Old Earth Ministries Online Earth History Curriculum

Presented by Old Earth Ministries (We Believe in an Old Earth...and God!)

This curriculum is presented free of charge for use by homeschooling families.

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Chapter 13 - The Neogene Period

Lesson 62: The Neogene Period Overview


      The Neogene is a geologic period and system starting 23.03 0.05 million years ago and lasting either until today or ending 2.588 million years ago with the beginning of the Quaternary (more on this uncertainty below).  The Neogene Period follows the Paleogene Period of the Cenozoic Era. Under the current proposal of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the Neogene would consist of the Miocene and Pliocene epochs.
   The terms Neogene System (formal) and upper Tertiary System (informal) describe the rocks deposited during the Neogene Period.

Chapter 13: The Neogene Period


 Lesson 62 - Neogene Overview

 Lesson 63 - Miocene Epoch

 Lesson 64 - Pliocene Epoch

 Lesson 65 - The Grand Canyon, Part 1

 Lesson 66 - The Grand Canyon, Part 2 



Neogene Fast Facts


Started:  23.03 Ma

Ended:  2.588 Ma

Duration:  20.442 Million Years

Preceded By: Paleogene Period

Followed By: Quaternary Period



     The Neogene covers roughly 20.4 million years. During the Neogene mammals and birds evolved considerably. Most other forms were relatively unchanged. Some continental motion took place, the most significant event being the connection of North and South America in the late Pliocene. Climates cooled somewhat over the duration of the Neogene culminating in continental glaciations in the Quaternary period that follows.


     The Neogene traditionally ended at the end of the Pliocene Epoch, just before the older definition of the beginning of the Quaternary Period.  Many time scales show this division. However, there is a movement amongst geologists (particularly Neogene Marine Geologists) to also include ongoing geological time (Quaternary) in the Neogene, while others (particularly Quaternary Terrestrial Geologists) insist the Quaternary to be a separate period of distinctly different record. The somewhat confusing terminology and disagreement amongst geologists on where to draw what hierarchical boundaries, is due to the comparatively fine divisibility of time units as time approaches the present, and due to geological preservation that causes the youngest sedimentary geological record to be preserved over a much larger area and to reflect many more environments, than the older geological record. By dividing the Cenozoic Era into three (arguably two) periods (Paleogene, Neogene, Quaternary) instead of 7 epochs, the periods are more closely comparable to the duration of periods in the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras.

       For the purpose of this course, the Quaternary Period, which begins 2.588 Ma, will be regarded as distinct and separate from the Neogene.  The bulk of the information during the Neogene will be discussed in the chapters on the individual epochs.  In addition, the Grand Canyon, which is a topic of great importance in the creation science debate, began forming during the Neogene Period.  The final chapter is devoted to this geologic feature.

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Source: Neogene Period