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January 1, 2016 Weekly Geology Guess of the Holocene Epoch

December 31, 2016
Happy New Year

With this email report we have finally reached the end of the current geologic time.  So we will have to wait on the next  generation of academic geologists or the next global catastrophe.  I wonder if we will be listed as one of the extinct mammals?

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
                        Holocene Epoch

The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today).

“The Holocene (pronunciation: /ˈhɒləˌsn, ˈh/)[1][2] is the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene[3] at approximately 9,700 BCE.[4] The term “Recent” (usually capitalised) has often been used as an exact synonym of “Holocene”, although this usage is discouraged in 21st-century science.”  I still call it Recent?!

The write up in Wikipedia includes a lot of interesting details.
>    Continental motions due to plate tectonics are less than a kilometre over a span of only 10,000 years. However, ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about 35 m (115 ft) in the early part of the Holocene. In addition, many areas above about 40 degrees north latitude had been depressed by the weight of the Pleistocene glaciers and rose as much as 180 m (590 ft) due to post-glacial rebound over the late Pleistocene and Holocene, and are still rising today.[15]
>    “Climate has been fairly stable over the Holocene.”  And as usual, The Devil is in the Details
>    “Animal and plant life have not evolved much during the relatively short Holocene, — “
>    “This extinction of American megafauna has been explained — “
>    Human Beings at the top and their increasing practice of warfare.
>    Holocene extinction — active and on going.
Alabama Quaternary Period Paleontology and Geology
“During the Quaternary, sea level fluctuated, as glaciers grew and melted in the northern part of North America. Although these glaciers never extended to Alabama, they impacted both the climate and biodiversity of the state. Forests of northern conifers such as spruce covered northern Alabama, while mixed, drought-tolerant forests and grasslands dominated the south. Fossils of huge animals such as mammoths, mastodons, and giant ground sloths are routinely discovered in streams and sinkholes across the state, testifying that these huge beasts called Alabama home during this time.”
Pleistocene River Terrace Deposits.  by Jim Lacefield.
Alabama Ice Age Mammals include the giant sloth, mammoth and mastodon, sabertooth cat, bison, dire wolf, camels, giant armadillos, giant beavers, horse, just to name a few.
Holoocene Images

Attached images show some of the critters that have gone extinct recently.

>    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.
>    As usual, I scramble to just stay ahead of my audience.
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.


Our next geologic misadventure will be the  cataclysmic Missoula Floods.


We had 2 suggestions for topics, one being plate tectonics (thanks Glenn — we will dive into that topic next); and the other as a personal request from Vern, the Missoula Floods.

Enjoy the adventure!

















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