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Hewitt/Lyons/Suchocki/Yeh

Conceptual Integrated Science


Chapter 26 EARTHS HISTORY

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This lecture will help you understand:


History of Earth Science How the rock record reveals Earths history The methods used to determine rocks age The construction of the geologic time scale The evolution of Earths atmosphere How life evolved through time Plate tectonics and its role in evolution When and how different mountains formed

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A Model of Earths History


Earth is ~4.5 billion years old. Compared to a single calendar year:
Formation of Earth Oldest rocks Bacterial life Dinosaurs Homo sapiens Human history Jan. 1 Feb. 26 Mar. 23 Dec. 14 to 26 Dec. 31 @11:50 pm Dec. 31 @11:59 pm

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A Model of Earths History


Geologic Timefrom Earths formation to the present.

This history is recorded in the rocks of Earths crust.

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Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism


CatastrophismEarths present state is the result of sudden, short-lived, violent events.
Implies a young Earth (creation ~4000 BC)

UniformitarianismEarth is the result of slow processes over long periods of time.


Implies an old Earth (~4.5 billion years), dynamic and everchanging.

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Earths History
The most fundamental principle in geology is Uniformitarianism: The present is the key to the past. The processes and laws (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) that operate today are the same as those that have operated in the past.

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The Rock Record


The rock record is like a very long, old book with many pages that are tattered, torn, indecipherable, and missing.

Two methods of dating rock:


Relative datingrelative age, the ordering of rocks in sequence by comparative ages Radiometric datingabsolute age, actual age of rock determined in a laboratory
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Principles of Relative Dating


Original horizontality: New layers of sediment are horizontally laid down over older layers. Superposition: In undeformed sequences of rock, top layers are younger than bottom layers. Cross-cutting: A fault or intrusion that cuts into a rock is younger than the rock it cuts through.
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Principles of Relative Dating


Inclusion: Any inclusion is older than the rock containing it.

Faunal succession: Fossil organisms follow one another in a definite, irreversible time sequence.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

Three dikes (igneous intrusion) cut into a rock body. Which dike is the oldest, and which is the youngest?

A. B. C. D.

A is oldest, then B, and C is the youngest. C is oldest, then B, and A is the youngest. B is oldest, then A, and C is the youngest. A is oldest, then C, and B is the youngest.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR ANSWER

Three dikes (igneous intrusion) cut into a rock body. Which dike is the oldest, and which is the youngest?

A. B. C. D.

A is oldest, then B, and C is the youngest. C is oldest, then B, and A is the youngest. B is oldest, then A, and C is the youngest. A is oldest, then C, and B is the youngest.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

The embedded rocks (inclusions) in the sedimentary layers are

A. B. C. D.

metamorphic. older than the sedimentary layers. younger than the sedimentary layers. the same age as the layers.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR ANSWER

The embedded rocks (inclusions) in the sedimentary layers are

A. B. C. D.

metamorphic. older than the sedimentary layers. younger than the sedimentary layers. the same age as the layers.

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Radiometric Dating
Radiometric dating gives the actual age of a rock by measuring the ratio of radioactive isotopes to their daughter products. Half-lifethe time it takes for half of the parent isotopes to decay to their daughter products.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

Radiometric dating can give the actual age of a rock. An exception to the actual age can be found in

A. B. C. D.

sedimentary and some metamorphic rocks. igneous rocks. metamorphic rocks. sedimentary rocks.

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Principles of Relative Dating CHECK YOUR ANSWER

Radiometric dating can give the actual age of a rock. An exception to the actual age can be found in
A. B. C. D. sedimentary and some metamorphic rocks. igneous rocks. metamorphic rocks. sedimentary rocks. Explanation: In a sedimentary rock, the age of individual minerals can be determined but not the age of when the sedimentary rock formed. In a mineral reheated by metamorphism, the time clock is reset, complicating estimation of the rocks age. The date obtained will be the date of the metamorphic event, not the original age of the mineral.

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Geologic Time
The geologic time scalea calendar of Earth history. Originally created using relative dates Specific dates using radiometric dating Subdivides geologic history into units
Eons, eras, periods, and epochs based on changes in life forms

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Precambrian Time
The Precambrian ranges from 4.5 billion years ago to ~542 million years ago. ~90% of Earths history Considerable volcanic activity Meteorite bombardment Cyanobacteria Soft-bodied organisms Primitive atmosphere and ocean Beginnings of lithospheric plate formation and movement
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Precambrian Time
Precambrian fossils: Most common are stromatolites
Material deposited by algae Microfossils of bacteria and algae Importance of cyanobacteria

Plant fossilsmiddle Precambrian Primitive animal fossilslate Precambrian Diverse and multicelled organisms existed by the close of the Precambrian
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Transformation of Earths Atmosphere


First atmosphereprimarily hydrogen and helium Second atmosphere: Volcanic outgassing and cometary impacts Rich in CO2 and H2O, no free oxygen H2O condensed to form oceans Third atmosphere: Removal of CO2 to rocks Nitrogen increase Oxygen increase (photosynthesis) Development of O3
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Transformation of Earths Atmosphere CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR The development of free oxygen was crucial to the emergence of life on Earth, because it led to the formation of
A. B. C. D. air for animals to breathe. ozone, O3, which helped screen Earth from harmful incoming UV radiation. ozone, O3, which primitive organisms could breathe. the oceans, where life emerged.

