Dictionary of Geotourism

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

Cretaceous Period

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_418

The Cretaceous Period is the last period of the Mesozoic Era. It lasted for 80 million years, from 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago. The Cretaceous System includes the rocks which were formed during the Cretaceous Period. The name comes from the chalk cliffs along the English Channel. Chalk is a white, soft, fine calcium carbonate deposit composed of calcareous pleurochrysis and planktonic foraminifera. Plants went through tremendous changes in the late Cretaceous Epoch as angiosperms gradually replaced gymnosperms and became the main phyla of terrestrial plants. Both marine and terrestrial invertebrates flourished, reptiles continued to develop, and birds emerged and developed. However, by the end of the Cretaceous Period, large reptiles (such as dinosaurs) experienced mass extinction due to catastrophic events, ending their 180-million-year rule of the planet. In China, the Cretaceous palaeogeographical pattern was similar to that of the Jurassic Period, while a large part of Tibet,...

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