354 to 290 Million Years Ago
• Duration: 60 Million Years
• Maximum thickness: 75,000 feet
• The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 354 to 290
million years ago during the late Paleozoic Era.
• The term "Carboniferous" comes from England, in
reference to the rich deposits of coal that occur there.
These deposits of coal occur throughout northern Europe, Asia, and midwestern and
eastern North America.
• The term "Carboniferous" is used throughout the world to describe
this period, although this period has been separated into the Mississippian
(Lower Carboniferous) and the Pennsylvanian (Upper
Carboniferous) in the United States. This system was adopted to
distinguish the coal-bearing layers of the Pennsylvanian from the mostly limestone
Mississippian, and is a result of differing stratigraphy on the different continents
Carboniferous Forest : The Carboniferous
Period is famous for its vast coal swamps,
such as the one depicted here. Such swamps
produced the coal from which the term
"Carboniferous", or "carbon-bearing" comes
• In addition to having the ideal conditions for the beginnings of coal, several major
biological, geological, and climatic events occurred during this time.
• One of the greatest evolutionary innovations of the Carboniferous was the amniote egg,
which allowed for the further exploitation of the land by certain tetrapods.
• The amniote egg allowed the ancestors of birds, mammals, and reptiles to reproduce on
land by preventing the desiccation جفاف of the embryo inside.
• There was also a trend towards mild temperatures during theCarboniferous, as
evidenced by the decrease in lycopods and large insects and an increase in the number
of tree ferns.
• Geologically, the Late Carboniferous collision of Laurussia (present-day Europe and
North America) into Gondwanaland (present-day Africa and South America) produced the
Appalachian mountain belt of eastern North America and the Hercynian Mountains in the
United Kingdom. A further collision of Siberia and eastern Europe created the Ural
The Carboniferous: Facies
Two main facies could be introduced:
1-Marine: dominates the lower Carboniferous; mainly L.S.,shales,
calcareous shales argillaceous clastics.
2-Terrestial (non-marine) :more developed in the Upper
Carboniferous; mudstones, ironstone, sandstone, conglomerates grits and
shales with seams of coal.The sandstones and conglomerates are commonly
lenticular and cross-bedded.
• The) extends from about 363 mya until 323 mya.
• In Europe, the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods are joined
into a single period called the Carboniferous, and can be quite
naturally be subdivided into three epochs.
• In the U.S., this timespan can only be divided into two subgroups,
subdivided by a withdrawl of seas from the North American continent.
• The Mississippian fossil record is almost entirely marine. Shallow,
warm-water seas covered much of the North American continent,
which was equatorially located at the time.
Laurasia and Gondwana
During the Carboniferous, the world's continents were combined into two
large supercontinents. The northernmost, extending across the equator and
into subtropical northern latitudes has been called Laurasia. The current
continents of North America, Europe and Asia made up this body.
The southern supercontinent, extending from southern subtropical latitudes to
almost antarctic latitudes has been named Gondwana, and was comprised of
what was to become South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctia
The Age of Crinoids
•The Mississippian has sometimes been called the "Age of Crinoids," due to the numbers of
fossils of these stalked echinoderms found in the strata of the period. Crinoids were filter
feeders that lived in the warm water surrounding Laurasia.
•In the United States, the Carboniferous Period is generally divided
into the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods. The name
"Carboniferous" refers to the abundance of coal found in strata of this
•The Pennsylvanian Period (from the state of Pennsylvania, where
many fossils of this age are found) stretched from about 323 mya
until 290 mya.
The warm, moist climate of the Carboniferous was ideally suited for
the dense forests that left their remains, and also for the amphibians
and insects that diversified and radiated throughout the world during
The Pennsylvanian was a time of mountain building. The Appalachians in the
eastern U.S. began to rise, an uplift that continued into the Permian. The
Ancestral Rockies rose in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, and another mountain
chain along the New Mexico/Arizona border.
