Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 23

Geologic Time

An Introduction

Linda Kennedy, Department of Geography, UNCG, July 2011

Geologic Time
theres just so much of it!
Age (millions) Era Cenozoic Mesozoic Period Quaternary Tertiary Cretaceous Jurassic Triassic Paleozoic Permian 2 66 144 208 245 286

Earth is how old?


Our planet formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago (4,500,000,000). Geologists divide this immense length of time into progressively smaller (and more manageable) units of time using fossils, radiometric dating, and rock sequences. We will discuss the major characteristics of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras.

320
360 408 438 505 570

Pennsylvanian
Mississippian Devonian Silurian Ordovician Cambrian

4,500

Precambrian

Geologic Time
theres just so much of it!

History written in stone


Evidence from rocks allows geologists:
To identify the geological processes that resulted in the formation of each rock.
http://www.abdn.ac.uk http://news.nationalgeographic.com http://events.ucr.edu

To reconstruct plant/and or animal life prevalent during the formation of rocks.


http://dinobase.gly.bris.ac.uk

To reconstruct atmospheric/climatic conditions and changes through time.


http://uts.cc.utexas.edu http://nsidc.org

Geologic Time
theres just so much of it!

It is very difficult for humans to conceptualize a time frame as large as 4,500,000,000 years. To help we will imagine that Earth formed at 9:00 am this morning and it is now only10:00 am. What has occurred on planet Earth during the past hour?

Present

The Precambrian Era


4.5 billion 570 million years ago

Precambrian 9:00 9:53

The Precambrian Era


4.5 billion 570 million years ago

Most of the past hour 53 minutes is known as the Precambrian era. Earths crust formed at approximately 9:01 but much of it has been recycled or altered from its original state (metamorphosed). Precambrian rock in North Carolina is located in the western portion of the state, in the Blue Ridge Mountains and includes granites, gneisses, and schists. Granite is magma that cooled deep in the crust and schist and gneiss are examples of rocks that have been heated and pressurized, altering their original form. Life during the Precambrian included single-celled, and simple multi-celled organisms.

The Precambrian Era


4.5 billion 570 million years ago

Banded iron is believed to have formed when oxygen released by blue green algae combined with iron present in ancient ocean waters to form iron oxide precipitates that settled to the ocean floor.
http://www.eps.mcgill.edu

Stromatolites are dome shaped mineral formations built by microbes. They continue to survive today in the waters around Australia.
Fossil stromatolites are one of the most common forms of fossil life identified in Precambrian rocks.

http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/paleochron/03_e.php

http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/paleochron/03_e.php

The Precambrian Era


4.5 billion 570 million years ago Rock formed during the Precambrian is a valuable resource in North Carolina
Mount Airy, Surry Co. The worlds largest open faced granite mine. The granite formed when magma cooled deep in the crust. Overlying rock has since been eroded away, exposing the granite.

Mica

http://ncpedia.org/symbols/rock

North Carolina is the nations top producer of mica, a mineral used in a variety of industries.
http://www.minfind.com

The Paleozoic Era


old life 570 245 million years ago

Paleozoic 9:53 9:56.9

The Paleozoic Era


old life 570 245 million years ago

If all of Earths geologic history is represented by one hour then the Paleozoic era occurred between 9:53 am and 9:56.9 am. The Paleozoic is characterized by the development of diverse sea life and the emergence of the first land plants, first insects, first amphibians, and first retiles. The end of the Paleozoic is marked by a mass extinction of life on Earth. Rocks formed during the Paleozoic are located in a SW-NE trending belt in central North Carolina, and are characterized by intrusive and extrusive volcanic rocks, and metamorphosed sedimentary deposits.

