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Earth History GEOL 2110. The Mesozoic Era Cretaceous Trangression And Mesozoic Life. Major Concepts. A major transgression in the Cretaceous created a Great Interior Seaway where great accumulation of marine and non-marine sediment were deposited in the Great Plains

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Earth history geol 2110

Earth History GEOL 2110

The Mesozoic Era

Cretaceous Trangression

And Mesozoic Life

Major concepts
Major Concepts

  • A major transgression in the Cretaceous created a Great Interior Seaway where great accumulation of marine and non-marine sediment were deposited in the Great Plains

  • Climate in the Cretaceous was uniformly warm due to a lack of polar ice caps, an abundance of water surface, large volcanic eruptions

  • After the Permo-Triassic extinction, radiation of marine life was driven by reactions of species to predatation.

  • Synapsid reptiles of the Triassic gave way to dinosaurs during the Jurassic and Cretaceous

  • Flowering plants (angiosperms) bloomed in the mid-Cretaceous and supplied a rapidly reproducing supply of food to the dinosaurs

  • The mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous was not as abrupt as first described, suggesting a non-impact cause

Great inland seaway the last epicontinental sea
Great Inland SeawayThe Last Epicontinental Sea

Cretaceous seaway rock types

Alluvial Fan Conglomerate

Cretaceous Seaway Rock Types

Deltaic SS and Coal

Chalk Carbonate

Deltaic SS and Marine Shale

Black Shale

Cretaceous chalk deposits accumulation of carbonate micro organism

Calcareous ooze

Cretaceous Chalk DepositsAccumulation of Carbonate Micro-organism

White Cliffs of Dover

Carbonate Ooze


Chalk of


Carbonate Microfossils

Deposits along the eastern shore of the cretaceous seaway
Deposits along the Eastern Shore of the Cretaceous Seaway

Lignite and

Fine Sandstone

Weathered Archean


Cretaceous paleoclimate
Cretaceous Paleoclimate

Unlike the Permian, globe

seemed uniformly warm

Humid (rare evaporites)

No glacial deposits

Extensive water coverage promoted solar heating

Cretaceous black shales evidence of uniformly warm ocean waters
Cretaceous Black ShalesEvidence of Uniformly Warm Ocean Waters

Organic –rich muds due to :

- Rapid deposition of C

- Rapid mud deposition

- O-poor deep waters*

* Oxygen is more soluble in cold water leading to vigorous circulation of cold, dense oxygenated water in the deep ocean when temperature is strongly zoned. Not the case when oceans are uniformly warm

Pierre Shale

Cretaceous volcanism
Cretaceous Volcanism

Deccan Flood Basalts

Ontang–Java Oceanic Plateau

Mesozoic marine life
Mesozoic Marine Life

After the Permo-Triassic Extinction

Bryozoans, Brachiopods, Rugose and Tabulate Coral, and Crinoids give way to:

Bivalves, Gastropods, Mollusks, Modern Coral Crustaceans, Cephlapods, Echoniderms, Diverse Fish and Swimming Reptiles


Mesozoic marine life1
Mesozoic Marine Life

Bivalves Dominate

Rudistid clams


Mesozoic marine life ammonites the index fossil of the mesozoic
Mesozoic Marine LifeAmmonites – the index fossil of the Mesozoic

Mesozoic marine life micro organisms
Mesozoic Marine LifeMicro-organisms

Siliceous Diatoms



Mesozoic marine life2
Mesozoic Marine Life

Mososaurs, plesiosaurs, teleost fish, ammonites, turtles ----

Mesozoic Land Life

The Land Before Time

Flowering plants evolve
Flowering Plants Evolve

Rapid regeneration provided ample food supply for dinosaurs

Pollinating insects (moths and bees) become important partners

The cretaceous tertiary extinction half of life is exterminated
The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction~ half of life is exterminated

Evidence for a meteor impact
Evidence for a Meteor Impact

Volcanic Glass Spherules



Next lecture the cenozoic quiz on chapter 15
Next LectureThe CenozoicQuiz on Chapter 15