Talk:Mississippian (geology)

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Vandalism reverted[edit]

Blanked aparently pointless content on talk page, added reference to main article Astaroth5 23:47, 2 December 2005 (UTC)


We need a redir to Mississippian culture. I'll make one. -- Rob C (Alarob) 19:09, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Since there's a Mississippian (disambiguation) page, I just pointed to that. | Pat 15:41, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

copy and paste on page were needed didn't want to mess up page[edit]

The Early Carboniferous or Mississippian sub-period lasted for about 40 million years. During that time animal life, both vertebrate and invertebrate, consolidated its position on land the way plant life did during the Devonian. Euramerica and western Gondwana drifted northwards and moved closer together. This movement caused a lot of mountain building - the Varisca-Hercynian Orogeny - in Europe.

The American geologist Alexander Winchell formally proposed the name Mississippian in 1869 for the Lower Carboniferous strata (mostly limestones from limy mud laid down in a shallow sea) that are extensively exposed along the Upper Mississippi River drainage region. In 1891 H. S. Williams divided the "Carboniferous or Pennine" System into Pennsylvanian and Mississippian. In 1911 Ulrich divided the Mississippian into Waverleyan and Tennesseean systems.

The term Mississippian is used by American geologists and paleontologist but did not catch on in Europe or elsewhere, where Carboniferous was retained. The Mississippian and the "Lower Carboniferous" are not actually equivalent. Nevertheless some recent fiddling with boundaries has allowed the two to be matched and the Mississippian became a formal international term for the Early (Lower) Carboniferous, encompassing the Tournaisian, Viséan, and Serpukhovian Ages.

Geography of the Mississippian

ATW041223. Map public domain. No rights reserved. An enormous, 2400 x 1200 pixel, unlabelled version of this map is available (free) in all the usual formats, including a Photoshop® .psd file with each topographical type on a different layer. That one is 9 MB. Email

The Mississippian saw mountain building in what is now western North America. A glaciated Gondwana nears southern Euramerica and continues to collide with ancestral Europe, resulting in the Hercynian Orogeny and great mountains in southern Europe.

Mississippian Stratigraphy Period/Epoch Age Faunal Stages When began Duration Pennsylvanian (late Carboniferous) Bashkirian Kinderscoutian 322.8


(early Carboniferous) you are here! Serpukhovian Alportian Chokierian Arnsbergian Pendleian 325.6 328.3





Viséan Brigantian Asbian Holkerian Arundian Chadian 336 339.4 342.8 345 349.5 17 Tournaisian Ivorian Hastarian 353.8 362.5 13 Devonian D3 Famennian

Mississippian Life Marine Biota Arthropods, corals, bryozoa, crinoids, and mollusks flourished in warm shallow seas. Echinoderms - especially Crinoids were extremely numerous. Trilobites were much reduced in numbers, and confined to a single superfamily, the Proetoidea (also spelled Proeteacea). The last of the dendrite graptiloids died out. The first of the giant fusulinid foramnifers (marine amoebas) appear, but these are still tiny and insignificant

Cephalopoda Of the nautiloid (palcephalopoda) cephalopods only the nautilida flourished. The giant straight-shelled Rayonnoceras, up to perhaps 6 meters in length, was the last of the Actinocerida. The bulbous-shelled Oncocerida also died out at this time. Many types of Ammonoid cephalopods evolved, mostly of the simple goniatiatic suture pattern. Especially in northwest Europe, their fossils are of great stratigraphic importance. The first ceratic ammonoids appear, with a more complex suture pattern.

Vertebrates Sharks, actinopterygian, and sarcopterygian fish were all numerous and diverse. The Actinopterygii were mostly of the "paleonisciforms."

Freshwater and Terrestrial Biota There are major differences between Late Devonian and early Mississippian vegetation. Areas that were previously forest were now dominated by shrubby r-selected plants, mostly pteridosperms less than 2 meters in height. In other words weeds. Only later did lycopsid and calamite trees reappear, paving the way for the giant forests of the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) period.

The climate, originally hot and dry, became cooler and wet later in the Mississippian period. Plants became important ground cover in this lush new environment, producing shelter for invertebrates which in turn provided food for early tetrapods.

Terrestrial invertebrates are poorly known, but it is likely that they consisted of mites, scorpions and other arachnids, millipedes, arthropleurids, collembolans (springtails), and an increasing diversity of litter-reducing insects (e.g. blattoids). Some Eurypterids of this time may have been partially terrestrial.

