Age – millions of years ago Period – Era Position of continents Environment and life Rock types – some examples
Today (Recent) Quaternary (Cenozoic) • Glacial and Interglacial • Raised beaches – Ballintoy Harbour
• U-shaped valleys – Glenariff
1.6 Neogene (Cenozoic) • North Atlantic continues to open, separating Europe and North America further • Clays and Lignite – Ballymoney
23 Palaeogene (Cenozoic)  palaeogene • Widespread volcanism linked with the opening of the North Atlantic • Basalt – Giants Causeway
• Dolerite – Portrush
65 Cretaceous (Mesozoic)  cretaceous • Deeper seas
• Microscopic marine organisms – coccoliths
• Period ends with a mass extinction
• Chalk (Ulster White Limestone Formation) – White rocks
• Hibernian Greensands Formation – Glenarm
142 Jurassic (Mesozoic)  jurassic • Warm, shallow, subtropical sea
• Ammonites
• Bivalves
• Large bird population
• Dinosaurs (at largest size)
• Mammals
• Lias clay – Larne Foreshore
• Thin limestone beds – Larne Foreshore
206 Triassic (Mesozoic)  triassic •Hot, dry conditions
•Small amounts of plant life
•Ammonites (marine organisms)
•Mammals
• Salt deposits – Carrickfergus
• Mercia Mudstone Group – Larne Foreshore
• Sandstones – Murlough Bay
248 Permian (Palaeozoic) • Arid conditions
• Early seed plants
• Fish
• Reptiles
• Period ends with a mass extinction
• No rock types from this period visible along this part of the coast
290 Carboniferous (Palaeozoic)  carboniferous • Shallow, tropical seas
• Marine organisms flourished
• Thin coal seams – Ballycastle
354 Devonian (Palaeozoic)  devonian • Hot, continental desert
• Development of plants on land
• Evolution of fish in oceans
• Evolution of amphibians
• Old red sandstone succession (conglomerates and sandstones) – Cushendall and Cushendun
417 Silurian (Palaeozoic) • Spore bearing plants
• Coral reefs
• No rock types from this period visible along this part of the coast
443 Ordovician (Palaeozoic) • Trilobites
• Corals
• Molluscs
• Schists – Murlough bay (Dalradian sediments altered)
495 Cambrian (Palaeozoic) • First shelled animals formed in sea • No rock types from this period visible along this part of the coast
545 Precambrian (Proterozoic) • Single celled organisms • Schists – Murlough Bay