The History Of The Earth From Formation To Present Day

A visualization of the significant events on planet Earth through its four billion year history.

Animated map shows how the Earth may have looked like in the distant past. The reconstruction of plate tectonics is based on paleomagnetic data, though it may be inaccurate before one billion years.

The temperature, atmospheric composition, and length of day are also presented. The Coastline changes on our planet, you can see here.

Earth created about 4.54 billion years ago by accumulation from the solar nebula, a disk-shaped cloud of gas and dust leftover from the creation of the Sun, which also built other planets and their moons of the Solar System.

Out planet was initially molten due to intense volcanism and numerous collisions with other space bodies. Finally, the external layer of the Earth cooled to create a firm crust when water started concentrating in the atmosphere.

The Precambrian covers about 90 percent of geologic time. It stretches from 4.6 billion years ago to the start of the Cambrian Period (about 541 million years ago). The Precambrian includes three eons: the Hadean, Archean, and Proterozoic. Significant volcanic eruptions changing the planet’s environment and producing extinctions may have happened ten times in the past three billion years.

During Hadean Eon (4.6-4 billion years ago), our planet was molten due to volcanism and impacts with other space bodies. Finally, the solid crust was formed, and water began accumulating in the atmosphere.

During Archean Eon (4-2.5 billion years ago), the planet’s crust cooled, and continental plates and rocks started to develop. They moved across the surface of the Earth, merging to create a supercontinent Rodinia.

Proterozoic Eon (2,500 – 541 million years ago) spanning the time from the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere to just before increasing the diversity of different life forms (trilobites, corals, etc.). During Proterozoic Eon, the earliest-known supercontinent Rodinia started to split apart. The continents next recombined to create supercontinent Pannotia.

The Phanerozoic Eon is the current eon in the geologic timescale. It includes approximately 541 million years. Throughout this period, continents floated about, finally assembled into a single landmass known as Pangea, and then broke up into the modern continental landmasses. The Phanerozoic eon is parted into three eras: the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic, and the Cenozoic. Most of the evolution of life occurred during this period.

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