The Pliocene Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years BP. It is the youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era; the Pliocene is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch. Prior to the 2009 revision of the geologic time scale, which placed the four most recent major glaciations within the Pleistocene, the Pliocene included the Gelasian stage, which lasted from 2.588 to 1.806 million years ago, is now included in the Pleistocene. As with other older geologic periods, the geological strata that define the start and end are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the epoch are uncertain; the boundaries defining the Pliocene are not set at an identified worldwide event but rather at regional boundaries between the warmer Miocene and the cooler Pliocene. The upper boundary was set at the start of the Pleistocene glaciations. Charles Lyell gave the Pliocene its name in Principles of Geology; the word pliocene comes from the Greek words πλεῖον and καινός and means "continuation of the recent", referring to the modern marine mollusc fauna.

These reflect the understanding that these are all new relative to the Paleozoic eras. In the official timescale of the ICS, the Pliocene is subdivided into two stages. From youngest to oldest they are: Piacenzian Zanclean The Piacenzian is sometimes referred to as the Late Pliocene, whereas the Zanclean is referred to as the Early Pliocene. In the system of North American Land Mammal Ages include Hemphillian, Blancan; the Blancan extends forward into the Pleistocene. South American Land Mammal Ages include Montehermosan and Uquian. In the Paratethys area the Pliocene contains the Romanian stages; as usual in stratigraphy, there are many other local subdivisions in use. In Britain the Pliocene is divided into the following stages: Gedgravian, Pre-Ludhamian, Thurnian, Bramertonian or Antian, Pre-Pastonian or Baventian and Beestonian. In the Netherlands the Pliocene is divided into these stages: Brunssumian C, Reuverian A, Reuverian B, Reuverian C, Tiglian A, Tiglian B, Tiglian C1-4b, Tiglian C4c, Tiglian C5, Tiglian C6 and Eburonian.

The exact correlations between these local stages and the International Commission on Stratigraphy stages is still a matter of detail. The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2–3 °C higher than today, carbon dioxide levels were the same as today, global sea level was 25 m higher; the northern hemisphere ice sheet was ephemeral before the onset of extensive glaciation over Greenland that occurred in the late Pliocene around 3 Ma. The formation of an Arctic ice cap is signaled by an abrupt shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic and North Pacific ocean beds. Mid-latitude glaciation was underway before the end of the epoch; the global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas. Continents continued to drift, moving from positions as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current locations. South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene, making possible the Great American Interchange and bringing a nearly complete end to South America's distinctive large marsupial predator and native ungulate faunas.

The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, since warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off and an Atlantic cooling cycle began, with cold Arctic and Antarctic waters dropping temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean. Africa's collision with Europe formed the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean; the border between the Miocene and the Pliocene is the time of the Messinian salinity crisis. Sea level changes exposed the land bridge between Asia. Pliocene marine rocks are well exposed in the Mediterranean and China. Elsewhere, they are exposed near shores. During the Pliocene parts of southern Norway and southern Sweden, near sea level rose. In Norway this rise elevated the Hardangervidda plateau to 1200 m in the Early Pliocene. In Southern Sweden similar movements elevated the South Swedish highlands leading to a deflection of the ancient Eridanos river from its original path across south-central Sweden into a course south of Sweden.

The change to a cooler, seasonal climate had considerable impacts on Pliocene vegetation, reducing tropical species worldwide. Deciduous forests proliferated, coniferous forests and tundra covered much of the north, grasslands spread on all continents. Tropical forests were limited to a tight band around the equator, in addition to dry savannahs, deserts appeared in Asia and Africa. Both marine and continental faunas were modern, although continental faunas were a bit more primitive than today; the first recognizable hominins, the australopithecines, appeared in the Pliocene. The land mass collisions meant great migration and mixing of isolated species, such as in the Great American Interchang

John Walker (officer of arms)

John Riddell Bromhead Walker was a soldier and long-serving English officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Following graduation from Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 2 February 1933, he was appointed to the British Indian Army and the 1st battalion 11th Sikh Regiment on 4 March 1934. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 May 1935; as an Acting Major with the 11th Sikh Regiment, he was awarded the Military Cross in the London Gazette 18 May 1944 for Burma. He was promoted to Major on 1 July 1946, he was granted the rank of honorary Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1949, he was transferred to the reserve list of the Lancaster Regiment, his heraldic career began on 15 October 1947 when he was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary. He held this position until 1954 when he was promoted to the office of Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary to replace Archibald George Blomefield Russell, advanced to the position of Clarenceux King of Arms. In 1968, Walker was advanced to this same office on the death of Sir John Dunamace Heaton-Armstrong.

Walker served as Clarenceux for ten years until his retirement in 1978. He died in 1984 and was buried in the Church of St Benet Paul's Wharf, the religious home of the officers of arms since 1555. Heraldry Pursuivant Herald King of Arms

Sangamon County Courthouse

The Sangamon County Courts Complex, located at 200 S. 9th Street in Springfield, is the county courthouse serving Sangamon County, Illinois. The Complex is made up of two adjacent buildings, one used for county offices and courtroom operations and the other one housing the sheriff's office and county jail. Both buildings have secured entrances/exits, as well as internal security separating the two buildings; the 340,000 ft2 Courts Complex contains offices and support spaces designed to house the operations of 27 separate departments and offices of Sangamon County government. The Complex houses the meeting room of the Sangamon County Board, the county legislative body; the Courts Complex centers on the work of local justice and the judiciary, the complex contains court rooms, court support spaces, the sheriff's office and the county jail. The Sangamon County jail has 314 beds for persons awaiting trail or sentenced to short terms of imprisonment for misdemeanors; the complex was designed by FWAI Architects Inc.

The architectural style is functionalist, with exterior postmodern detailing on the west entrance facade