Talk:Carboniferous

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Nomenclature[edit]

Added Pennsylvanian and Mississippian labels to stage names to show to which epoch stages belong; lowercased several "early" and "late" Carboniferous because early and late Carboniferous are not formal subdivisions (Early and Late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian are, however). --Geologyguy 15:50, 30 April 2006 (UTC)


Aren't these subdivisions valid only in the USA? 220.236.210.230 09:08, 5 November 2006 (UTC) Ludo
Yes, this article is highly USA-centric. Where, for instance, is the Westphalian, possibly the most significant Carboniferous epoch in terms of European economic geology! Pyrope 12:53, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Pennsylvanian and Mississippian are the internationally designated names for the two epochs of the Carboniferous. In the USA, Pennsylvanian and Mississippian are treated as full periods, but, appropriately, Wikipedia does not and simply makes note of the US usage. In this article on Carboniferous, it is entirely appropriate to use them, correctly, as the international Epoch designations. As for Wesphalian, it is connon usage in parts of Europe, but the internationally accepted Age designations are those listed here, Bashkirian, Moscovian, etc. If someone wants to add information about the Westphalian, in terms of its value and where it fits as an informal element of the formal time scale, that would be great - but it does not belong in the listing of the formal subdivisions. Cheers Geologyguy 15:33, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Now, I am quite prepared to be wrong, but I am sitting here reading the above, in a university geology dept lab, sitting beside a big poster called the 'Geological Timetable' (published by Elsevier). It says that the Carboniferous period is split into Upper/Late, Middle and Lower/Early series/epochs. It also says that the Eurasian general names for the periods within it are stephanian, westphalian, namurian, visean and tournaisian, and that the North American general names are pennsylvanian and mississippian. Moscovian etc are listed under the Eurasia local/regional heading. So, is the poster wrong? It certainly doesn't claim anything 'international' about Pennsylvanian and Mississipian.Ewan carmichael 17:59, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the Elsevier chart is out of date with respect to the International Geologic Time Scale published by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (2004-05), which is the reliable source agreed to by Wikipeidans for geological nomenclature. That does not mean that the usage is applied uniformly around the world, and there are still plenty of geologists around who use old terminology, at least in casual usage. So, strictly speaking, Europeans should be using Mississippian and Pennsylvanian as the epochs of the Carboniferous -- and Americans should use the name "Carboniferous" for the full period name and Moscovian etc for the stages. When you get to stage names, usage tends to be local anyway - but, at the Period name level, that's the now internationally accepted nomenclature. But I don't think you'll find americans not using Mississippian and Pennsylvanian as period names any time soon, nor Europeans using them as epochs of the Carboniferous. It is just a matter of common usage vs the official standard. There never had been an international standard until recently. But, that is what WP uses. Cheers Geologyguy 18:25, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Breaking news; the Carboniferous is no more! The ICS have promoted the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian to full period status. They don't seem to have updated their website yet, though, and a quick search didn't turn up a reference - someone may wish to search for one. Verisimilus T 15:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
What a pain (at least as far as us updating a bunch of articles go!). Next you know, the International Whatever will make Pluto a planet again. Cheers Geologyguy (talk) 15:36, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I have been looking through the ICS pages and they do not confirm this to be the case. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 12:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The link to the 2004 ICS chart is broken. More recent alternative is http://www.stratigraphy.org/upload/ISChart2008.pdf but I don't know whether this is the latest or best link. (And the Carboniferous is hanging in there!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.111.35.14 (talk) 21:23, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I really think the USA-centric divisions are totally out of place. A lay person cannot make head nor tail of this, it's quite surreal.84.92.169.252 (talk) 01:26, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Can I suggest that we replace or extend the existing table so as to include dates based on http://www.stratigraphy.org/upload/ISChart2009.pdf and remove much of what currently appears under the heading of 'Subdivisions' as it is both difficult to understand what many of the entries refer to and is too cumbersome within the article as presently structured. The scope of the text needs to be global though referring to the Carboniferous sequences in Europe and North America which have been important in terms of the naming of parts. There may even be a case for a separate (linked) article on the subdivisons of the Carboniferous - perhaps focussing on the history of its subdivision - a tangled story and one which serves to confuse with so many once-competing subdivision names in textbooks and on the web. Any comments? cheers Geopersona (talk) 06:32, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Rocks and Coal[edit]

Despite its title suggesting wider coverage, this section is almost exclusively devoted to the coal-bearing rocks of the period whereas (and I'm speaking largely from a UK perspective here) the Carboniferous Limestone and the Namurian Millstone Grit are of equal or greater importance when considered from the point of view of the modern landscapes they create even if they have not been of such economic significance - though a lot of limestone is quarried. Scotland has an important suite of volcanic rocks in the Carboniferous too. I may get around to adding something unless someone else wants to take this on.
Geopersona (talk) 08:56, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to suggest that the following article be added to the reference section, with a short extract under "Rocks and Coal": (http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/06/29/3534160.htm?)CMOS222 (talk) 07:16, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Lack of neutrality[edit]

If this encyclopedia is international, why does it feature a map of the paleo-USA? I think it should be removed and the person who posted it should really rethink his editing policy... I don't see any maps of wales or GB in the article about Cambrian period nor any germany, swiss or france maps in the Jurassic period article. I don't think the idea would even cross any of those people's minds... This article is USA centered and should not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sinekonata (talkcontribs) 22:32, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

18 September 2010 and this article still lacks neutrality.'--deltabaryon 04:23, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is made by people like us - we can change that situation. Of course, getting around to doing it is another thing! cheers Geopersona (talk) 20:30, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

What?[edit]

What does "Other life forms - None" suppose to mean?

