Division of the Silurian period
The Silurian period is divided into four epochs (i.e., the smallest division of a period). These are
Llandovery Epoch â€“ It covered 443 million years to 433 million years ago. It is named after the town Llandovery in Wales. It follows the Ordovician-Silurian extinction. Sedimentary rocks like sandstone, shale, mudstone were found.
Wenlock Epoch- It covered 433 million years to 427 million years ago. It is named after the Wenlock edge in England. Sedimentary rocks like mudstone, siltstone, limestone were found.
Ludlow Epoch – It covered 427 million years to 423 million years ago. It is named after the town Ludlow in England. Sedimentary rocks like siltstone and limestone were found.
Pridoli Epoch â€“ It covered 423 million years to 419 million years ago. It is named after a field area in outer Prague. Limestone was the characteristic sedimentary rocks of this epoch.
Evolution of Life during the Silurian period
During the late Ordovician period, the ice age started with the melting of glaciers. Sea levels also dropped. In the Silurian period, the climate became relatively stable, and the temperature was moderately high. The landmass was low glaciers started melting. With this, the sea level rose, and it formed the shallow marine environment of earlier times. The Gondwana island was still settled in South pole but is extended.
These changes helped the organisms to recover from the mass extinction. The first terrestrial plant and animal appeared during the Silurian period.
In the early Silurian, simple lichen started colonizing on the rock surface. The weathering of rocks formed the soil in the shallow water. Bryophytes like moss, liverwort, hornwort appeared. Different species of graptolites appeared. Fishes like Agnatha (class of jawless fish) diversified and flourished. While first known jawed fish and freshwater fishes appeared.
In mid-Silurian, a variety of first vascular plant Cooksonia developed. It was a short, upright plant with branches and vascular tissue for water transport. However, true leaves were absent and so could not perform photosynthesis. Different brachiopod, nautiloids, trilobite,stromatoporoid,corals, clamp,bryozoan ,crinoids ,mollusks, conodont flourished. Coral reefs made its first appearance. It also extended with calcium carbonate depositions. Also first air-breathing terrestrial animals millipedes, centipedes, earthworm, nematodes, and earliest Arachnida appeared during this epoch.
In late Silurian bivalves, cephalopods, sea scorpion became dominant.Sea scorpion were the dominant predators.
End of the Silurian period
The formation of massive mountain ranges marked the end of the Silurian period. With the rising sea level, the landmass was also slowly rising. The continents moved by tectonic plate movement and eventually collided with each other and formed mountain ranges. Three continents Baltica, Avalonia(separated from Gondwana), and Laurencia collided. Towards the end, the climate became warmer. It resulted in the extinction of many marine species like trilobites, brachiopod, bryozoans, bivalves, echinoderms, crinoids, corals, and others.
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