Tectonics and Climate
At the beginning of the Mississippian, shallow seas covered large
parts of the continents. Large amounts of limestone
were deposited in these shallow seas, preserving the skeletons of
diverse marine invertebrates. Also at this time, Earth was in a greenhouse climate state with relatively warm temperatures across a
wide range of latitudes.
The uplifting of the continents in the Mississippian reduced the area
covered by inland seas and resulted in less available
space for marine life. As Gondwana continued to move
across the South Pole during the Late Mississippian, temperatures
cooled and ice began to form in great sheets. As more water was frozen
into these ice sheets, sea levels dropped and terrestrial habitats
in turn increased. The globally warm climate became cooler later in the Mississippian.
The supercontinent of Gondwana continued to drift northward and collide
with Euramerica during the Mississippian. The forces in this collision
began to build the Appalachian and Variscan Mountains. The merged
continents formed a nearly continuous landmass that straddled the
equator. In the latest Paleozoic and early Mesozoic the combined Euramerica
and Gondwana would become the western part of the supercontinent Pangea.
Present-day China was still represented by some isolated subcontinental
blocks not yet sutured to Pangea.
Life in the Seas |
Tetrapods and Other Life on Land
Mississippian Tectonics and Climate
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