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Re: The "K" of "K-T" (was: Re: FAQs)

On Thu, 4 Aug 1994 tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov wrote:

> >>  > What does the K-T in K-T boundary mean?
> >> 
> >> Kretaceous-Tertiary, that is it is an abbreviation of the
> >> statement that the extenction marks the boundary between the
> >> Cretaceous and Tertiary periods.
> >A bit of clarification: K is used for Cretaceous because C is used
> >for Cambrian.
> Actually, Cambrian is a "C" with a short transverse line through the
> middle.  Just plain "C" is for the Carboniferous, a period which in the
> U.S. is normally divided into two periods, Misissippian and Pennsylvanian.

Which leads to my next question:

Why are the two periods called Misissippian and Pennsylvanian?
(I presume Carboniferous refers to a time when carbon (petro) formations 
were laid down?)

Tracy <monaghan@cac.washington.edu>
Information Highway Worker
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington