1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

A volume of refereed papers from the conferencewill be published in Notes et Mémoires du Service Géologique de Maroc.

John A. Talent, Macquarie University Joint Coordinator IGCP 421

Sixth International Meeting of IGCP 421 North Gondwana Biogeography/Bioevent Patterns in Relation to Crustal Dynamics (8- 26 September 1999), In conjunction with the First Pakistan Palaeontological Convention (18-26 September 1999).

The 6th international meeting of IGCP 421 consisted of a formal presentation of some 40 scientific reports at the University of Peshawar, 20-21September. The pre- conference program consisted of two excursions:
1. Palaeozoics of northernmost Pakistan, especially in the watershed of the Yarkhun River and in the vicinity of the Baroghil Pass with access to the principal sections being obtained by jeep, yak and horse with some support from mule trains (21 Aug.- 7 Sept.; 30 participants; Leader: John Talent). This group continued by jeep to Gilgit en route to Kashi/Kashgar in far-western China meeting up with participants for the more formal pre-conference excursion,
2.Palaeozoics of a transect of the Tarim Block across the Karakorum Collision Zone and Karakorum Block to Gilgit and the mid-Palaeozoics of central Chitral (8-19 Sept.; 30 participants; Leaders: Sun Dong-jiang, and Chen Xiu-qin for the portion in China and John Talent for the portion in Pakistan).
The principal focus for these excursions was a recent publication by Talent et al. (1999, Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia I Stratigrafia105: 201-230) and publications by the Milano group led by Prof. Maurizio Gaetani. We were fortunate to have Professor Gaetani with us in the Baroghil area during Excursion 1.
The post-conference program (22-26 Sept.; Leaders: various) consisted of examination of the Proterozoic to mid Palaeozoic succession of the Cherat Range, Nowshera area, a visit to the superb Geoscience Laboratory at the Geological Survey of Pakistan, Islamabad, examination of the famous Salt Range Permian-Triassic sequence, a structural-stratigraphic transect from Kohat to Peshawar and,finally, examination of the Devono-Carboniferous sequence at Gundhai Sar and on-site discussion of ages of stratigraphic units along the Khyber Road between Shaghai Fort and the Afghan border at Torkham.
The opening session of the conference, attended by 190 delegates, was opened by His Excellency, the Governor of Northwest Frontier Province, Major-General Aurangzeb and the Vice-Chancellor of Peshawar University, Professor M. Qasem Jan. Highlights of the conference were

extended exposés on application of expert systems to handling biogeographic data (V.N Yolkina et al.), Phanerozoic climate in relation to biogeography (A.J. Boucot et al.), Mid- Palaeozoic event-stratigraphy in relation to isotopic data (A.S. Andrew and others), transgression-regression patterns in the mid Palaeozoics of the Italian Alps (C. Perri & C. Spalletta), charophyte biostratigraphy (M. Feist) CAI analysis in relation to metamorphic overprint in the Carnic Alps (M. Pondreli), transition from diagenesis to metamorphism- CAI versus IC data-in the Townsville hinterland of NE Australia (C. Brime et al.), a group of four papers on conodont biostratigraphy in relation to tectonics in Turkey (Y. Goncuoglu & H. Kozur), quantitative palaeobiogeographic implications of the silicified brachiopod faunas of the Garra Limestone of NSW (G.A. Brock & J.A. Talent), Middle Devonian trilobites from NE Australia and Late Devonian trilobites from Iran (R. Feist et al.), Devonian plants from the northern Gondwana margin (B. Meyer- Berthaud et al.) and a flock of about dozen other papers from Australian participants.
Conjoined with the conference was the 1st Pakistan Palaeontologic Convention (FPPC), an initiative suggested by us in order to increase viability of the meeting and to showcase the role of biostratigraphy in structural interpretations and, in the case of the FPPC, in hydrocarbon exploration. The conference and attendant excursions highlighted the paucity of biostratigraphically well-constrained ages throughout the mountainous region of Pakistan north of the Salt Range.
In addition to participants from Pakistan, 35 conference delegates represented 11 other countries. The Australian contingent was the largest (13); others came from France (5), USA (3), Italy (2), Spain (2), India (2), Russia (2), Iran(2), China (2), Morocco (1), Germany (1) and Hungary (1). Pivotal for the success of the conference were the enthusiasm and energies of Vice-Chancellor Qasem Jan, head of the National Centre of Excellence in Geology, Prof. Hamidullah, and staff members Fazl-i- Rabbi Khan, Mohammed Riaz, Barkat Ullah, Amjad Ali and many more who seemed to be everywhere at all times, looking after conference participants. Noteworthy was participation of two delegates from India, Drs O.N. Bhargava and A.D. Ahluwalia, both from Panjab University, Chandigarh. That they were able to take part in the conference was due to remarkable perseverance with bureaucracy by our Peshawar University friends at a time of acute border tension between Pakistan and India.

John Talent
Macquarie University