The Virtual Petrified Wood Museum.  Dedicated to the Exhibition and Educational Study of Permineralized Plant Material
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Paleozoic Drop Down Menu
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Cenozoic Era: 65.5 Million Years to Present
Quaternary Period: 2.6 Ma-Present

The Quaternary Period is the current geologic period of the Cenozoic Era and extends from 2.6 Ma to the present. The Quaternary Period is subdivided into the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs. Quaternary is derived from the Latin term for "by fours" quatern (Borror, 1988, p. 83). The Pleistocene Epoch is defined by repeated periods of glaciation. During this time intense periods of glaciation lasting up to 100,000 years alternated with warmer interglacial periods of 20,000 to 30,000 years (McNamara, 2009, p. 416). Continental glaciers during this time reached latitudes as far as 40 degrees. Many large mammals that flourished during this time went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene around 11, 700 years ago. The Holocene or present epoch represents an interglacial period. Fossils recognizable as human appear during the Quaternary Period. You can explore the epochs of the Quaternary Period by using the drop down menu or by clicking on the image or links below.



Borror, D.J. (1988). Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. California: Mayfield Publishing Company.

McNamara, K. (2009). Quaternary Introduction. In Guerrero, A.G. & Frances P. [Eds]. Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth. New York: Dorling Kindersley.

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