The lithotectonic working group is a subdivision of the National Commission for Stratigraphy in Belgium, dedicated to organising lithotectonic units and limits of Belgium according to emerging international standards and conventions. Until a dedicated international body is recognised, the Geological Mapping and Modelling Expert group of EuroGeoSurveys, together with EuroGeoSurveys’ EGDI (European Geological Data infrastructure) act to ensure compliance with relevant international initiatives, in particular GeoSciML and INSPIRE.
Lithotectonic units are the building blocks of regional geology, each piece representing a distinct and complex geological history. Even if central for scientific progress, definitions of lithotectonic units vary greatly among different authors or regions and are often confusing or contradicting. It is crucial to revisit and harmonise definitions, especially in a time where geological information is becoming part of knowledge systems. The developments that take place at European level provide the technical information infrastructure that allows to focus national efforts at revising the definitions of concrete geological units.
The geology of Belgium can be subdivided in multiple ways depending on purpose, an added complication compared to lithostratigraphy, and in numerous levels of detail. Nevertheless, the starting point of the lithotectonic work flow is straightforward, with the hierarchical structure commencing with the largest, most regional relevant units, and subsequently moving to more detailed levels. In practice, this is an iterative process because concepts at different levels are related.
The central objective of the lithotectonic working group is reviewing how lithotectonic units and their limits were historically defined and if their current usage has drifted. This leads to reviewed and potentially revised definitions linked to generic authoritative definitions. Once approved these are published and embedded in public, web accessible and refereceable thesauri.