Carboniferous

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The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Devonian Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya (million years ago), to the beginning of the Permian Period, about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya (ICS, 2004,[5] chart).

The Carboniferous was a time of glaciation, low sea level and mountain building, diversification and extinction; a minor marine and terrestrial extinction event among animals and plants (Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse) occurred in the middle of the period caused by climate change.[6]

The name comes from the Latin word for coal, carbo. Carboniferous means "coal-bearing". Many coal beds were laid down globally during this period, hence the name.

Contents

Subdivisions

In the USA the Carboniferous is usually broken into Mississippian (earlier) and Pennsylvanian (later) Epochs. The Mississippian is about twice as long as the Pennsylvanian, but due to the large thickness of coal bearing deposits with Pennsylvanian ages in Europe and North America, the two subperiods were long thought to have been more or less equal.[7] The faunal stages from youngest to oldest, together with some of their subdivisions, are:

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