The Paleozoic Era


old life 570 245 million years ago Life
Age (millions)
286-245 320-286 360-320

Period
Permian Pennsylvanian Mississippian

Organism
Reptile diversity explodes Large scale coal formation in swamps Land plant diversity explodes, first flying insects, first reptiles First insects (flightless), first amphibians First fish and land plants Starfish and crinoids appear Explosion of marine life bivalves, sponges, trilobites, jellyfish, coral

408-360 438-408 505-438 570-505

Devonian Silurian Ordovician Cambrian

The Paleozoic Era


old life 570 245 million years ago
Mississippian: First reptiles
http://www.bluesci.org

Devonian: First amphibians


http://www.exploratorium.edu

Labidosaurus hamatus

Ichthyostega

Silurian: First fish & land plants Ordovician: Crinoids & Starfish
http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk http://museumvictoria.com.au

http://tolweb.org http://ww.cavehill.uwi.edu

Cambrian: Trilobites & Sponges


http://www.fossilmuseum.net http://www.palaentology.geo.uu.se

The Paleozoic Era


old life 570 245 million years ago Rock formed during the Paleozoic is a valuable resource in North Carolina

Metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rocks of Paleozoic age are quarried throughout North Carolina, including the High Point area, for use in a variety of construction projects.

http://www.wakestonecorp.com

The Mesozoic Era


middle life 245 70 million years ago

Mesozoic 9:56.9 9:58.7

The Mesozoic Era


middle life 245 70 million years ago

The Mesozoic era occurred between 9:56.9 am and 9:57.8 am. During this brief 1.8 seconds, the dinosaurs came and went, and the first birds and mammals emerged. The end of the Mesozoic, like the Paleozoic before it, was marked by a mass extinction. Mesozoic rocks occur principally in southeastern North Carolina, and are characterized by sedimentary deposits of sandstone, shale, and clays.

The Mesozoic Era


middle life 245 70 million years ago Life
Age (millions)
144-66 208-144 245-208

Period
Cretaceous Jurassic Triassic

Organism
First flowering plants, T-Rex, Triceratops, Dteranodon Dinosaurs grow large: Stegasaurus, Archaeopteryx Reptiles dominate land crocodiles, turtles and early dinosaurs emerge

The Mesozoic Era


middle life 245 70 million years ago
Cretaceous: T-Rex and Triceratops

http://www.impactlab.net

http://www.itsnature.org

Jurassic: Archaeopteryx, Stegasaurus and first flowering plant

http://www.itsnature.org

http://www.askabiologist.org.uk

http://news.ufl.edu

Triassic: early dinosaurs and turtles


http://news.bbc.co.uk http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org

The Mesozoic Era


middle life 245 70 million years ago Deposits formed during the Mesozoic are a valuable resource in North Carolina

Sand and gravel extraction is the largest income producing mining in North Carolina.

http://www.boggspaving.com

The Cenozoic Era


new life 70 million years ago present

Cenozoic 9:58.7 10:00

The Cenozoic Era


new life 70 million years ago - present

It is only during the last 1.3 seconds that the first human ancestor appeared, ice ages occurred, and modern man evolved.
Unconsolidated sands and clays of the Coastal Plain date to the Cenozoic era.

The Cenozoic Era


new life 70 million years ago present
Climate ameliorates 10,000 years ago, allowing the development of agriculture and human civilization.

http://www.gsi.ie

Mammals dominate land, human evolution occurs.

http://www.dailymail.uk.co

The Cenozoic Era


new life 70 million years ago present Deposits formed during the Cenozoic are a valuable resource in North Carolina

Aurora, N.C. Phosphate mine. North Carolina is the nations second largest producer of phosphate. North Carolina and Florida account for 95% of the total phosphate produced in the U.S.

http://www.wazengineeriing.com

Resources
General
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources http://portal.ncdenr.org United States Geological Survey (USGS) http://www.usgs.gov N.C. Geological Survey http://www.geology.enr.state.nc.us USGS Studies in N.C. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-033-96 Relief Map of North Carolina http://geology.com/shaded-relief/southeast.shtml

Lesson plans/Activities
Geosphere links for teachers http://nesen.unl.edu/scienceresources/linksgepsphere.asp Resources for K-12 Earth Science Educators http://www.geosociety.org/educate/resources.htm USGS resources for secondary schools http://education.usgs.gov/common/secondary.htm Mining Institute http://www.mii.org