About the geologic time scale

Origins the a geologic time scaleThe an initial people who necessary to recognize the geological relationships of different rock systems were miners. Mining had been of advertising interest since at the very least the days of the Romans, but it wasn"t until the 1500s and also 1600s the these efforts produced an interest in local rock relationships.

You are watching: Which interval of time is the longest?

By noting the relationships of different rock units, Nicolaus Steno in 1669 defined two basic geologic principles. The an initial stated that sedimentary rocks room laid under in a horizontal manner, and also the second stated that younger rock systems were deposit on height of older absent units. Come envision this latter principle think of the great of paint on a wall. The oldest layer was placed on very first and is in ~ the bottom, when the newest class is in ~ the top. Secondary concept was introduced by James Hutton in 1795, and later emphasized by Charles Lyell in the at an early stage 1800s. This was the idea that herbal geologic processes were uniform in frequency and magnitude transparent time, one idea well-known as the "principle that uniformitarianism."

Horizontal absent layers space beautifully exhibited at the Painted Hills Unit of john Day Fossil Beds nationwide Monument in Oregon and at Cedar Breaks nationwide Park in Utah.

Steno"s principles allowed workers in the 1600s and early 1700s to begin to acknowledge rock successions. However, because rocks to be locally explained by color, texture, or even smell, comparisons in between rock order of different areas were often not possible. Fossils detailed the chance for workers to correlate in between geographically distinctive areas. This contribution was possible because fossils are found over large regions the the Earth"s crust.

For the next major contribution come the geologic time scale we revolve to william Smith, a surveyor, canal builder, and also amateur geologist from England. In 1815 Smith produced a geologic map the England in i m sorry he successfully demonstrated the validity that the rule of faunal succession. This rule simply stated that fossils are found in rocks in a very definite order. This principle led rather that complied with to usage fossils to specify increments within a relative time scale.

About the geologic time range divisionsThe geologic background of the earth is damaged up into ordered chunks of time. From biggest to smallest, this hierarchy includes eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages. All of these are presented in the part of the geologic time scale displayed below.

Eon Era Period Epoch Age
Phanerozoic Cenozoic Paleogene Oligocene Chattian

The Phanerozoic Eon to represent the time during which the bulk of macroscopic biology — algae, fungi, plants and animals — lived. When first proposed as a department of geologic time, the beginning of the Phanerozoic (542.0 million year ago)* was believed to coincide through the start of life. In reality, this eon coincides with the appearance of animals that advanced external skeletons, prefer shells, and also the rather later animals that formed internal skeletons, such as the bony elements of vertebrates. The time prior to the Phanerozoic is usually referred to as the Precambrian and also is usually divided into the three eons shown.

See more: Suzanne Can Read 1 Page In 3 Minutes How Many Pages Can She Read In 5 Hours ?

The Phanerozoic is subdivided right into three significant divisions: the Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and also Paleozoic Eras. The "-zoic" suffix comes from the source "zoo," which method animal. This is the very same root as in the indigenous zoology and zoological park (or zoo). "Cen-" way recent, "Meso-" way middle, and "Paleo-" means ancient. These departments reflect major changes in the ingredient of old faunas, every era being well-known by its domination by a details group of animals. The Cenozoic has sometimes been referred to as the "Age the Mammals," the Mesozoic the "Age the Dinosaurs," and the Paleozoic the "Age of Fishes." but this is one overly simplified view, which has some worth for the newcomer but can be a little bit misleading. For instance, other teams of animals lived throughout the Mesozoic. In addition to the dinosaurs, animals such as mammals, turtles, crocodiles, frogs, and countless arrays of insects likewise lived on land. Additionally, there were countless kinds of plants life in the previous that no longer live today. Old floras walk through great changes too, and also not always at the exact same times that the pet groups changed.

References and also resources

Berry, W.B.N. 1987. Expansion of a primitive time scale: based upon organic evolution. Amendment edition. Blackwell scientific Publications, Palo Alto. 202 pp.