Geologists break this important period down into manageable chunks. The Carboniferous lasted from 359 to 299 million years ago.
The Carboniferous Period
This period extended over 60 million years. It is divided into two series/epochs which are further subdivided into stages/ages. Confusingly the Carboniferous Period has been subdivided in a variety of different ways in the past so many other terms are still in common use. American geologists have traditionally treated the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian as full-blown periods in themselves.
- Pennsylvanian sub-period (323Ma – 299Ma)
- Gzhelian stage (304Ma – 299Ma)
- Kasimovian stage (307Ma – 304Ma)
- Moscovian stage (315Ma – 307Ma)
- Bashkirian stage (323Ma – 315Ma)
- Mississippian sub-period (359Ma – 323Ma)
- Serpukhovian stage (331Ma – 318Ma)
- Viséan stage (347Ma – 331Ma)
- Tournaisian stage (359Ma – 347Ma)
Ma = million years ago