That phrase doesn't appear in the article. Mikenorton (talk) 14:25, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Carboniferous-Permian date[edit]

Per "Snelling Chronology of the Geologic Record" 1985 best estimate for the date was 286+/-5Ma-ago (pp 114-117). Most all-Carboniferous Webb sights use this date. Query of atleast one sight resulted in issue of a tentative correction to the ICS 299Ma-ago time scale. I have found no explanations to the change to 299Ma-ago from the widely publicized 286Ma-ago which to my reckoning started about 10 years ago. Many sights to include museums use 286, even USGS has that date in many pages recently updated last year. This is a request for references as well as general comments.Morbas (talk) 04:56, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

According to Gradstein, Ogg & Smith 2004, [1], in the section on the Carboniferous (page 238), the 299±1.0 Ma date for the top of the system, comes from the U-Pb dating for the youngest population of zircons derived from four samples of tuffaceous marls taken from the Asselian-Gzhelian transition. Do you have a reference that calls either the dates or the stratigraphic position of the samples into question? Mikenorton (talk) 08:24, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Improving this and sibling articles[edit]

Please see comment at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Geology/Periods#Re-visiting_Periods cheers Geopersona (talk) 20:45, 21 November 2010 (UTC)


Paleo-Pacific islands?[edit]

Over the past 200Myr, the Americas have obducted over ancient seafloor. And, North America has "swept up" numerous "accreted island arcs", e.g. the Intermontane & Insular terrains of the Pacific northwest region. Ergo, those accretions originally resided far out to sea, in the middle of the ancient paleo-Pacific ocean (evidently on the Farallon plate, east of what is now the east Pacific rise Mid-Ocean Ridge). For example, the Insular islands are thought to have arisen circa 330Mya. Perhaps ancient paleo-Pacific islands ("mini continents") should be depicted, on reconstructed earth maps, from the Carboniferous period? 66.235.38.214 (talk) 07:06, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

oxygen concentration and density of the atmosphere[edit]

The statement about a 35% concentration of oxygen resulting in an increase in density of 1/3 did sound implausible, but was correctly attributed to the source, David Beerling's 2007 book The Emerald Planet. I therefore undid the revert, and have updated the reference. Nevertheless it is sufficiently weird to need checking out. Beerling attributes the observation to the following article: Rayner, JMV (2003) Gravity, the atmosphere and the evolution of animal locomotion. pp. 161-183 IN: Evolution on planet Earth:the impact of the physical environment. Ed by LJ Rothschild and AM Lister, Academic press Amsterdam ISBN 978-0123884893. I have no access to this at the moment. If anyone can help verify that is what JMV Rayner actually said about the relationship between O2 concentration and atmospheric density it would be a useful contribution. Plantsurfer (talk) 16:51, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

This paper by R Dudley discusses this and says "The predicted value of air density at the peak of the late Paleozoic oxygen pulse (285 MYa) is about 1.56 kg/m3, an increase of 29% relative to the present sea-level value of 1.21 kg/m3." In an earlier paper Dudley states "Concomitant with this reduction in carbon dioxide concentration, the oxygen concentration of the late Paleozoic atmosphere may have risen to as high as 35 % (Berner and Canfield, 1989; see Fig. 1), a remarkable value compared with the 20.9 % of the contemporary atmosphere. This elevation of oxygen partial pressure occurred against the background of a constant nitrogen partial pressure (Hart, 1978; Holland, 1984), yielding an increased total pressure of the atmosphere." (my bolding) This perhaps makes it a little more believable. Mikenorton (talk) 20:05, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

In a 35% O2 environment many things could spontaneously catch fire that don't today. That would be self regulating then, I think 35% must be about tops. Ealtram (talk) 16:56, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

The atmospheric content of oxygen also reached their highest levels in history[edit]

Would not this say "in the geological history of the planet"? History by itself begins with humans writing it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soparamens (talkcontribs) 22:51, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Sub-periods[edit]

It's my understanding that Mississippian and Pennsylvanian are now formally recognised globally (through the decisions of the ICS) as sub-periods of the Carboniferous - a situation which applies equally to America and the rest of the world. Should we not therefore adjust the text to reflect that fact ie American geologists having formerly treated them as periods (in preference to Carboniferous) and non-American geologists now assimilating those terms into their own working, alongside 'Carboniferous'. Of course the 'non-standard' practice of individual geologists and indeed the written legacy will ensure that the two American-originated terms 'Mississippian period' and 'Pennsylvanian period' will continue to appear for some considerable time to come just as will 'Tertiary' - each term having through international agreement, been superseded. Continuing informal use in all cases should be properly acknowledged: comment invited. cheers Geopersona (talk) 06:44, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

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Cause of Carboniferous rainforest collapse[edit]

Lbdearmas recently changed the cause of the Carboniferous rainforest collapse from "climate change" to "environmental change". I reverted that based on my reading of the cited source. Lbdearmas has now reverted back to his preferred version. The source says "In cratonic areas of North America (where the effects of tectonics can be excluded), an abrupt shift to more arid climates has been linked to rainforest collapse (DiMichele et al., 2009, 2010), though the exact causal mechanism remains uncertain". It could be changed to "aridification" I suppose, although that is a change in climate. Mikenorton (talk) 21:28, 30 November 2017 (UTC)