Earth, Our Environment - Class Notes
Chapter 1, The Changing Planet - 08
Geologic or "Deep" Time

The contribution of Geological Studies to this great adventure in human achievement is the recognition of "Deep Time". The Earth and the Universe are very old, billions of years old.

We know from studies of radioactive materials that the Earth is approximately 4.55 billion years old. That's 4,550,000,000 years and is a very long time.

Appreciation of the great age is critical to understanding the physical evolution of Earth and the biologic evolution of life (Darwin was as much a geologist as a biologist and his appreciation of the great age of the Earth was central to his discovery and documentation of evolution).

One way to appreciate the depth of this age is to "map" Earth history onto a more common reference, such as a one-year calender.

[ Study Figure 1.17 from the Text ]

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Prepared by: Charles J. Ammon
January 1997