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Carboniferous

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The Carboniferous period, part of the late Paleozoic era, takes its name from large underground coal deposits that date to it. Formed from prehistoric vegetation, the majority of these deposits are found in parts of Europe, North America, and Asia that were lush, tropically located regions during the Carboniferous.

In the U.S., scientists divide the Carboniferous into two parts: the earlier Mississipian (359.2 million to 318.1 million years ago) and the later Pennsylvanian (318.1 million to 299 million years ago).

During the Mississipian, Euramerica, or Laurussia, which included North America, northern Europe, and Greenland, remained separate from the larger, cooler supercontinent of Gondwana to the south. To the east, parts of Asia, including China, were surrounded by warm oceans. While Gondwana became progressively colder as it began another poleward migration, the tropical landmasses remained wet and humid.

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