Carboniferous Swamp

Artwork by Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Characteristic of the Carboniferous period (from about 360 million to 300 million years ago) were its dense and swampy forests, which gave rise to large deposits of peat. Over the eons the peat transformed into rich coal stores in Western Europe and North America. The name "Carboniferous" refers to this coal.

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