dr. Jorge A. Broggi, eminent Peruvian paleontologist. It was a handy opportunity to assert my credo that the foraminifera provide a better basis for regional correlations than do the molluscs.”

                 Globigerina mexicana Cushman, an Eocene index fossil.
“The record in the Peruvian Eocene of a single specimen of this index species [now known as
Orbulinoides beckmanni].”

                  RMS and W. Rüegg:
Mid-Oligocene transgression in southern Peru.
“This records and comments on a discovery of Miogypsina hundreds of miles south of previously known occurrences.”

1954        Comments on the Caribbean Oligocene.

1955        Ages of Tertiary formations in northwest Peru.
“A conflict existed between the ages based on molluscs and those based on foraminifera. I tried to reconcile them but found the foraminiferal data more acceptable.”

                 The value of an editorial board.

1956        Meaning of the word stratigraphy.

1958        Stratigraphic concepts.
“A contribution to the growing debate on stratigraphic principles and classification.”

1960        The American Oligocene.
“More debate in Nature. The Eames (=BP) group was now asserting absence of marine Oligocene beds throughout middle America, and I again expressed an opposing view.”

                 Estado actual de las correlaciones transatlanticas del Oligo-Mioceno por medio de foraminíferos planct”nicos.

                 Current status of transatlantic Oligo-Miocene correlations by means of planktonic foraminifera.
“Closely similar statements on the indicated theme. The Spanish version was prepared for the third Venezuelan Geological Congress held in Caracas in 1959, but the subject matter made publication in a European journal desirable and the fledgling Revue de Micropaléontologie was happy to accept it.”

                 Re publications in the AVGMP Boletín Informativo: “…I recognize that by now most of the reviews and editorials are as dead as the dodo and as dull as ditchwater, so I offer no annotations. Just here and there a spark still remains, and I still enjoy my destructive review of an over-ambitious publication by the Tulsa Geological Society (1964:7-7).
“As regards my technical articles, they were few enough in number to be annotated individually, as below.”

1961        The Cretaceous/Tertiary and Oligocene/Miocene boundaries in Venezuela.
“A critique of a recent publication by Hans Renz (my first boss, in Trinidad, and a lifelong friend). A symptom of the worldwide revisions beginning to take place as planktonic foraminifera were applied to Tertiary stratigraphy.”

1962        The Upper Eocene of the Guajira Peninsula.
“Another commentary on a recent publication. I have a sneaking suspicion that the fossils in question were simply picked up as a curio by some passing Indian, then abandoned far from their original locality.”

                 Definitions of some new Stratigraphic units.
“Formalization of some new names, so that they could be used on a published correlation chart. I was merely the scribe, not involved in the field geology.”

1964        Origin of the name Peñas Blancas Formation.
“Correction of some erroneous statements in the Stratigraphical Lexicon of Venezuela (1956).”

                 Discussion of the age of the Roraima Formation.
“Report of a meeting which followed the apparent discovery of pollen in Precambrian rocks.”

                 Subdivision of the Miocene.
“My turn to criticise and Orville Bandy’s to make a graceful rebuttal.”

1965        Internal publications on the geology of Venezuela, 1958 to mid-1965.

                RMS and J.A. Sulek:
Chapapotal Member, new name for Cachipo Member of Carapita Formation.
“Correction of an overlooked infraction of the Law of Priority.”

                 Mid-Tertiary diastrophism in northern South America. (Presented verbally at the 4th Caribbean Geological Conference in Trinidad.)
“Taking advantage of my experience in all the countries from Peru clockwise around the top of South America, I documented a regional rhythm in the advances and retreats of the Tertiary seas. Mechanics of the indicated vertical movements were not discussed, beyond generalized mention of the geosynclinal status of the basins. Occasion was taken for further refutation of the “no-Oligocene” theory.”

                 Amos Salvador and RMS:
Clues in Venezuela to geological problems in Trinidad, and vice versa.
“As above, the basins are treated as parts of a mobile geosyncline.”

1966        untitled comments in Drooger, C.W., Zonation of the Miocene by means of planktonic foraminifera— a review and some comments.

                 Occurrence of pollen and spores in the Roraima Formation of Venezuela and British Guiana.
“In this I was merely the scribe recording the data on behalf of the AVGMP. The rocks concerned are unquestionably ancient (Precambrian) and are so altered that no organic matter should be recognizable in them. Also they are physically dense, with no obvious routes (such as natural permeability/porosity or crack systems) through which solid particles might enter them. Yet standard palynological techniques recovered well-preserved fossil pollen from the samples!!!
“Exactly the same text (in Boletín Informativo 9-6, 1966) as recently published in Nature, here made available to AVGMP members. I still like the cross section which I concocted (Fig. 3) showing the amazing horizontality, even at 16.5-times vertical exaggeration, of the formations in this “lost world” country.”

