Geologic Time Scale Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Geologic Time Scale?
The Geologic Time Scale is a system of chronological measurement that relates geological strata (layers of rock) to time. It is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships between events that have occurred throughout Earth’s history. The scale’s basic unit of measure is the geological period or epoch, which represents an event in Earth’s evolution from its formation around 4.6 billion years ago to present day. Epochs are divided into smaller units called ages and stages which further subdivide each period into much finer increments of time. The current geologic time scales consist of three major divisions: Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic covering roughly 542 million years up until the present day. Within these broad divisions lie many different types of rocks and fossils which tell us about life on Earth over this vast span of time. For example, some ancient fossilized plant remains indicate what plants were growing during various parts of the Paleozoic era while marine fossils can provide insight into how oceans evolved over millions of years leading up to modern times. Additionally, it is possible for researchers to determine when certain species first appeared on the planet through careful examination and analysis using data from the Geologic Time Scale as well as other sources such as climate records or sedimentary deposits along coastlines for example. All in all, the Geologic Time Scale provides a valuable tool for understanding events in our planet’s past with greater accuracy than ever before.