During most of the Pennsylvanian, a large portion of North America supported
lush, swampy forests. Lycopods, scale trees, made up the largest component of
these forests, with some of these trees reaching 100 feet in height. Some ferns
grew to 50 feet. Insects and amphibians thrived in this environment. Meter-
long amphibians were common, as well as a dragonfly with a 75 cm wingspan
and a 4-inch cockroach
The first reptiles are found in Upper Mississippian/Lower Pennsylvanian rocks
in Nova Scotia. By creating the amniote egg, with a strong, waterproof shell,
reptiles were able to fully leave the aquatic environment to live entirely on
Subdivisions of the
The chart at left shows the major
subdivisions of the
Lower Carboniferous of Europe
corresponds roughly to the
Mississippian of North America,
and the Middle and Upper
Carboniferous are roughly
equivalent to the Pennsylvanian.
This chart is mapped, to allow you
to travel back to the Devonian
orforward to the Permian. The
Carboniferous Period is part of
• In North America, the Carboniferous is divided into two
subsystems: the Mississippian (early Carboniferous from 354-323
mya) and the Pennsylvanian (late Carboniferous from 323-290 mya).
• This nomenclature is different in Europe and China, where different
names and divisions have been made to the Carboniferous.
• Upper and Lower subdivisions were used to separate the coal
measures dating from the late Carboniferous from the limestone
strata of the early Carboniferous.
• In Europe, the Lower Carboniferous is called the Dinantian and the
Upper and Middle Carboniferous are together called the Silesian.
• The boundary between the Upper and Lower subdivisions in Europe
is known to be below the boundary between the Pennsylvanian and
the Mississippian subsystems in North America. Within these
subsystems there are further subdivisions based on the
evolutionary successions of fossil groups. The series used in
Eastern Europe, and which the United States Geological Survey
follows, are (from early to late) Tournaisian, Visean, Serpukhovian,
Bashkirian, Moscovian, Kasimovian, and Gzelian. An alternative
series occasionally used in the United States are the
Kinderhookian, Osagean, Meramecian, Chesterian, Morrowan,
Atokan, Desmoinesian, Missourian, and the Virgilian
Subdivisions of the
The chart at left shows the major
subdivisions of the
Carboniferous Period. The
Lower Carboniferous of
Europe corresponds roughly to
the Mississippian of North
America, and the Middle and
Upper Carboniferous are
roughly equivalent to the
This chart is mapped, to allow
you to travel back to the
Devonian or forward to the
Permian. The Carboniferous
Period is part of the
• The appearance or disappearance of fauna usually marks the boundaries between
• The Carboniferous is separated from the earlier Devonian by the appearance of the
conodont Siphonodella sulcata or Siphondella duplicata. Conodonts are a series of
fossils that resemble the teeth or jaws of primitive eel- or hagfish-like fish.
• The Carboniferous-Permian boundary is distinguished by the appearance of the
fusulinid foram Sphaeroschwagerina fusiformis in Europe and Pseudoschwagerina
• dei in North America.
• Fusulinids are giants among protists and could reach a centimeter in length.
• They were abundant enough to form sizable deposits of rock, known as "rice rock"
because of the resemblance between fusulinids and rice grains
• The Mississippian is differentiated from the Pennsylvanian by the appearance of the
conodont Declinognathodus noduliferus, the ammonoid genus Homoceras, and the
foraminifers Millerella pressa and Millerella marblensis.
• The markers of these boundaries apply only to marine deposits. The distinction
between the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian subsystems may also be illustrated by
a break in the flora due to transistional changes from a terrestrial environment to a
marine one and as a result of a change in the climate
• The stratigraphy of the Lower Carboniferous is distinguished
by the shallow-water limestones. These limestones are
composed of parts of organisms, mostly the remains of
crinoids. These thrived in the shallow seas of the Lower
Carboniferous. Other limestones include lime mudstones and
oolithic limestones. Lime mudstones are composed of the
carbonate mud produced by green algae. Oolithic limestones
are composed of calcium carbonate in concentric spheres
that were produced by high wave energy. Sandstones
(sedimentary rock composed of quartz sand and cemented by
silica or calcium carbonate) and siltstones (rock composed of
hardened silt) are also found in the Lower Carboniferous
strata, though not in as great abundance than the L.S.