                             A.L. Peirson, III, Amos Salvador and RMS:
The Guárico Formation of north-central Venezuela.
““Jake” Peirson was the senior author but included Amos Salvador and myself as joint authors because we had discussed the problems many times, out in the field as well as in the office.”

                  Gravitational deposits in Venezuela.
“Expanded version of a luncheon talk at which, in particular, I introduced the then-novel idea that the Villa de Cura Mountains of Venezuela had been transported from far to the north in the Caribbean Sea.”

                 Contributions of the A.V.G.M.P. Maracaibo Basin Eocene Nomenclature Committee: I - Introduction.
“Nomenclature of the subsurface Eocene in the prolific Lake Maracaibo oilfields was very confused. Largely at my urging a committee was formed to recommend a simplified usage and this was its initial report. Later this introductionand the suite of articles which followed were translated into Spanish and issued as AVGMP Publicaci—n Especial No. 1, a handsome booklet entitled La estratigrafía del Eoceno en la cuenca de Maracaibo, but I see no point in adding the Spanish version to the English one seen here.”

1967        E. von der Osten and RMS:
Current status of stratigraphic names used in central Lara, Appendix to Osten, E. von der, Stratigraphy of Central Lara.
“This was an appendix which I helped Erimar von der Osten prepare to clarify his paper on the stratigraphy of Lara, an area which suffered particularly from abuse of the Law of Priority by the successive teams of geologists who studied it.”

                Recorded discussion at the 1967 Conference on Planktonic Microfossils in Geneva

marks the “burying of the hatchet” in the controversy with the BP group regarding correlation of planktonic foraminiferal zones. 

1968        El desarrollo de la terminología estratigráfica en el estado Lara.
“By now I was hot under the collar about Lara as, despite my verbal and written objections, the Ministry of Mines continued to publish reports which arrogantly introduced new names and discarded duly published ones. So I again expressed my views and gave historical backing for them. [By the time the revised stratigraphic lexicon appeared in 1970, my recommendations had been accepted.]”

1969        untitled comments in Blow, W.H., Late Middle Eocene to Recent planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy.

                Ages of Upper Tertiary and Quaternary formations in Venezuela.
“This summarized the cumulative effect of revised correlations in Europe coupled with transoceanic matching of planktonic foraminiferal zones. In less than a decade the long-accepted sequence in Venezuela-Trinidad had changed

“It may not look much, reduced to this scale, but amounted to a real upheaval to the stratigraphers concerned.”

               The concept of seafloor spreading applied to Venezuela.
“Alongside of, and to some extent linked with, the worldwide revisions of Tertiary stratigraphy, the Deep Sea Drilling Project was producing new and cohesive evidence in support of the concept of moving continental masses. The term ‘seafloor spreading’ was already in use and I had many discussions with Harry Hess of Princeton, a leading proponent whose graduate students mostly made their thesis studies in Venezuela.
“In this paper I attempted to set the known geological history of Venezuela in the context of seafloor spreading and, in particular, the ‘convection-cell’ concept which Hess was favouring at that time. In retrospect I think I presented a reasonable picture of what happened, though my how—the ‘convection cell’—is now dubious. The concept of the Andes Mountains rising as horsts coincident with Mesozoic pull-apart rifts was my own, and my assessment of some major faults in terms of plate-tectonics was a new approach.”

               Mid-Tertiary diastrophism in northern South America.

1970        C. González de Juana, RMS, F. de Rivero, C. Martín Bellizzia and C. Petzall, eds.
“Although only one of the editorial team, I was responsible for almost all the sedimentary units of Cretaceous and Tertiary age, so wrote close to half the text as well as being involved in organizational aspects.”

1971        La formación Carapita de Venezuela oriental.
“Pepared for and presented verbally at the 4th Venezuelan Geological Congress in Caracas, 1969. This paper was printed in the 5-volume Memoirs, p. 433-463, issued 1971-72, but I never received author’s separates.
“I have faintly regretted that it was never translated and published in one of the English-language journals, as the case-example of “zonulation” was of far more than local interest.”

1973        Description, correlation and paleoecology of Tertiary Cipero Marl Formation, Trinidad, B.W.I.
“My 1948 paper was reprinted, with minor corrections and a small addendum, in Paleoecology, AAPG Reprint Series No. 6.