This was the period of greatest tetrapod evolutionary radiation. The early generations of aquatic Ichhyostegids were replaced by various parallel lineages of labyrinthodont and Lepospondyl amphibians. All the major ancient tetrapod groups seem to have appeared at this time. the majority were probably semi-aquatic, but early terrestrial forms and proto-reptiles appeared as well. The fresh-water Rhizodontiform fish - tetrapod "uncles" that like lungfish were capable of breathing air on occasion - were the super predators of the swamps, streams and lakes, with Rhizodus attaining 5 to 6 meters in length.

The Mississippian terrestrial food chain seems to have been much more primitive and less efficient then that of today. The major link between plant productivity and animal consumers seems to have been, as in the Devonian, through detritivorous arthropods. Insect herbivory was only just beginning at the end of the Mississippian sub-period, and tetrapod herbivory unknown. Most insects and arachnids scrounged for food in leaf litter, and served as the primary food source for the early terrestrial tetrapods.

ref: Anna K. Behrensmeyer, John D. Damuth, William A. Dimichele, and Hans-Dieter Sues, Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time : Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals

 habitat river, pond and swamp 

(semi or fully aquatic) water margins (mixed terrestrial & amphibious) lowlands and flood plain (fully terrestrial) type of creature

Tetrapod Bioprovinces During this period there seems to have been only a single tetrapod province, although that may be because all known tetrapod fossils of this age are from tropical Euramerica; there are none known further than 5 degrees north or 20 degrees south of Viséan paleoequator. It is not known whether this is because the rest of the world was uninhabitable to animal life at the time (due to the increasing polar ice age conditions) or simply because no other localities have yet been discovered.

Crassigyrinus a very primitive eel-like aquatic ?tetrapod Viséan to Serpukhovian of Europe length 2 metres —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Epoch ?[edit]

I don't believe that the Mississippian is officially considered a Series or Epoch by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. I think it is usually termed a Subsystem (Sub-Period) of the Carboniferous. The series or epochs of the Carboniferous are the Early (Lower), Middle, and Late (Upper) Mississippian, and the Early (Lower), Middle, and Late (Upper) Pennsylvanian. In other words there are six epochs of the Carboniferous. ICS Paleozoic strata list - Parsa (talk) 16:03, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Template and text[edit]

The template and text do not correspond with the 2004 and more recent decisions of the ICS. The Mississippian and Pennsylvanian are subsystems of the Carboniferous. The epochs are: Lower Mississippian, Middle Mississippian, Upper Mississippian, Lower Pennsylvanian, Middle Pennsylvanian, and Upper Pennsylvanian. The Upper Pennsylvanian is comprised of the Kasimovian and Gzhelian Stages.

- Parsa (talk) 21:02, 3 May 2009 (UTC)


This strata is getting major attention in KS/OK for oil exploration... any point in mentioning that? (See: Also, there's a ton of good information on this discussion page about flora and fauna during the Missippian period, is that appropriate to be worked into the article? No one ever commented yay/nay. Alphachimera (talk) 22:59, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Requested move: Mississippian → Mississippian age[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. And Mississippian (disambiguation) moved to the primary location, Mississippian, though no prejudice against a new RM there discussing if there should be a primary topic as I acknowledge the consensus was fairly weak. Jenks24 (talk) 14:02, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

MississippianMississippian age – This is not the primary topic of the term "Mississippian"; evidently that's Mississippian culture. Despite being at the base name, this article was viewed only 10,984 times in the last 90 days, compared to 40,403 for Mississippian culture (the other topics at Mississippian (disambiguation) are basically partial title matches).
I don't think Mississippian culture needs to be moved - it's very commonly called "Mississippian culture"- but it's definitely the primary topic of "Mississippian", so that should point to the culture article per WP:PRIMARYREDIRECT.
"Mississippian age" is very common on Google Books, but if there's a better way to distinguish it, that's fine with me. Cúchullain t/c 19:06, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

