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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

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.
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

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

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 runners Better eye sight

Cud-eaters Hoofs replace toes

High crowned teeth that continue to grow

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

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