1974        Nomenclature of some large Eo-Oligocene globigerinas.
“My contribution to the Festschrift prepared in honour of the 80th birthday of Hans Kugler. Anne and I had an enjoyable visit to Basel on that occasion, meeting many old friends dating back to our early married days in Trinidad.
“Actually Jake Peirson and I had planned to prepare a joint contribution based on our studies of the fascinating Rio Chacual section—see AVGMP Boletin Informativo for 1965; but close to the deadline Jake told me he couldn’t get the necessary drafting done. So, as I greatly wanted to be represented in the Festschrift, I hastily whipped some rough notes into shape and made photocopies of the necessary illustrations, thus producing the article as published, barely in time to be accepted.”

1975        RMS, J.L. Lamb, Hanspeter Luterbacher, J.H. Beard and R.M. Jeffords:
Cenozoic planktonic foraminiferal zonation and characteristics of index forms.
“This magnum opus was a compilation well received in both industrial and academic circles. I was senior author of an Exxon team and wrote almost all the main text as well as the Late Eocene to mid-Miocene portion of the Appendix.
“To anyone reading it critically, I may mention here that the Exxon editors had some firm and inflexible rules regarding English usage. They resulted in certain forms of expression which to this day I find grating, but I had to accept them. For instance, contrary to Fowler’s ‘Modern English Usage’ (which I drew to their attention), they placed adverbs after the past participle instead of between the auxiliary verb and the participle; they substituted the simple past where I had tried to give nuances of meaning by verb forms such as ‘has been’, ‘is tending to’,
et cetera.”

                    South American studies of Tertiary planktonic foraminifera/Estudios suramericanos de los foraminíferos planctonicos del Terciario.

                    P.J. Bermúdez and RMS: Aplicaciones de foraminíferos planctónicos a la bioestratigrafía del Terciario en Venezuela.
“I had been an “honorary collaborator” of the Revista Española de Micropaleontología since it first appeared in 1968. At the urging of its principal editor, Enrico Perconig, I organized a special symposium issue on applications of planktonic foraminifera to the stratigraphy of South America. Correspondence with South American colleagues began in 1971 but took five years to bear fruit: see Vol. XXVIII of the family-postal-history collection.”

1976        J.L. Lamb and RMS:
Unreliability of Globigerinoides datum.
“The vigorous worldwide studies of planktonic foraminifera led initially to a belief that the level of first evolutionary appearance of Globigerinoides was a reliable guide to the Oligocene-Miocene boundary. However, continuing studies produced more and more dubious cases and we encountered a particularly serious anomaly in some submarine coreholes. That was around 1972 but oil-company confidentialities were involved, so there was regrettable delay in publishing even this condensed summary. [Worse still, only at the time of writing this in July, 1981 is a full version of our study on the brink of publication at Kansas University.]”

1978        Was it the Orinoco?
“The main oil sands of Trinidad and the Gulf of Paria are deltaic and geologists have made the seemingly obvious assumption that the parent river of the ancient delta was the proto-Orinoco. In eastern Venezuela, however, there is much evidence opposed to the existence of a big east-flowing river in Late Tertiary time. The suggestion introduced here is that a north-flowing proto-Essequibo River is a more likely source of the Trinidad oil sands.”

                 RMS, J.L. Lamb and R.M. Jeffords: Rotalia menardii Parker, Jones and Brady, 1865 (Foraminiferida: proposed suppression of lectotype and designation of neotype.)
“This is in the legalistic realm of the systematic classification of foraminifera and boils down to claiming a ‘special dispensation’ for reviving the use of a venerable name (of d’Orbigny, 1826) which modern authors have rejected on what now seem to be dubious grounds.”

1981        RMS and J.L. Lamb: An evaluation of planktonic foraminiferal zonation of the Oligocene.
“A straightforward study, illustrated by some nice electron-microscope photographs taken by the Imperial Oil technician in Calgary. The only point for annotation is the long delay in its publication. The study was finished as a consultant report for EXXON in 1974, but not until 1977 was it decided to publish the work in the Fisk memorial series. The ms. and plates were then sent, apparently routinely, to the University of Kansas for printing. But once there they got involved in some in-house jealousy between editors, which has never been fully explained to me but certainly had no personal relation to Jim Lamb or myself, and twice the whole lot were pushed away out of sight. Some stern words from EXXON caused them to reappear late in 1980, in the hands of an editor who had nothing to do with the Machiavellian goings-on, and he had it in print, proofed, and published in short order.”

                    Globuligerina Bignot and Guyader, 1971, prior synonym of Caucasella Longoria, 1974.

1982        RMS with K. Sztrakos & R. M. Jeffords
Globigerina cerroazulensis Cole, 1928 and Globigerapsis tropicalis Blow & Banner, 1962 (Foraminiferida): proposed conservation.
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, vol. 39, pt. 1, March 1982 5 pp.