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refers to the time period including the latter parts of the Carboniferous
The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Devonian Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya , to the beginning of the Permian Period, about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya . The name is derived from the Latin word for coal, carbo. Carboniferous means "coal-bearing"...
and early part of the Permian
The PermianThe term "Permian" was introduced into geology in 1841 by Sir Sir R. I. Murchison, president of the Geological Society of London, who identified typical strata in extensive Russian explorations undertaken with Edouard de Verneuil; Murchison asserted in 1841 that he named his "Permian...
period. Permo-Carboniferous rocks are in places not differentiated because of the presence of transitional fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...
s, and also where no conspicuous stratigraphic break is present.
Permo-Carboniferous time, about 300 million years ago, was a period of great glaciation. The widespread distribution of Permo-Carboniferous glacial sediments in South America, Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, India, Antarctica and Australia was one of the major pieces of evidence for the theory of continental drift
Continental drift is the movement of the Earth's continents relative to each other. The hypothesis that continents 'drift' was first put forward by Abraham Ortelius in 1596 and was fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912...
, and led ultimately to the concept of a super-continent, Pangaea
Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration....
. Glacial activity spanned virtually the whole of Carboniferous and Early Permian time (A.G. Smith, 1997). Toward the end of the Carboniferous, around 290 million years ago, Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...
, the southern part of Pangaea, was located near the south pole. Glacial centres expanded across the continents, producing glacial tillites and striations in pre-existing rocks. The Permo-Carboniferous ice sheet was so extensive that it would occupy a circle spanning 50 degrees of latitude centered on the pole (A.G. Smith, 1997).