• Coal beds, which can be up to eleven to twelve meters thick,
Upper Carboniferous. Deposits reflect the transgression and
regression of the seas over the continents. The layers consist
of sandstone, shale, "freshwater" limestone, underclay, and a
coal bed. The forests of seedless vascular plants that existed
in the tropical swamp forests of Europe and North America
provided the organic material that became coal. Dead plants
did not completely decay and was turned to peat in these
• The type localities for the Mississippian Period are Kinderhook, Illinois; the Meramec
River, southeastern Michigan; and the Chester district, southwestern Illinois. All three
type localities are in the upper Mississippi Valley. Other type localities for the different
series within the Mississippian Period occur throughout Europe and North America,
some of which are the Avon Gorge section in Bristol, England and the Pocono Group in
the Appalachian region of North America. The type locality for the Pennsylvanian
Period occurs in central West Virginia in the United States. Others occur in the
Jackfork and Johns Valley shales of Oklahoma and Arkansas and the Supai Group in
the Grand Canyon. In Europe the type localities for the Upper Carboniferous include
the Millstone Grit and the Coal Measures in England.
• Index fossils are the remians of plants and animals that characterize a well-defined time
span and occur over a wide range of geography. Fossils of marine life characterize the
Mississippian Period, as shallow epicontinental seas covered the United States at that
time. These fossils include solitary corals and Syringopora, tubular colonial corals.
Other fossil colonial corals include Stelechophyllum and Siphonodendron. Because
conodont fossils are distributed all over the world, they are utilized internationally to
date Mississippian rocks.
• Index fossils used for the Pennsylvanian Period are fusulinid foraminifers and the
pollen and spores from the coal forests prevalent during that time. The Mississippian-
Pennsylvanian boundary is marked by the appearance of the fusulinid Pseudostaffella
• Other fossils used to identify the early Pennsylvanian Period are the three ammonoid
cephalopod genera: Gastrioceras, Daiboloceras, and Paralegoceras, found in marine
The History of the
1- At the beginning of the Carboniferous period a great transgression invaded all Britain to the north
west. Thus marine formations as limestone followed the (O.R.S.St.). This limestone constituts the
Dinantian which is well developed in the Ardennes and along the southern border of the O.R.S.St.
continent. This limestone was divded into zones on the bases of the Corals or brachiopods.
2- In this case the Dinantian can be differentiated into a lower Tournasian and an upper Vesian. The
shore of this Dinantian sea is recorded in Scotland where the calcareous facies found in the south
are here replaced by lagoonal beds with carbonaceous beds or gypsum
3-In the Rhenish Massife, the Dinantian is represented by shales with Goniatites.
The area, where the Carboniferous limestone had been depoited, was uplifted by the beginning of the
Hercynian Orogeny producing lacustrine basins and coastal plains showing muds with marine shells
alternating with lacustrine or continental fossils. These formations includes Coal Beds either in
fresh water (limic) or marine coal (Paralic) in the Swamps.
4-The Subdivision of the sediments is mainly based on: the plants, fresh water pelecypods
(Anthracomya) and the alternating fossils. This enables to divide the Carboniferous into:
A) lower Westphalian (in Westphalia) with the Namuriah at the base.
B )The Stephanian forming the end of the Carboniferous system.
At the end of the Devonian, there were two natural regions:-
• The Old Red Sandstone region represents the continental mass, in parts desert and lagoons
covering all Brtain except Cornwell. This (O.R.S.St.) also extended to Brabant in Belgium and
included all the Scandinavian and Baltic regions.
• The southern region which included the Mesogean sea ( the ancestor of the Mediterranean sea)
shows variable marine facies.
5-Carboniferous beds were later followed in Westen Europe,
by Conglomerate, Arkose, Sand or Shale, red green or
violet in colour , known as New Red Sandstone (N.R.S.St.)
which is similar to the (O.R.S.St.) without clear marine
fauna. The climate changed from humid to dry producing
evaporates, gypsum and salts.
6-At Autun , a transition zone is found between the humid
Carboniferous and the arid Permian. This zone shows
black shales with sandy beds rich in plants ( Bituminous
shales) forming the Autunian stage.
7-The New Red Sandstone proper is found in the Saxonian
stage in Germany.
