Narrative Report on Geologic time scale
Narrative Report on the geologic time scale, where vital information are being presented
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Report on Geologic time scale
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NARRATIVE REPORT FOR THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE
Jason John V. Tabujara, BSEdGS IV
System of chronologic measurement relating to stratigraphy to time that is used by geologist and other earth
The period is the basic unit of geological time in which a single type of rock system is formed. Two or more
periods comprise a geological Era. Two or more Eras form an Eon, the largest division of geologic time. Some periods are
divided into epochs.
The major periods in the geologic history of the Earth are (mya=million years ago):
The Geologic Time Scale
Precambrian: The Precambrian is defined as the time from when the Earth formed (about 4.5 billion years ago,
the earliest-known rocks) until the beginning of the Cambrian period (540 million years ago). The Precambrian used to be
defined as the time from when the Earth's rocks formed until the earliest life forms evolved, but as the date of the earliest
fossils gets earlier and earlier, this definition has also changed.
Hadean Eon: 4.6 to 3.9 billion years ago
“Rockless Eon" - The solidifying of the Earth's continental and oceanic crusts.
Archeozoic Eon (Archean): 3.9 to 2.5 billion years ago
"Ancient Life" The first life forms evolve
Proterozoic Eon : 2.5 billion years ago to 540 mya
*multi-celled, animals appear, including sponges.
*Single supercontinent called Rodinia.
*First multicellular life: colonial algae and soft-bodied invertebrates appear.
The Paleozoic is bracketed by two of the most important events in the history of animal life.
1. Multicellular animals went dramatic diversity explosion
2. Largest Mass extinction of mostly 90% of marine organisms
The Paleozoic is divided into six periods: the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous (in the U.S., this
is divided into the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods), and Permian. Most of these names derive from locations
where rocks of these ages were first studied.
The Paleozoic Era is bracketed by the times of global super-continents. The era opened with the breakup of the world-continent
Pannotia and closed with the formation of Pangea, as the Earth's continents came together once again.
Cambrian Period: "The Age of Trilobites" 540 to 500 mya
Cambria was the Latin name for Wales…
“Age of Trilobites" -The Cambrian Explosion of life occurs; all existent phyla develop. Many marine invertebrates
(marine animals with mineralized shells: shell-fish, echinoderms, trilobites, brachiopods, mollusks, primitive graptolites).
First vertebrates. Earliest primitive fish. Mild climate. The supercontinent Rodinia began to break into smaller continents
(no correspondence to modern-day land masses). Mass extinction of trilobites and nautiloids at end of Cambrian (50% of
all animal families went extinct), probably due to glaciation.
Ordovician Period: 505 to 438 mya
Welsh Celtic tribes; Primitive plants appear on land. First corals. Primitive fishes, seaweed and fungi. Graptolites,
bryozoans, gastropods, bivalves, and echinoids. High sea levels at first, global cooling and glaciation, and much
volcanism. North America under shallow seas. Ends in huge extinction, due to glaciation.
Silurian Period: 438 to 408 mya
Welsh Celtic tribes; The first jawed fishes and uniramians (like insects, centipedes and millipedes) appeared during the
Silurian (over 400 million years ago). First vascular plants (plants with water-conducting tissue as compared with non-
vascular plants like mosses) appear on land (Cooksonia is the first known). High seas worldwide. Brachiopods, crinoids,
Devonian Period: "The Age of Fishes" 408 to 360 mya
The Devonian is named for Devonshire, England.
Fish and land plants become abundant and diverse. First tetrapods appear toward the end of the period. First amphibians
appear. First sharks, bony fish, and ammonoids. Many coral reefs, brachiopods, crinoids. New insects, like springtails,
appeared. Mass extinction (345 mya) wiped out 30% of all animal families) probably due to glaciation or meteorite
Carboniferous Mississippian Period: 360 to 325 mya
The Mississippian is named for the upper Mississippi River valley, not the state of Mississippi, which has very few rocks
of this age
Wide-spread coal swamps, foraminiferans, corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, blastoids, seed ferns, lycopsids, and other
plants. Amphibians become more common.
360 to 280 mya; First winged insects
Carboniferous Pennyslvanian Period: 325 to 280 mya
However, the Pennsylvanian is named for the state of Pennsylvania.
First reptiles. Many ferns. The first mayflies and cockroaches appear.
Permian Period: "The Age of Amphibians" 280 to 248 mya
The Age of Amphibians" - Amphibians and reptiles dominant. Gymnosperms dominant plant life.The continents merge
into a single super-continent, Pangaea. Phytoplankton and plants oxygenate the Earth's atmosphere to close to modern
levels. The first stoneflies, true bugs, beetles, and caddisflies, The Permian ended with largest mass extinction. Trilobites
go extinct, as do 50% of all animal families, 95% of all marine species, and many trees, perhaps caused by glaciation or
Many of the Old life forms had just gone extinct in the Permian Extinction, the world’s largest mass extinction.
Depleted state was followed by an explosion of new life forms such as dinosaurs, mammals, birds and flowering plants
Triassic Period, 248 to 208 mya
The first dinosaurs, mammals, and crocodyloformes appear. Mollusks are the dominant invertebrate. Many reptiles, for
example, turtles, ichthyosaurs. True flies appear. Triassic period ends with a minor extinction 213 mya (35% of all animal
families die out, including labyrinthodont amphibians, conodonts, and all marine reptiles except ichthyosaurs). This
allowed the dinosaurs to expand into many niches.
Jurassic Period, 208 to 146 mya
Many dinosaurs, including the giant Sauropods. The first birds appear (Archaeopteryx). The first flowering plants evolve.
Many ferns, cycads, gingkos, rushes, conifers, ammonites, and pterosaurs. Minor extinctions at 190 and 160 mya.
Cretaceous Period, 146 to 65 mya
Lower: The heyday of the dinosaurs. The first crocodilians, and feathered dinosaurs appear. The earliest-known butterflies
appear (about 130 million years ago) as well as the earliest-known snakes, ants, and bees. Minor extinctions at 144 and
Upper: High tectonic and volcanic activity. Primitive marsupials develop. Continents have a modern-day look. Minor
extinction 82 mya. Ended with large extinction (the K-T extinction) of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, ammonites, about 50 percent
of marine invertebrate species, etc., probably caused by asteroid impact or volcanism.
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The most recent Era of the three major subdivisions of animal history; Also called as the Age of Mammals
65.5 million years ago to present
Sources: University of California Museum of Paleontology, Earth Science (Tarbuck and Lutgens)
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