related topics
{island, water, area}
{specie, animal, plant}
{theory, work, human}
{land, century, early}
{law, state, case}
{math, energy, light}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

The Quaternary Period is the most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the ICS.[1] It follows the Tertiary Period, spanning 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary includes two geologic epochs: the Pleistocene and the Holocene Epochs.



Research history

The term Quaternary ("fourth") was proposed by Giovanni Arduino in 1759 for alluvial deposits in the Po river valley in northern Italy. It was introduced by Jules Desnoyers in 1829 for sediments of France's Seine Basin that seemed clearly to be younger than Tertiary Period rocks. The Quaternary Period follows the Tertiary Period and extends to the present. The Quaternary covers the time span of glaciations classified as the Pleistocene, and includes the present interglacial period, the Holocene. This places the start of the Quaternary at the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation approximately 2.6 million years ago and includes portions of what has sometimes been classified as the upper Pliocene.

Quaternary stratigraphers usually worked with regional subdivisions. From the 1970s, the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) tried to make a single geologic time scale based on GSSP's, which could be used internationally. The Quaternary subdivisions were defined based on biostratigraphy instead of paleoclimate. This led to the problem that the proposed base of the Pleistocene was at 1.805 Mya, long after the start of the major glaciations of the northern hemisphere. The ICS then proposed to abolish use of the name Quaternary altogether, which appeared unacceptable to the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). In 2009, it was decided to make the Quaternary the youngest period of the Cenozoic Era with its base at 2.588 Mya and including the Gelasian age, which was formerly considered part of the Neogene Period and Pliocene Epoch.[1]

Full article ▸

related documents
Ecology of Africa
Geography of Malta
Geography of the Cayman Islands
Organ Pipes National Park
Geography of Guam
East Frisian Islands
Geography of Réunion
Geography of the Gaza Strip
Geography of New Caledonia
Karakum Desert
Geography of the Republic of Ireland
Hai River
Geography of Liberia
Geography of Burma
Mitchell River National Park
Channels of the Hawaiian Islands
Great Rift Valley
Little Desert National Park
Geography of the Marshall Islands
Boodjamulla National Park
Kingman Reef
Banks Island
Geography of Morocco
Land bridge
Geography of Guinea