8-The end of the Permian an interior sea spread over all of
the northern Germany and Britain, depositing dolomitic
limestone followed by saline formation to which the
German geologists give the name Zechstein
Life of the Carboniferous
• The beginning of the Carboniferous generally had a more uniform, tropical, and humid climate throughout the
year than exists today. Seasons if any were indistinct.
• These observations are based on comparing the morphology of the plants that exist in the fossil record with
plants that are present today.
• The morphology of the Carboniferous plants resembles the plants that live in tropical and mildly temperate
• Many of them lack growth rings, suggesting a uniform climate. This uniformity in climate may have been the
result of the large expanse of ocean that covered the entire surface of the globe except for a small, localized
section where Pangea, the massive supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Triassic, was
forming during the Carboniferous.
Flora: Scale trees ( Lycopod plants) were the most plants of the forests. Most of them belonged to:
Sigillaria , Calamites Lindleyi
Gymnosperms, (the Cordaites(
• Near the end of the Mississippian, uplift and erosion of the continents occurred, causing an increase
in the number of floodplains and deltas present. The deltaic environment supports fewer corals,
crinoids , blastoids, cryozoans, and bryzoans, which were abundant earlier in the Carboniferous.
Freshwater clams first appear along with an increase in gastropod, bony fish, and shark diversity.
• At first glance, it may seem that the marine habitat has grown allowing the diversity of marine life
to increase, but in actuality, the movement of the continents to form one large continental mass
decreased the sea coast area.
• The amount of space available for marine life declined, and the sea levels all over the
world fluctuated because of the presence of two large ice sheets at the southern pole
which suck up large amounts of water and lock it away from the water cycle as ice.
Because so much water is taken out of the water cycle,
• The sea levels drop leading to the mass extinction of shallow marine invertebrates, the
gradual decline of swamps, and the increase in terrestrial habitat. These effects are
reversed when the glaciers start to recede, releasing the water that they had stored as ice
back into the oceans, flooding the swamps again and the floodplains.
• Carboniferous rock formations often occur in patterns of stripes with shale and coal
seams alternating, indicating the cyclic flooding and drying of an area.
Out with the old : Though many spectacular plant forms
dominated the Carboniferous, most of them disappeared
before the end of the Paleozoic. On the left, Neuropteris, a
leaf form associated with the Medullosan seed-ferns. These
early seed plants had fern-like leaves. On the right, terminal
branches from Lepidodendron sternbergii, one of the great
scale trees, most of which went extinct at the Westphalian -
Stephanian boundary in the Late Carboniferous.
In with the new : Many groups that appeared in the
Carboniferous would give rise to groups that dominated the
Permian and Mesozoic. On the left is Amphibiamus lyelli, an
early temnospondyl. These amphibian-like early tetrapods
grew to the size of crocodiles in the Permian and Triassic. On
the right, Lebachia, an early relative of the conifers.
• The uplift of the continents caused a transition to a more terrestrial environment during the
• Swamp forests as well as terrestrial habitats became common and widespread. In the swamp
forests, the vegetation was marked by the numerous different groups that were present.
• Seedless plants such as lycopsids were extremely important in this community and are the primary
source of carbon for the coal that is characteristic of the period. The lycopods underwent a major
• event after a drying trend, most likely caused by the advance of glaciers, during the
Westphalian-Stephanian boundary in the Pennsylvanian period.
• Ferns and sphenopsids became more important later during the Carboniferous, and the
earliest relatives of the conifers appeared.
• The first land snails appeared, and insects with wings that can't fold back such as
dragonflies and mayflies flourished and radiated. These insects, as well as millipedes,
scorpions, and spiders became important in the ecosystem.
• The trend towards aridity and an increase in terrestrial habitat lead to the increasing
importance of the amniotic egg for reproduction. The earliest amniote fossil was the
lizard-like Hylonomus, which was lightly built with deep, strong jaws and slender limbs.
The basal tetrapods became more diverse during the Carboniferous. Fish-like bodies
were replaced with large predators with long snouts, short sprawling limbs and flattened
heads such as temnospondyls, like Amphibiamus shown above. Anthracosaurs (basal
tetrapods and amniotes with deep skulls and a less sprawling body plan which led to
increasing agility) appeared during the Carboniferous and were quickly followed by
diapsids which divided into two groups: the marine reptiles, lizards, and snakes versus
the archosaurs (crocodiles, dinosaurs, and birds). The synapsids also made their first
appearance, and presumably the anapsids did as well, although the oldest fossils for that
group are from the Lower Permian.
