Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era began 354 million years ago. It lasted for about 64 million years, until 290 million years ago. The name “Carboniferous” came from the large amounts of carbon-bearing coal that was formed during the period.
In the United States, the Carboniferous is divided into two epochs. The Mississipian Epoch is the older third and the Pennsylvanian Epoch is the more recent two-thirds.
Plants Put The Carbon In Carboniferous New plants developed in the warm, humid climate and swampy conditions of this period. Large trees covered with bark and huge ferns grew in the middle Carboniferous swamps. The plants gave off so much oxygen that the air had much more oxygen in it. This allowed plants and animals to reach sizes that are not known in today’s atmosphere. When the huge trees and ferns died, they fell into waters that did not have bacteria to help them decompose. These plants formed peat beds. Eventually, with the weight of layers and layers, these peat beds turned to coal. See samples of Coal Shale Fern Fossils from the Pennsylvanian Epoch for sale.