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23.3 – Cenozoic Era - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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23.3 – Cenozoic Era. Cenozoic Era. Began about 65 million years ago Present Era About 1.5% of Earth’s history Continents haven’t changed much Just a little closer to each other at the start of this Era Time of increased tectonic activity Mountain ranges formed Alps & Himalayas.

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Cenozoic era
Cenozoic Era

  • Began about 65 million years ago

    • Present Era

    • About 1.5% of Earth’s history

  • Continents haven’t changed much

    • Just a little closer to each other at the start of this Era

  • Time of increased tectonic activity

    • Mountain ranges formed

    • Alps & Himalayas

  • Dramatic changes in climate

  • At times, continental ice sheets covered 1/3 of earth

    • Various species became extinct and others appeared

  • Mammals become dominant life-forms

    • Age of Mammals

  • Divided into 2 periods

    • Tertiary

      • Time before last Ice Age

    • Quaternary

      • Includes present

  • Each period divided into Epochs


  • As Australia and Antarctica split, worldwide cooling began

    • Caused by change in ocean currents

    • Previously warm water flowed from Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans to moderate Antarctica’s temperature

  • Once split, Antarctica was isolated around South Pole

    • Cold current began to flow

    • Permanent ice cap grew during Oligocene

Miocene warming
Miocene Warming

  • Climate warmed up again

    • Ice cap began to melt

    • Ocean flooded North America

  • Trend reversed in middle of Miocene

    • Set stage of Ice Ages

Ice ages
Ice Ages

  • Late Pliocene to Pleistocene

  • Ice covered much of Northern Hemisphere

  • Glaciers advanced and retreated at least four times

    • Ohio and Missouri Rivers mark southernmost point of glaciers

    • Glaciers carved our lakes and valleys we see today

Mountain building
Mountain Building

  • Erosion wore down Rocky Mountains but uplift continued

  • Volcanism returned at the end of the Eocene

Subduction in the west
Subduction in the West

  • Oceanic plate subducted under Pacific Northwest

    • Plate completely disappeared

    • Cascade Mountains uplifted

  • North American plate began to move against Pacific Plate

    • Transform Boundary that created San Andreas Fault

Basin range province
Basin & Range Province

  • Created by North American moving against Pacific Plate

    • Southwestern part of United States

    • Hundreds of parallel mountains

  • Formed as stress in crust pulled it apart

Continental collisions
Continental Collisions

  • Final breakup of Pangaea

  • Some continents separated while others collided

    • Africa colliding with Eurasia built the Alps

      • Eliminated Tethys Ocean that once separated Eurasia and Gondwana

      • Remnants can be found in 4 bodies of water in Europe

    • India crashed into Asia to form Himalayan Mountains

Tectonic forces
Tectonic Forces

  • Scientists think Earth is in a relatively warm phase

  • Future climate will become cooler

  • Tectonic forces continue to shape earth

  • In about 250 million years, tectonic forces will largely eliminate the Atlantic Ocean and once again form a supercontinent

Cenozoic life
Cenozoic Life

  • Marine organisms survived mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous

    • Populated oceans during Cenozoic Era

  • Forest began to dominate land

  • Grasses appeared as climate cooled

    • Diversification of many new mammals resulted

Oligocene epochs
Oligocene Epochs

  • Climate continued to get drier and cooler

    • Favored growth of grasses and cone-bearing and hardwood trees

  • Earlier types of mammals became extinct

  • Larger species flourished

    • Deer, pigs, horses, camels, cats, & dogs

Ice age
Ice Age

  • Climate began to cool and new animals evolved

    • Mammoth

    • Saber-toothed cat

    • Modern Humans – Homo Sapiens

Baby mammoth
Baby Mammoth




  • Bipedal locomotion

  • First bipedal humanlike primates appeared about 6 million years ago during the Late Miocene

  • Earliest modern humans appeared about 195,000 years ago

  • Migration was influenced by Ice Age

    • Bering Strait was exposed and Humans likely walked across to North America

Pleistocene epochs
Pleistocene Epochs

  • Several periods of glaciations

    • Animals had special characteristics that allowed them to endure the cold

    • Other animals moved to warmer regions

    • Less-adaptable species became extinct

  • Fossils of early ancestors of humans appear

    • Hunters which led to extinction of many large mammals

Holocene epochs
Holocene Epochs

  • Includes present

    • Began when last ice age ended

    • As ice sheets melted, seas rose and coastlines took shape

  • Great Lakes formed

  • Modern humans developed agriculture and began to make tools

In class assignment homework
In-Class Assignment/Homework

  • 23.3 Cenozoic & Review WKT