Carboniferous localities on this server: (see map above)
Joggins - Located in Nova Scotia, Canada, the site includes
scale trees and early tetrapods.
Mazon Creek - One of the more important and famous
localities, this site in Illinois, USA, is known for its fine
fossils in concretions. Carboniferous in Egypt:-
1-Gebel Oweinate, in the south western corner of the Western
2-Wadi Araba, in the northern part of the
3-Wadi Abu Darag.
4-Um Bogma in Western Sinai.
• Carboniferous: Climate
• Warm and mild climate prevailed over extensive part of the world. Alternation of
seasonal rainfall and periods of aridity.Owing to the long duration of the Carboniferous
period there may have been important climatic fluctuation.
• In some regions it was moist and warm being favourable for the development of tropical
plants which were the origin of Coal seies.
• Towards the end of the period there was local glaciations (glacial in the Gondwana –
• Carboniferous: Orogeney
• Important crustal movements marked the close of the period in Western Europe. As a result of
folding of the rocks, mountains were formed from North- Eastern France to Eastern Germany.
This is regarded as an early phase of so-called Variscan( Hercynian) Revolution.
• At the close of the period chiefly elevation in Britain with much faulting and separation of the
• Accompanying this deformation, extensive lava flows in the Scottish midland valley.
Mainly very much different from the Devonian periods. Some parts of the land emerged
during the Middle Carboniferous in Asia.
• Paleogeography of the Carboniferous
All fossils in the
• Duration: 55 million years.
• Maximum thickness:19,000 feet.
• The Permian Period (from Perm, a Russian province) began approximately 290
million years ago and ended catastrophically some 250 million years ago. The largest
extraterrestrial object ever to strike the Earth ended the Permian Period, and with it the Paleozoic
Era, taking 96% of all species with it .
• Towards the close of Carboniferous time, a period of considerable folding commenced.
• Two main facies could be introduced:
The latter including Red Sandstone & siltstones beds with salt and
• The Permian strata are largely marine in the Lower part, being of
sandstones and shales together with limestone and coal beds.
• In the Upper part, they are shaly with salt beds. The overlying
series are composed of series of Red Sandstones and together with
gypsum beds, mostly non -marine
Formation of Pangaea
During the entire Permian all the world's landmasses
were congregated into one large supercontinent that
scientists call Pangaea, almost bisected by the equatorial
Mammals are in a direct line of descent from the
pelycosaurs. Late in the Permian, some of the pelycosaurs
developed into the ancestors of mammals, the therapsids.
Therapsids were meat-eaters, with mammal-like skulls,
differentiated teeth, and separate nasal openings.
At the close of the Permian, fully 96% of all species were
This included 75% of all amphibian families, and 80% of all
reptile families. While the supposed extraterrestrial impact
may very well have accounted for most of these
annihilations, it is probable that loss of near-shore habitat
with the joining of the continents was also responsible for
The name Permian was given from the Russian Province of Perm. In Europe it consists of red S. St.
marls ,Conglomerate, breccias with limestone and dolomite.
The Permian in Germany:
The Permian outcrops in Germany were divided into two divisions (Days):
1-An upper Zechstein.
2- A lower Rothliegende(Red Sandstone).It is used to call them the Days(two formations) as
opposed by Triassic.
The three divisions in Germany are as follows:
It show a transition between the Stephanian of the Carboniferous and the Red
Sandstone of the next stage.It is known in the localities near the Coal
fields , in Saar, Saxony, Thuringia.
The last Hercynian movement was active. The new land appeared with the deposition of
Conglomerate, red sands similar to those of the Old Red Sandstone was given.There was a great
subsidence produced by the
Hercynian movement followed by a stable period which can be considered as the boundary
between the Primary and Secondary.]
In the depression formed during the Saxonian , lagoons were developed with the deposition of the
a) A lower Conglomerate, followed by
b) Bitumenous shales
c) Zechstein proper with dolomitic limestone including Schizodus obscures, etc.
d) Salt – bearing formation salts were developed due to the dry up of the Zechstein sea . They form
290 to 248 Million Years
Ago• The Permian period lasted from 290 to 248 million years
ago and was the last period of the Paleozoic Era.
