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2: A Brief History of Earth

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    Based on An Introduction to Geology, Chapter 8: Earth History

    The circle starts at 4.6 billion years ago, then loops around to zero.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Geologic time on Earth, represented circularly, to show the individual time divisions and important events. Ga=billion years ago, Ma=million years ago.

    Entire courses and careers have been based on the wide-ranging topics covering Earth’s history. Throughout the long history of Earth, change has been the norm. Looking back in time, an untrained eye would see many unfamiliar life forms and terrains. The main topics studied in Earth history are paleogeography, paleontology, and paleoecology and paleoclimatology—respectively, past landscapes, past organisms, past ecosystems, and past environments. This chapter will cover (briefly) the origin of the universe and the 4.6 billion year history of Earth. It will act as a guide, linking out to other chapters, case studies, and sections in this book.

    This page titled 2: A Brief History of Earth is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Callan Bentley, Karen Layou, Russ Kohrs, Shelley Jaye, Matt Affolter, and Brian Ricketts (VIVA, the Virginia Library Consortium) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.