Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Carboniferous Period

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_234

The Carboniferous Period is the fifth period of the Palaeozoic Era. It lasted for 60 million years, from 359 to 299 million years ago. Because the strata are rich in coal (anthracite), the geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips coined this term for the coal-bearing rocks in northern England in 1822. During the Carboniferous Period, the land area started to increase continuously, and extensive forests first occurred on Earth. This period was the first of the three major coal-forming periods. The coal reserves of this period account for more than 50% of the world’s reserves. The Carboniferous System includes the rocks that formed during the Carboniferous Period. In Western Europe and North America, the lower part of the Carboniferous System is composed of marine limestone, whereas the upper portion contains coal-bearing strata that are composed of alternating marine and terrestrial facies. These dual characteristics are very clear, but in Russia, Carboniferous marine facies...

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