• The distinction between the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic is
made at the end of the Permian in recognition of the
largest mass extinction recorded in the
history of life on Earth. It affected many
groups of organisms in many different
environments, but it affected marine
communities the most by far, causing the
extinction of most of the marine
invertebrates of the time.
• Some groups survived the Permian mass extinction in
greatly diminished numbers, but they never again reached
• the ecological dominance they once had, clearing the way
for another group of sea life.
• On land, a relatively smaller extinction of diapsids and
synapsids cleared the way for other forms to dominate,
and led to what has been called the "Age of Dinosaurs".
• Also, the great forests of fern-like plants shifted to
gymnosperms, plants with their offspring enclosed within
seeds. Modern conifers, the most familiar gymnosperms of
today, first appear in the fossil record of the Permian. In all,
the Permian was the last of the time for some organisms
and a pivotal point for others, and life on earth was never
the same again.
• The global geography of the Permian
included massive areas of land and water.
By the beginning of the Permian, the motion
of the Earth's crustal plates had brought
much of the total land together, fused in a
supercontinent known as Pangea. Many of
the continents of today in somewhat intact
form met in Pangea (only Asia was broken
up at the time), which stretched from the
northern to the southern pole. Most of the
rest of the surface area of the Earth was
occupied by a corresponding single ocean,
known as Panthalassa, with a smaller sea to
the east of Pangea known as Tethys.
• Models indicate that the interior regions of
this vast continent were probably dry, with
great seasonal fluctuations, because of the
lack of the moderating effect of nearby
bodies of water, and that only portions
received rainfall throughout the year. The
ocean itself still has little known about it.
There are indications that the climate of the
Earth shifted at this time, and that glaciation
decreased, as the interiors of continents
Subdivisions of the
The chart at left shows the major subdivisions of the
Permian Period. Use the arrows to back to the
Carboniferous, or go forward to the earliest Mesozoic Era,
the Triassic Period.
The Permian Period is part of the Paleozoic Era.
Subdivisions of the
Upper Permian= Thuringian
Middle Permian= Saxonian
Lower Permian= Autunian
• A standard global correlation of the
Permian period has been undertaken
only in recent years (Jin et al., 1994),
since there are difficulties in
correlation, especially within
relatively newer strata. Until recently,
there was little consensus on the
order of strata in the Upper Permian.
Since the upper strata of various
locations lack numbers of fossils,
correlation via index fossils must
involve different fossils that are in
some cases native only to the local
• where they were found, and older
work had to use assumptions
that have changed in more recent
years (Menning, 1995; Jin et al.,
1994). Even though knowledge of
the Permian has increased, study
of stratigraphic correlation still
yields relatively new conclusions
(Jin et al., 1994).
Older classifications relied on the Ural
stratigraphy. An example of a recent effort to
formulate a worldwide stratigraphy of the
Permian period by Jin, et al. (1994) has four
series: the Uralian, the Chihsian, the
Guadalupian, and the Lopingian.
• These epochs include two or three stages
each (ten in all). The names are derived
from local areas -- the Uralian is named for
the Urals, the Chihsian and the Lopingian
are named for Chinese localities, and the
Guadalupian is named for the Guadalupe
Mountains of New Mexico, U.S.A.
• Examples of localities noted for their
Permian strata are found over
several continents (Jin et al., 1994,
Ross and Ross, 1995)
• Urals: This area, for which the Permian
is named (Perm is a region in the Urals),
includes the traditional standard series:
the Asselian (290-282 mya), Sakmarian
(282-269), and Artinskian (269-260 mya);
the Kungurian (260-256 mya), Kazanian
(256-252 mya), and Tatarian (252-248
mya). The standard series work well until
the late Permian, when the paucity of
fossils makes correlations more difficult.
