|System||Series||Stage||Age (Ma)||European lithostratigraphy|
|Bunter or Buntsandstein|
|Major lithostratigraphic units of northwest Europe with the ICS's geologic timescale of the Triassic.|
The Lias Group or Lias is a lithostratigraphic unit (a sequence of rock strata) found in a large area of western Europe, including the British Isles, the North Sea, the Low Countries and the north of Germany. It consists of marine limestones, shales, marls and clays.
Lias is a Middle English term for hard limestone, used in this specific sense by geologists since 1833. In the past, geologists used Lias not only for the sequence of rock layers, but also for the timespan during which they were formed. It was thus an alternative name for the Early Jurassic epoch of the geologic timescale. It is now more specifically known that the Lias is Rhaetian to Toarcian in age (over a period of c. 20 million years between ) and thus also includes a part of the Triassic. The use of the name "Lias" for a unit of time is therefore slowly disappearing.
In the East Midlands Shelf the Lias is divided into the following formations (from top to base):
In South Wales only the Blue Lias is present.
The Lias is underlain by the Late Triassic Penarth Group, and overlain by the Inferior Oolite in most of England and the Dogger Formation or Ravenscar Group in the Cleveland Basin. In some areas there is a stratigraphic hiatus, and the rocks are overlain by Cretaceous marine sediments.
There are restricted outcrops of Lias rocks on the west coast of Scotland where, in the Sea of the Hebrides depositional basin on Skye, Raasay and Mull, the Broadford Beds Formation, Pabay Shale Formation and overlying Scalpay Sandstone Formation are assigned to the Lias Group.
In northern Germany, the Lias Group consists of nine formations (from top to base):