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November 13, 2016 Weekly Geology Guess is the Paleocene.

November 11, 2016
Greetings from the Bluff Park Back Porch, way up yonder on Shades Mountain (1,109′) in Alabama:

My discussion on Alabama Geology will continue with the Geologic Time Scale or the Geologic Column and the critters that abide within each pigeon holes.

As with most sciences, especially natural sciences, we love to pigeon hole our data.  Most of the pigeon holes have scientific merit and accuracy.  With the Geologic Time Scale we start with the oldest layers and work upward to the youngest layers.

For some of you this will be new, novel, and maybe heretical.

Expedition Earth: Geological time scale

Cenozoic Era

                            (Age of Mammals and the Age of Birds)

“The Cenozoic Era (pronunciation: /ˌsnəˈzɪk, ˌsɛ/;[1][2] also Cænozoic, Caenozoic or Cainozoic pronunciation: /ˌknəˈzɪk, ˌk/;[3][4] meaning “new life”, from Greek καινός kainos “new”, and ζωή zoe “life”[5]) is the current and most recent of the three Phanerozoic geological eras, following the Mesozoic Era and covering the period from 66 million years ago to present day.

The Cenozoic is also known as the Age of Mammals and the Age of Birds, because of the large mammals and birds that dominated, such as Entelodont, Paraceratherium, Gastornis and Basilosaurus. The extinction of many large Diapsid groups such as non-avian dinosaurs, Plesiosauria and Pterosauria allowed the mammals and birds to greatly diversify and be the predominant fauna, even to the present day.


                        Paleocene Epoch

(This marked the end of the dinosaurs and opened the door to mammals and birds to see who would be at the top of the pecking order)

(formerly part of the Tertiary Period)

“The Paleocene (pronunciation: /ˈpæliəˌsn, ˈpæ, li/[2]) or Palaeocene, the “old recent”, is a geologic epoch that lasted from about 66 to 56 million years ago. It is the first epoch of the Paleogene Period in the modern Cenozoic Era. As with many geologic periods, the strata that define the epoch’s beginning and end are well identified, but the exact ages remain uncertain.

The Paleocene Epoch brackets two major events in Earth’s history. It started with the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous, known as the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary. This was a time marked by the demise of non-avian dinosaurs, giant marine reptiles and much other fauna and flora. The die-off of the dinosaurs left unfilled ecological niches worldwide. It ended with the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. This was a geologically brief (~0.2 million year) interval characterized by extreme changes in climate and carbon cycling.”

The write up in Wikipedia includes a lot of interesting details.

Encyclopedia Britannica


(A good write up is included in Wikipedia)

Alabama Paleocene Period Paleontology and Geology

“The southern part of Alabama has some of the best sections of Tertiary marine fossils found anywhere in the world. Evidence of near-tropical, coastal forests of the Early Tertiary is preserved in layers of lignite (brown coal) that surface in curving bands across the southern counties. Studies of pollen grains preserved in the lignite and in other sediments show that during the middle part of the Tertiary, Alabama’s forests were more like those of today. This change from near-tropical to temperate forests was probably a response to a cooling climate.”

Paleocene Images;_ylt=A0LEVvybKA1Yo2wA8GQPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Paleocene&fr=yhs-befrugal-002&hspart=befrugal&hsimp=yhs-002

>    As some of you will notice, as we go up the geologic column the more complex and numerous life becomes.

>    As with most of my weekly fores into geology, with each topic I could write many papers and dissertations.
Note:  I have intentionally reduced the amount of linked graphics in this email due to the amount of space required and trying to untangle everything the following week has been a mess.


References include:

–    Wikipedia
–    “Lost Worlds of Alabama”, Second Edition, 2013, by Jim Lacefield


Editors Note:  It is the intent of this site to keep this discussion as simple as possible, so as to educate the interested general public and not to discuss with the geology crowd the latest geologic theories and nuances.  Thanks, R


“No copyright infringement intended.
The rights belong to their respective owners”
Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


Author’s Request:  If you see any pictures that you know the source and photographer, let me know immediately.  Thanks!  R

Images have been searched by TinEye Reverse Image Search.


Next time we will venture into the Paleocene Period.


Enjoy the adventure!



Primitive mammals

Cenozoic Mammals

















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