• Southwestern North America: Permian
stratigraphy in North America has its
standard in the Glass Mountains, Texas,
where the strata are classified into the
Wolfcampian (which includes the Nealian
and the Lenoxian) (~295-280 mya), the
Leonardian (Hessian and Cathedralian)
(~280-270 mya), the Guadalupian (Roadian,
Wordian, and Capitanian) (~270-258 mya),
and the Ochoan (~258-250s mya), named for
localities in the area. The Glass Mountains
are part of a larger region of Permian strata
called the Permian Basin, and other areas
of North America also contain Permian
• China: China contains the Mapingian or the
Chuanshanian (which includes the
Zisongian and the Longlinian), and which
corresponds to the Wolfcampian, the
Chihsian (Luodianian and Xiangboan), which
corresponds to the Leonardian,
theMaokouan (Kuhfengian and Lengwuan),
which corresponds to the Guadalupian, and
the Wuchiapingian and the Changhsingian,
which correspond to the Ochoan in the
North American series.
• Permian shale, sandstone, siltstone,
limestone, sands, marls, and
dolostones were deposited by sea-level
fluctuations. The fluctuation cycles can
be seen in the layers of rock (Ross and
Ross, 1995). Only a relative few sites
lend themselves to direct radioactive
dating, so the age of intermediate
strata is often estimated (Menning,
1995). Radiometric dating may be used
for certain sites, but other sites are not
of sufficient quality to permit accurate
dating, and other layers are dated in
between layers where datable sites are
• Permian fossils that have been used
as index fossils include brachiopods,
ammonoids, fusilinids, conodonts, and
other marine invertebrates (Menning,
1995), and some genera occur within
such specific time frames that strata
are named for them and permit
stratigraphic identification through
the presence or absence of specified
Permian localities on this server: (see map above)
Glass Mountains, Texas - The Permian fossils of the Glass Mountains are shallow,
warm-water marine life, like the kinds expected in a modern-day coral reef.
Permian Deposites in Egypt
• In Sinai ( southern part of Sinai)- East of Gulf of Suez.
• Eastern Desert (West of Gulf of Suez and Galala).
• The late Pennsylvanian orogeny which affected parts of central
and western Europe, continued with great force through the
• This was third and last phase of the Variscan revolution
• The Ural mountains were also formed by folding and uplifting
during Permian time. The marginal epeiric sea gradually sank by
the weight of the huge thickness of the Paleozoic deposits, thus
producing a geosyncline. This process near the close of the
Permian, causing the lateral compression of the Paleozoic strata
in an Appalachian Revolution resulting , in highly folded and
• This revolution was accompanied by tremendous Granite intrusions
and some dykes
Paleogeography of the Permian
• At the beginning of the Permian, the sea regressed from many land
tracks as in central Russia, N. Africa and S. America.
• As a results , series of lakes sometimes with local fresh water
condition were formed.
• Red beds consisting of sandstones , shales, marls, salt and gypsum
together with some coal beds were formed in there inland water
• Another featues of special interest is the large amount of igneous
rocks in the form of Lava flows, tuffs and dykes in the lower
Permian, particulary in the British Isles, Germany, France, and the
The Permian Mass Extinction
- Permian Period (286-248 million years ago)
- Fast Facts
- Terrestrial faunal diversification occurred in the Permian
- 90-95% of marine species became extinct in the Permian
• With the formation of the super-continent Pangea in the Permian,
continental area exceeded that of oceanic area for the first time in geological
• The result of this new global configuration was the extensive development and
diversification of Permian terrestrial vertebrate fauna and accompanying
reduction of Permian marine communities
• Among terrestrial fauna affected included insects, amphibians, reptiles (which
evolved during the Carboniferous), as well as the dominant terrestrial group,
the therapsids (mammal-like reptiles). The terrestrial flora was predominantly
composed of gymnosperms, including the conifers.
• Life in the seas was similar to that found in middle Devonian communities
following the late Devonian crisis. Common groups included the brachiopods,
ammonoids, gastropods, crinoids, bony fish, sharks, and
fusulinid foraminifera. Corals and trilobites were also present, but were
• about 248 miThe Permian mass extinction occurred llion years ago
and was the greatest mass extinction ever recorded in earth
history; even larger than the previously discussed Ordovician and
Devonian crises and the better known End Cretaceous extinction
that felled the dinosaurs.
