In detail



The Karbon describes an approximately sixty million year period of geological history, which began about 359 million years ago. Scientists divide the carbon today in the two subsystems Mississippium and Pennsylvanium, to each of which several stages are counted. The name is attributed to the British paleontologist and geologist William Daniel Conybeare and his colleague William Philips, who introduced the term in 1822. Conybeare and Philps refer to the naming of the fact that come from this era, the today still mined hard coal deposits. Carbon comes from the Latin word "carbo", which means "coal" means.


In the Carboniferous, very different climatic conditions prevailed on the earth. While warm to hot temperatures and high humidity determined the weather in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere, over the course of the Carboniferous period, large-scale glaciations gradually returned. Especially in the southern part of Gondwana formed huge ice masses and extensive glacier areas inland. From the Carboniferous for the first time strong seasons-dependent temperature changes are known.


The mild temperatures of the northern hemisphere led to the formation of large-scale coal marshes in the forests near the equator, caused by the spread of shallow seas, rising sea levels and consequent flooding. The distribution of land masses was largely preserved in the Carboniferous. The Carboniferous, however, is significant as an era in which it came to large mountain folds thanks to intense tectonic activity. From this developed in western and central Europe the low mountain ranges of Germany, France and Poland as well as the Sudeten and that arch which extends from Ireland to the central plateau of France. The Appalachians in North America were also formed in the Carboniferous.

Flora and Fauna (plants and animals):

To this day, countless fossils have been preserved from land-dwelling plants that originate from the Carboniferous. Also, the vast worldwide deposits of coal, which were formed from the plant remains, testify that the land masses in the Carboniferous were already covered by a varied and dense vegetation. The Bärlappgewächse are considered the first group of plants that was characterized by a large biodiversity. Today, the scientists are aware of over two hundred species of bearberry plants that have already spread in the Carboniferous. Many of the representatives were trees with woody stems that reached heights of over forty meters and formed huge tropical rainforests. Horsetails and ferns dominated the vegetation in the Carboniferous.
Due to the rapid spread of land-dwelling plants that used photosynthesis for energy, the oxygen content in the air rose to over 35 percent. This favored the development of giant insects, millipedes and arachnids. Some dragonflies living in the Carbonifer reached wing spans of well over half a meter. After the amphibians, which conquered the land masses in the Devonian period, the first reptiles appeared in the Carboniferous like armor furrows, which could become three meters long. After the extinction towards the end of the Devon, where many fish fell victim, many new species developed among the marine life. Ray fins spread not only in the oceans, but also in fresh water. However, after the floods, the shallow seas slowly receded in the Upper Carboniferous, which again led to the mass extinction of many marine species.