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Environmental Science

The Cause And Nature Of Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse

The collapse of the carbon forest was a small extinction event that occurred in the Carboniferous about 305 million years ago. It changed considerably the coal forests that spanned areas of America and Europe near the equator then. The result of this event led to the division of forests into “islands,” resulting in a small size and leading, shortly afterward, to the extinction of several species of plants and animals. After the event, the tropical forests of coal formation were sustained in many parts of the world, though their composition and size were transformed. The incident took place at the boundary of Moscow and remained in the initial phases of the Pennsylvanian Kazimovic (Upper Carboniferous). Rainforest growth in carbon landscapes is modified by low energy and high organic anastomosing (twisted) fluvial systems with multiple channels and steady alluvial island erosion. Continuous tree planting has increased swamp forest density (less erosion and movement), woody debris production, and increased complexity and diversity of root structure stability flood.

There are numerous theories about the cause and nature of carboniferous rainforest collapse that may involve climate change. After a slow freezing period of high-frequency changes, Bashkortostan began to dry in the seasonal nature of periods of humidity. From the middle, Pennsylvanian (last Muscovite) started a series of acidification. During the collapse period of the tropical carbon forest, the temperature became colder and the climate drier. This phenomenon is reflected in the geological records of the Earth’s experience of an intense and short ice age. Sea levels fell by 100 meters, and most of southern Gondwana was covered by glacial ice. Cooler, drier climatic conditions do not favor the growth of tropical forests and much of their biodiversity. Tropical forests have been reduced to scattered shrubs; tropical forest islands are mainly confined to more and more separate wetlands. The original biomolecules of the Licopodian rainforest lasted through this first climatic crisis period. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was reduced to one of its global minima in early Permian and Pennsylvania. A subsequent period of global warming has reversed the climate trend. The residual tropical forests, which did not survive the rapidly changing conditions, were eventually destroyed. While the Paleozoic climate was dry again, tropical forests were ultimately replaced by dry-season biomes (World Heritage Encyclopaedia, nd). Although the exact speed and type of collapse are unclear, it is supposed that they happened fairly rapidly in geological terms; most of them may only be a few thousand years ago.

The more water in the depths of the ocean and the more carbon accumulates, the more carbon resembles organic carbon. This could indicate changes in the carbon cycle. An in-depth analysis of the 13C composition of the sedimentary organic substance of the Euramurican carbon sequence reveals that there are significant changes in the 13C key of this time interval. In general, if the organic elements of the sea in this carbon-derived sequences dominate, the 13 values of C are lower compared to higher values when the material of the origin of terrestrial plants is more common. The significance of these results is that the carbon-travel-isotope that has been identified is organic matter, reflecting a change in the transport processes or the depositional environment and not in the global carbon cycle (Davies et al., Sd.).

An integrated Lithostratigraphy, bio and isotopes of carbonates in the Southern Alps a better δ13C of variation at the end of the Permian Carboniferous more extensive study was to create on a limited basis, is carried out. The high-resolution isotopic curves presented are based on 1299 δ13Carb and 396 δ13Corg analyses. Isotope recording of the intact carbon diagenetic sample the Karnischen Alps (Austria) and Karawanken (Slovenia) show high values of δ13C, but the carbon and Perm sequences are the most negative diagenetic alteration of glacioeustáticos changes of rashes at sea level δ13C due to low-level deposits produced by diagenetic progressions during a subaerial exposure (Werner Buggisch, 2015).


Davies, S. et al., n.d. The Carboniferous carbon isotope record from sedimentary organic matter: can we disentangle the carbon cycle?.

Emma M. Dunne, R. A. C. D. J. B. N. B. D. D. C. G. T. L., 2018. Diversity change during the rise of tetrapods and the impact of the ‘Carboniferous rainforest collapse’. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 285(1872).

Werner Buggisch, K. K. M. S. M. J. C. K., 2015. UK IGN > Employees > Section for Geology Late Carboniferous to Late Permian carbon isotope stratigraphy: A new record from post-Variscan carbonates from the Southern Alps (Austria and Italy). Paleogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Volume 433, pp. 174-190.

World Heritage Encyclopedia, n.d. CARBONIFEROUS RAINFOREST COLLAPSE. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 6 March 2018].



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