Geology: Getting the past to scale
16/01/2006 The history of the Earth can be described along a time line which illustrates the period from the Big Bang until the present day. If this line is made 14 metres long, each millimetre will correspond to a million years.
This article was first published in Norwegian Continental Shelf no. 3-2005
- The Earth and the solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago, or 9.4 metres along the line.
- While the first good traces of plants and animals are found 540 million years ago, human history occupies a mere 0.006 millimetre at the end of the line.
The geological timescale is an important document for reading the story of the planet and its life.
Several of its terms appear in this issue of Norwegian Continental Shelf. A better understanding of the sequence of geological processes – including those which turned Norway into a petroleum nation – is provided by the illustration on this page.