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December 11, 2016 Weekly Geology Guess of the Pliocene Epoch

December 10, 2016

Hey:    We are about to run out of geologic column for the time being.

I need fresh geologic ideas or a rerun of old ideas to continue with these weekly geologic rants.

Mineralogy + Petrology + Geochemistry = Pretty and Novel Minerals and rocks.

Geomorphology = Land Forms.   Structural Geology = Faults and Folding.

Stratigraphy = the study of layered rocks.

What For and Why to Study this stuff??? = “The Good Life from the Ground”  “If it ain’t grown, it has to be mined.”  R


Geology Images:;_ylt=A0LEVijOQ0xYL7UA1XgPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Geology&fr=yhs-befrugal-002&hspart=befrugal&hsimp=yhs-002




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.

                        Pliocene Epoch


(formerly part of the Tertiary Period)

“The Pliocene (pronunciation: /ˈpləˌsn/;[1][2] also Pleiocene[3]) Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58[4] million years BP.”

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


“During the Pliocene, continents continued to drift toward their present positions.

Although oceans continued to be relatively warm during the Pliocene, they continued cooling > leading up to the Arctic and Antarctic Ice Caps.  The change to a cooler, dry, seasonal climate had considerable impacts on Pliocene vegetation, reducing tropical species world-wide.

Both marine and continental faunas were essentially modern, although continental faunas were a bit more primitive than today. The first recognizable hominins, the australopithecines, appeared in the Pliocene.

The land mass collisions meant great migration and mixing of previously isolated species. Herbivores got bigger, as did specialized predators.

The Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary had a considerable number of marine extinctions. A supernova is considered a plausible but unproven candidate for the marine extinctions, as it may have caused a significant breakdown of the ozone layer.”

> A synopsis from


(A good write up is included in Wikipedia)

Alabama Tertiary 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.”

Pliocene Images;_ylt=A0LEVv4KM0ZY1CYAyTIPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Pliocene&fr=yhs-befrugal-002&hspart=befrugal&hsimp=yhs-002#id=17&

>    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 Pleistocene Period.


Enjoy the adventure!















Glyptodon Asper

Glyptodon, Asper






pliocene-terrorbirdpromo-primeval-wikia-com (from the movie)






pliocene, Giant Hyena


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