A map of Earth as it appeared during the Eocene epoch, c. 40 Ma.
Name formalityFormal
Alternate spelling(s)Palaeogene, Palæogene
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitPeriod
Stratigraphic unitSystem
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionIridium enriched layer associated with a major meteorite impact and subsequent K-Pg extinction event.
Lower boundary GSSPEl Kef Section, El Kef, Tunisia
36°09′13″N 8°38′55″E / 36.1537°N 8.6486°E / 36.1537; 8.6486
Lower GSSP ratified1991[3]
Upper boundary definition
Upper boundary GSSPLemme-Carrosio Section, Carrosio, Italy
44°39′32″N 8°50′11″E / 44.6589°N 8.8364°E / 44.6589; 8.8364
Upper GSSP ratified1996[4]
Atmospheric and climatic data
Mean atmospheric O2 contentc. 26 vol %
(130 % of modern)
Mean atmospheric CO2 contentc. 500 ppm
(2 times pre-industrial)
Mean surface temperaturec. 18 °C
(4 °C above modern)

The Paleogene Period (IPA: /ˈpli.ən, -li.-, ˈpæli-/ PAY-lee-ə-jeen, -⁠lee-oh-, PAL-ee-; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene) is a geologic period and system that spans 43 million years from the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Neogene Period 23.03 Mya. It is the first part of the Cenozoic Era of the present Phanerozoic Eon. The earlier term Tertiary Period was used to define the time now covered by the Paleogene Period and subsequent Neogene Period; despite no longer being recognized as a formal stratigraphic term, "Tertiary" still sometimes remains in informal use.[5] Paleogene is often abbreviated "Pg", although the United States Geological Survey uses the abbreviation "Pe" for the Paleogene on the Survey's geologic maps.[6][7]

During the Paleogene period, mammals continued to diversify from relatively small, simple forms into a large group of diverse animals in the wake of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that ended the preceding Cretaceous Period.[8]

This period consists of the Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene epochs. The end of the Paleocene (56 Mya) was marked by the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, one of the most significant periods of global change during the Cenozoic, which changed oceanic and atmospheric circulation and resulted in the extinction of numerous deep-sea benthic foraminifera and on land, a major extinction of mammals. The term "Paleogene System" applies to the rocks deposited during the Paleogene Period.

  1. ^ Zachos, J. C.; Kump, L. R. (2005). "Carbon cycle feedbacks and the initiation of Antarctic glaciation in the earliest Oligocene". Global and Planetary Change. 47 (1): 51–66. Bibcode:2005GPC....47...51Z. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.01.001.
  2. ^ "International Chronostratigraphic Chart" (PDF). International Commission on Stratigraphy.
  3. ^ Molina, Eustoquio; Alegret, Laia; Arenillas, Ignacio; José A. Arz; Gallala, Njoud; Hardenbol, Jan; Katharina von Salis; Steurbaut, Etienne; Vandenberghe, Noel; Dalila Zaghibib-Turki (2006). "The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Danian Stage (Paleocene, Paleogene, "Tertiary", Cenozoic) at El Kef, Tunisia - Original definition and revision". Episodes. 29 (4): 263–278. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2006/v29i4/004.
  4. ^ Steininger, Fritz F.; M. P. Aubry; W. A. Berggren; M. Biolzi; A. M. Borsetti; Julie E. Cartlidge; F. Cati; R. Corfield; R. Gelati; S. Iaccarino; C. Napoleone; F. Ottner; F. Rögl; R. Roetzel; S. Spezzaferri; F. Tateo; G. Villa; D. Zevenboom (1997). "The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Neogene" (PDF). Episodes. 20 (1): 23–28. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/1997/v20i1/005.
  5. ^ "GeoWhen Database – What Happened to the Tertiary?".
  6. ^ Federal Geographic Data Committee. "FGDC Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization" (PDF). The National Geologic Map Database. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  7. ^ Orndorff, R.C. (20 July 2010). "Divisions of Geologic Time—Major Chronostratigraphic and Geochronologic Units" (PDF). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  8. ^ Meredith, R. W.; Janecka, J. E.; Gatesy, J.; Ryder, O. A.; Fisher, C. A.; Teeling, E. C.; Goodbla, A.; Eizirik, E.; Simao, T. L. L.; Stadler, T.; Rabosky, D. L.; Honeycutt, R. L.; Flynn, J. J.; Ingram, C. M.; Steiner, C.; Williams, T. L.; Robinson, T. J.; Burk-Herrick, A.; Westerman, M.; Ayoub, N. A.; Springer, M. S.; Murphy, W. J. (28 October 2011). "Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg Extinction on Mammal Diversification". Science. 334 (6055): 521–524. Bibcode:2011Sci...334..521M. doi:10.1126/science.1211028. PMID 21940861. S2CID 38120449.