• Ninety to ninety-five percent of marine species were eliminated as
a result of this Permian event. The primary marine and terrestrial
• victims included the fusulinid foraminifera, trilobites,
rugose and tabulate corals, blastoids, acanthodians,
placoderms, and pelycosaurs, which did not survive beyond
the Permian boundary.
• Other groups that were substantially reduced included the
bryozoans, brachiopods, ammonoids, sharks, bony fish,
crinoids, eurypterids, ostracodes, and echinoderms .
• During the Perman there was remarkable variations in the
climatic conditions, from widespread extreme aridity to an
abundance of rainfall, and from tropical heat to cold.
It was not uniform.
• Local aridity is marked by the presence of Red Beds with salt
• Climate was probably damp and moderately hot in parts of
Europeand N. America where coal – seams of the early Permian are
recorded as a continuation to the Pensylvanian conditions..
Speculated Causes of the Permian
• Although the cause of the Permian mass extinction remains a
debate, numerous theories have been formulated to explain the
events of the extinction.
• One of the most current theories for the mass extinction of the
Permian is an agent that has been also held responsible for the
Ordovician and Devonian crises, glaciation on Gondwana.
• A similar glaciation event in the Permian would likely produce
mass extinction in the same manner as previous, that is, by a
global widespread cooling and/or worldwide lowering of sea level.
1-The Formation of Pangea
Another theory which explains the mass extinctions
of the Permian is the reduction of shallow continental
shelves due to the formation of the super-continent
Pangea. Such a reduction in oceanic continental shelves
would result in ecological competition for space, perhaps
acting as an agent for extinction. However, although
This is a viable theory, the formation of Pangea and the
ensuing destruction of the continental shelves occurred
in the early and middle Permian, and mass extinction
not occur until the late Permian.
• A third possible mechanism for the Permian extinction is
rapid warming and severe climatic fluctuations produced
by concurrent glaciation events on the north and south
poles. In temperate zones, there is evidence of significant
cooling and drying in the sedimentological record, shown
by thick sequences of dune sands and evaporites, while in
the polar zones, glaciation was prominent. This caused
severe climatic fluctuations around the globe, and is found
by sediment record to be representative of when the
Permian mass extinction occurred.
• The fourth and final suggestion that paleontologists have
formulated credits the Permian mass extinction as a result
of basaltic lava eruptions in Siberia.
• These volcanic eruptions were large and sent a quantity of
sulphates into the atmosphere.
• Evidence in China supports that these volcanic eruptions
may have been silica-rich, and thus explosive, a factor that
would have produced large ash clouds around the world.
• The combination of sulphates in the atmosphere and the
ejection of ash clouds may have lowered global climatic
conditions. The age of the lava flows has also been dated
to the interval in which the Permian mass extinction
• It was a time of a rapid evolution, great specialization and constant changes .
• The net result was the disappearance of many of characteristics group of the
• The increase of salinity of the enclosed basins led some groups to gradual death.
The Permian was a time of rapid evolution and greatest specialization, and major change in the recorded
of life. In the cut –off seas which under drastic conditions become increasingly saline, the fauna were
restricted and finally were killed off. Some groups evolved steadily into higher types others become
-Foraminifera : Fusulines continued as rock builders.
-Corals : disappearance of tetracorals and first appearance of Hexacorals.
Bryozoa: forming important local reef builders.
Brachiopods:making the greatest bulk of the fauna. Most of the characteristic Paleozoic forms died
out before the end of the Permian.
Echinoderms:rare,Cystoids, Blastoides and many of crinoides group disappeared.
Molluscs : Gastropods and Pelecypods progressed steadily and they replaced by the Braciopods
during the late Paleozoic. Cephalopods flourished in more opened seas and were subjected to rapid
Trilobites: become extinct and died out ( Tetracorals, Cystoid, Blastoids , Grptolites and most of
crinoids became extinct and died out).
Fishes: their remains are largely found in rocks deposited on the land streams.
Amphibia: were much like those of the Pensylvanian.
Reptiles:abundant, their abundance in this period strongly suggest their earlier rapid evolution from
the Pensylvanian Amphibia.
Land Plants : decline of the Carboniferous flora. By the close of the period the great scale trees were
In Southern hemisphere, S. America , Africa and India Permian tongue ferns were well developed , Ex.