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**Geological History and Stratigraphy**:
– The term “Carboniferous” was first used in 1799 by Richard Kirwan.
– Initially, four units were assigned to the Carboniferous before being formalized as a unit by Conybeare and Phillips in 1822.
– The ICS ratifies global stages based on GSSPs for global stratigraphic correlation.
– The Carboniferous system is divided into Permian, Pennsylvanian, and Mississippian stages.
– The Mississippian stage proposed by Alexander Winchell in 1870.

**Geological Events and Climate**:
– During the Carboniferous, vast forests and swamps covered the land.
– Raised atmospheric oxygen levels led to the evolutionary radiation of land arthropods.
– Climate changes during the later half of the period caused a minor extinction event known as the Carboniferous rainforest collapse.
– Glaciations, low sea levels, and mountain building occurred in the later half of the Carboniferous.
– The Carboniferous period is known for the formation of many coal beds globally.

**Geological Impact and Evolution**:
– The Carboniferous saw the evolution of Stegocephalia from lobe-finned fish.
– Land arthropods such as arachnids, myriapods, and insects diversified during the late Carboniferous.
– The first appearance of amniotes, including synapsids and sauropsids, occurred during this period.
– Continents collided to form Pangaea during the later half of the Carboniferous period.
– The Carboniferous period is also known as the Age of Amphibians due to the diversification of early amphibians.

**Geological Formations and Boundaries**:
– Coal formation occurred in waterlogged, anoxic swamps during the late Carboniferous and early Permian periods.
– Cyclothems, which represent rapid sea level changes, were deposited mainly during the Late Paleozoic Ice Age.
– Boundaries such as Visean, Serpukhovian, and Pennsylvanian were defined by GSSPs.
– The Permian boundary is marked by significant climatic and sea level changes.
– The environmental impact of the Carboniferous period included the closure of the Rheic Ocean and the formation of Pangaea.

**Paleogeography and Orogeny**:
– Increased tectonic plate movements during the Carboniferous led to the formation of Pangaea.
– The Variscan-Alleghanian-Ouachita orogeny resulted from continental collisions between Laurussia, Gondwana, and Armorican Terrane.
– The Uralian orogeny involved collision between the Magnitogorsk island arc and Laurussia.
– Laurussia, formed by the collision of Laurentia, Baltica, and Avalonia, experienced heavy precipitation due to the Central Pangean Mountain.
– Gondwana, located in the southern polar region during the Carboniferous, had widespread glacial deposits and multiple ice centers.

Carboniferous (Wikipedia)

The Carboniferous (/ˌkɑːrbəˈnɪfərəs/ KAR-bə-NIF-ər-əs) is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic that spans 60 million years from the end of the Devonian Period 358.9 Ma (million years ago) to the beginning of the Permian Period, 298.9 Ma. In North America, the Carboniferous is often treated as two separate geological periods, the earlier Mississippian and the later Pennsylvanian.

358.9 ± 0.4 – 298.9 ± 0.15 Ma
A map of the world as it appeared during the middle Carboniferous, c. 330 Ma
Name formalityFormal
Nickname(s)Age of Amphibians
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitPeriod
Stratigraphic unitSystem
First proposed byWilliam Daniel Conybeare and William Phillips, 1822
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionFAD of the Conodont Siphonodella sulcata (discovered to have biostratigraphic issues as of 2006)
Lower boundary GSSPLa Serre, Montagne Noire, France
43°33′20″N 3°21′26″E / 43.5555°N 3.3573°E / 43.5555; 3.3573
Lower GSSP ratified1990
Upper boundary definitionFAD of the Conodont Streptognathodus isolatus within the morphotype Streptognathodus wabaunsensis chronocline
Upper boundary GSSPAidaralash, Ural Mountains, Kazakhstan
50°14′45″N 57°53′29″E / 50.2458°N 57.8914°E / 50.2458; 57.8914
Upper GSSP ratified1996
Atmospheric and climatic data
Sea level above present dayFalling from 120 m to present-day level throughout the Mississippian, then rising steadily to about 80 m at end of period

The name Carboniferous means "coal-bearing", from the Latin carbō ("coal") and ferō ("bear, carry"), and refers to the many coal beds formed globally during that time. The first of the modern "system" names, it was coined by geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips in 1822, based on a study of the British rock succession.

Carboniferous is the period during which both terrestrial animal and land plant life was well established. Stegocephalia (four-limbed vertebrates including true tetrapods), whose forerunners (tetrapodomorphs) had evolved from lobe-finned fish during the preceding Devonian period, became pentadactylous during the Carboniferous. The period is sometimes called the Age of Amphibians because of the diversification of early amphibians such as the temnospondyls, which became dominant land vertebrates, as well as the first appearance of amniotes including synapsids (the clade to which modern mammals belong) and sauropsids (which include modern reptiles and birds) during the late Carboniferous. Due to the raised atmospheric oxygen level, land arthropods such as arachnids (e.g. trigonotarbids and Pulmonoscorpius), myriapods (e.g. Arthropleura) and insects (e.g. Meganeura) also underwent a major evolutionary radiation during the late Carboniferous. Vast swaths of forests and swamps covered the land, which eventually became the coal beds characteristic of the Carboniferous stratigraphy evident today.

The later half of the period experienced glaciations, low sea level, and mountain building as the continents collided to form Pangaea. A minor marine and terrestrial extinction event, the Carboniferous rainforest collapse, occurred at the end of the period, caused by climate change.

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