, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 306–314 | Cite as

Environmental changes in the neogene and the biotic response

Marine Geology


Among the abiotic factors that determined via the paleoceanographic processes development and evolution of the oceanic biota in the Neogene, noteworthy are the tectonic, volcanic, climatic and extraterrestrial events. The most important tectonic events of such kind include the subsidence of the Faroe-Iceland Threshold 14–13 Ma ago, the closure of the Tethys Ocean in the east 19–12 Ma ago, the orogenesis in the western Mediterranean region and closure of the Mediterranean Sea (Messinian Crisis) 5.59–5.33 Ma ago, the formation of the Central American Isthmus 6.0–3.5 Ma ago, and the opening of the Bering Strait that occurred (according to different data) in the period of 7.4 to 3.1 Ma ago. The most significant climatic consequence resulted from the formation of the Circum-Antarctic Current, the irregular growth of the Antarctic ice shield, the cooling in the Arctic region 3.2–3.1 Ma ago, and the development of continental glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere approximately 2.5 Ma ago. The variations in the atmospheric CO2 content are correlative with the climatic fluctuations. The entire Cenozoic climatic record reflects the influence of the orbital parameters of the Earth. The Neogene was marked by several significant extraterrestrial events: the fireball falling in southwestern Germany in the middle Miocene 14.8–14.5 Ma ago probably accompanied by enhanced volcanic activity particularly in the rift valley of eastern Africa; the drastically increased influx of interplanetary dust due to the disruption caused by a large asteroid in the late Miocene 8.3 ± 0.5 Ma ago, the fall of a large (>1 km in diameter) asteroid in the Eltanin Fault zone of the Southern Ocean in the terminal Pliocene 2.15 Ma ago; and the explosion of a supernova star, which was probably responsible for the partial extinction of marine organisms at the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition approximately 2 Ma ago.


Miocene Pliocene Neogene Late Miocene Middle Miocene 
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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shirshov Institute of OceanologyRussian Academy of Sciences (IO RAN)MoscowRussia

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