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Interval of geologic time 359.2–299 million years ago, marked by great changes in world geography. All the landmasses drew closer together as a result of tectonic plate movements. The supercontinent Gondwana occupied much of the Southern Hemisphere. By the end of the period, present-day North America, Greenland, and northern Europe were also linked to Gondwana. Siberia and China (including Southeast Asia) remained individual continents located at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. During this period, swamp forests became widespread, and enormous coal deposits formed. Plants made great advances in adapting to complex forest environments, and vertebrates underwent extensive evolution. Amphibians became widespread and diverse, and reptiles appeared for the first time and rapidly adapted to many habitats.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Carboniferous Period, visit Britannica.com.
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