No idea about "Lower Carboniferous". As to the dab page, I don't think so, since the culture is the primary topic. Mississippian Railway Cooperative is a partial title match that only got 751 views in the last three months. Mississippian can refer to Mississippi but it's less common; for instance the disambiguation page was viewed only 319 times in the last three months. I had to go through 12 pages of Google Books results before I found anything that intended anything other than the Mississippian culture or the geological age (a novel by Mary Noailles Murfree called "The Fair Mississippian"), and the culture is solidly more common. It looks to me like the decisive primary topic.--Cúchullain t/c 13:54, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Mmm. Well not sure what to think. I certainly don't object to (a) the proposed move itself which seems to be all benefit and no down side. I'm still thinking (b) what to do with the remaining baseline "Mississippian", under normal circumstances moving the dab into the baseline would allow dab bot to notify and editors to correct ambiguities. A lot of links are templates which can fix dozens of pages with one edit. (c) someone perhaps needs to reconsider whether what appear to be US names for whole-planet ages are the right way to address geology in an international encyclopedia. In ictu oculi (talk) 22:55, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
  • The Mississippian Period is well established in North American geology along with the Pennsylvanian. In other parts of the world the Carboniferous is not as distinctly divided and therefore not usually subdivided. Given that it seems a rename to Mississippian Period as well established in North American geology would be appropriate to distinguish from Mississippian Culture with Mississippian becoming the dab page. Or possibly Mississippian Subperiod per ICS. Pennsylvanian could also be treated similarly if there be confusion there. Vsmith (talk) 01:32, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
No strong objection from me, though I'd register a preference against "Mississippian Period" since that can also refer to the period when the Mississippian culture existed[1] (I realize it's already a redirect). Additionally, "Mississippian age" is more common at least on Google Books than either "Mississippian Period" or "Mississippian Subperiod", but I don't know if there's a preference in the relevant literature.--Cúchullain t/c 13:54, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support "Mississippian" should be a disambiguation page, considering the people of Mississippi are also Mississipians, the Native American culture, as a reference to the U.S. state, concerning the river. -- (talk) 04:34, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support but move Mississippian (disambiguation) here. No primary topic among the three. Red Slash 20:28, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
    • Also, hurray!! I get to agree with In ictu oculi about moving a disambiguation page to the base name! I'm excited!! By the way, see Oklahoman for an example of another U.S. state adjective (this one unambiguous) that just redirects to the state's article. ~90 people a month click on that link and get the state, so it's not unheard of. I think that is enough to wipe out a primary topic here. Red Slash 20:33, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move: Mississippian age → Mississippian (geology)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Armbrust The Homunculus 08:49, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Mississippian ageMississippian (geology) – Three reasons:

  1. In the context of stratigraphy, "age" is a term with a specific meaning that is incorrect to use here; the Mississippian time period is an epoch, not an age. (ref: International Chronostratigraphic Chart)
  2. In stratigraphy, "Mississippian" (and all other such appellations) refers to both a time period and a rock layer (or set of layers), and different terms are used for each; in the Mississippian case, the terms are epoch for the time period, and series for the rock layers. The use of one of these terms in the article title inappropriately excludes the other. (ref: International Chronostratigraphic Chart)
  3. As discussed in another recent move proposal for this page (which was approved), there is a significant anthropology topic at Mississippian culture. The title "Mississippian age" could too easily be misconstrued as referring to the time period during which the Mississippian culture flourished, rather than to the geologic time period.
In sum: Using "(geology)" rather than "age" as a disambiguator provides the required specificity and conciseness, while avoiding the problems described above. — Jaydiem (talk) 18:23, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. As I said at Talk:Pennsylvanian#Requested move, this makes good sense. In the previous RM here, I picked "Mississippian age" because it was more common in Google Books than "Mississippian period", "Mississippian subperiod", "Mississppian epoch", etc. However, if there's a consensus in the field we should defer to that. And additionally, if this article is to cover the Mississppian series rock layer (quite common in the sources[2]) then a solution that works for both the time period and rock layer would be preferable.--Cúchullain t/c 18:35, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, better disambiguator since the anthropological use might also be associated with an "age". bd2412 T 03:08, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

European character?[edit]

I'd take issue with this statement: In Europe, the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian are one more-or-less continuous sequence of lowland continental deposits and are grouped together as the Carboniferous system, and sometimes called the Upper Carboniferous and Lower Carboniferous instead. I don't know the detail across continental Europe but in Britain and Ireland (which constitute a part of Europe), the lower Carboniferous='Mississippian' is generally represented by marine limestones, unconformably overlain by deltaic deposits. Some tweaking required I think. cheers Geopersona (talk) 09:08, 5 June 2016 (UTC)