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Earth History GEOL 2110. The Cenozoic Era The Modern World Emerges Climate and Life. Major Concepts.

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Earth History GEOL 2110

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Earth history geol 2110

Earth History GEOL 2110

The Cenozoic Era

The Modern World Emerges

Climate and Life

Major concepts

Major Concepts

  • Greenhouse conditions that prevailed in the Cretaceous continued into the Early Cenozoic. But dramatic cooling episodes began in the late Eocene. This appears to be due to changes in ocean circulation as Pangea continued to break apart.

  • This climate change resulted in a dramatic change in the biosphere which change from tropical jungles in the early Cenozoic to grasslands, savanahs, and temperate forests in the Late Cenozoic.

  • After the Cretaceous extinctions of the dinosaurs, mammals saw an explosive radiation . The change over from jungles to grass lands also caused a change from leaf-eating to grazing mammals with more speed.

Summary of the cenozoic

Summary of the Cenozoic


Climate change in the cenozoic

Climate Change in the Cenozoic

Methane Degassing Event

Degassing of methane hydrates in early eocene

Degassing of Methane Hydrates in Early Eocene

USGS map of known and suspected methane hydrate deposits

Seismic profile off

North Carolina

3000 m

Methane Plumes

Degassing of methane hydrates in early eocene1

Degassing of Methane Hydrates in Early Eocene

Deep-sea plume of methane escaping from the sea floor

Climate change in the cenozoic1

Climate Change in the Cenozoic

The Great Eocene-Oligocene Cool Down

Earth history geol 2110

The Great Eocene -Oligocene

Cool Down

Separation of Australia and SA from Antarctica triggers Glaciation and Major Extinction of Warm-climate Species

Climate change in the cenozoic2

Climate Change in the Cenozoic

Mid-Miocene Cool Down

Mid miocene cool down 15 ma

Mid-Miocene Cool Down (15 Ma)

Arctic – Atlantic Connection Established


20-15 Ma

Cool down continues into the pliocene and into today

Cool Down Continues into the Pliocene and into Today

Climate change in the cenozoic3

Climate Change in the Cenozoic

Climate change affects the biosphere

Climate Change Affects the Biosphere

Warm, lush forests/jungles of the Eocene give way to ….

Temperate grasslands and savannas of the Miocene

Mammalian evolution

Mammalian Evolution

“In the Late Cretaceous, no mammal was larger than a house cat. By the Eocene (40Ma) all modern orders of mammals had evolved with some the size of a rhinoceros or elephant”

Adaptation to the mid cenozoic climate

Adaptation to the Mid-Cenozoic Climate

Longer –limbed runnersBetter eye sight

Cud-eatersHoofs replace toes

High crowned teeth that continue to grow

The gondwanan continents natural laboratories of speciation

The Gondwanan ContinentsNatural Laboratories of Speciation

Ecological convergence

Ecological Convergence

Great american interchange when migration was north to south

Great American InterchangeWhen Migration was North to South

South Americans

Isthmus established in Mid-Pliocene (4Ma)

North Americans

Fig 15 51b

Fig. 15.51b

Earth history geol 2110

NO CLASS on MONDAYNext LectureWEDNESDAY!The Pleistocene EpochThe Ice AgeQUIZ onChapter 16p. 465-485

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