Definition of Phanerozoic in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the eon covering the whole of time since the beginning of the Cambrian period, and comprising the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras.

    The Phanerozoic began about 570 million years ago and covers the period in which rocks contain evidence of abundant life in the form of macroscopic mineralized fossils

    Compare with Cryptozoic
    • ‘Beneath the Møre Basin, developed on a Phanerozoic domain, the lithospheric thickness is 125 km, decreasing to values of 80-60 km beneath the Cenozoic rifted domain.’
    • ‘Non-symbiotic corals have been an important constituent of reefs since at least the beginning of the Phanerozoic eon.’
    • ‘The Indian plate rocks include late Archaean, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic continental margin sequences.’
    • ‘There seems to be no evidence of low palaeolatitude glaciation in the three Phanerozoic glacial episodes.’
    • ‘So far, about 17 macrofossil - rich hydrocarbon seep systems have been recognised in the Phanerozoic strata of Jurassic to Pliocene age.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Phanerozoic The Phanerozic eon or the system of rocks deposited during it.


Late 19th century: from Greek phaneros ‘visible, evident’ + zōion ‘animal’ + -ic.