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Transformation of Earths Atmosphere CHECK YOUR ANSWER The development of free oxygen was crucial to the emergence of life on Earth, because it led to the formation of
A. B. C. D. air for animals to breathe. ozone, O3, which helped screen Earth from harmful incoming UV radiation. ozone, O3, which primitive organisms could breathe. the oceans, where life emerged.

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Transformation of Earths Atmosphere CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

The evolution of cyanobacteria helped oxygen escape to the atmosphere by

A. B. C. D.

keeping the carbon and expelling the oxygen. photosynthesis. releasing it from carbon dioxide. All of the above.

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Transformation of Earths Atmosphere CHECK YOUR ANSWER

The evolution of cyanobacteria helped oxygen escape to the atmosphere by

A. B. C. D.

keeping the carbon and expelling the oxygen. photosynthesis. releasing it from carbon dioxide. All of the above.

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Paleozoic Era
Spans ~300 million years.
Six periodsEach period characterized by changes in life forms and tectonics.

Characterized by rise and fall of sea level. Shallow seas covered the continents. Marine life flourished. Changing sea levels contributed to diversification of life forms. Hard-bodied organisms.

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Cambrian Period542 to 490 Ma


The Cambrian explosiongreat diversity of life forms evolved during this time.

Hard-bodied organisms:
Ability of organisms to secrete calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate for formation of an outer skeleton.

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Ordovician Period490 to 443 Ma


Abundant and diverse marine life:
Emergence of vertebrates (e.g., jawless fishes)

Many landmasses on journey to become southern continent of Gondwanaland:


Situated close to South Pole Widespread glaciation Sea level drops
Shallow-water invertebrates deprived of habitat

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Silurian Period443 to 417 Ma


Many landmasses joining together as southern continent of Gondwanaland:
Africa, South America, India, Australia, Antarctica Situated close to South Pole

Ancestral North America and Europe begin convergence and are situated near equator
Continents flooded by periodic shallow seas
Formation of many evaporite beds

Terrestrial life
Plants, scorpions, and millipedes

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Devonian Period417 to 354 Ma


Gondwanaland completely formed in Southern Hemisphere North America and Eurasia joined as continent of Laurussia in Northern Hemisphere Devonian known as age of fishes
Two groups of bony fishes: Lung fish Lobe-finned fish, which evolved to become the amphibians
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Carboniferous Period354 to 290 Ma


Warm moist climate Dense swamplands
Present-day coal beds

Insects Amniote egg Collision of Gondwanaland with Laurussia


Appalachian Mountains Ural Mountains

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Permian Period290 to 248 Ma


Amniote vertebrates continue to diversify
Ancestral link to reptiles and mammals

Permian extinction
~90% of all marine species ~70% of all land species

Possible causes of extinction


Volcanic activity in Siberia
Blocked solar radiation

Formation of Pangaea
Lowering of sea level

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The Paleozoic Era CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

The Paleozoic experienced several fluctuations in sea level. When sea level rises,

A. B. C. D.

shallow seas cover the continents. more water is tied up in glaciers making the climate colder. the climate turns warmer, and swamps form. ocean basins become shallow.

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The Paleozoic Era CHECK YOUR ANSWER

The Paleozoic experienced several fluctuations in sea level. When sea level rises,

A. B. C. D.

shallow seas cover the continents. more water is tied up in glaciers making the climate colder. the climate turns warmer, and swamps form. ocean basins become shallow.

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The Paleozoic Era CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

At the end of the Permian, sea level lowered. The lowering of sea level could be a result of

A. B. C. D.

glaciation as Pangaea drifted near the South Pole. the collision of Gondwanaland and Laurussia to form Pangaea. tectonics and climate change. all of the above.

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The Paleozoic Era CHECK YOUR ANSWER

At the end of the Permian, sea level lowered. The lowering of sea level could be a result of

A. B. C. D.

glaciation as Pangaea drifted near the South Pole. the collision of Gondwanaland and Laurussia to form Pangaea. tectonics and climate change. all of the above.

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Mesozoic Era
Mesozoic era spans ~180 million years from 248 Ma to about 65 Ma Three Periods Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous

Often called the age of reptiles

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Mesozoic Era
Mesozoic history:
Begins with much of the worlds land above sea level Seas invade western North America Breakup of Pangaea begins forming the Atlantic Ocean North American plate began to override the Pacific plate Mountains of western North America began forming

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Mesozoic Era
Mesozoic life Survivors of the great Paleozoic extinction:
True pines and redwoods Flowering plants Insects Reptiles (first true terrestrial animals) readily adapt to the dry Mesozoic climate Reptiles have shell-covered eggs that can be laid on the land
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Mesozoic Era
Mesozoic life:
Dinosaurs dominated. One group of reptiles led to the birds. Many reptile groups, along with many other animal groups, become extinct at the close of the Mesozoic.
One hypothesis is that a large asteroid or comet struck Earth. Another possibility is that extensive volcanism occurred.

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The Mesozoic Era CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

The breakup of Pangaea was the greatest tectonic event in the Mesozoic. Of all the continental unions that existed in Paleozoic time, only that of
A. B. C. D. Africa and Asia has survived to this day. the United States and Mexico has survived. Asia and India has survived to this day. Europe and Asia has survived to this day.

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The Mesozoic Era CHECK YOUR ANSWER

The breakup of Pangaea was the greatest tectonic event in the Mesozoic. Of all the continental unions that existed in Paleozoic time, only that of
A. B. C. D. Africa and Asia has survived to this day. the United States and Mexico has survived. Asia and India has survived to this day. Europe and Asia has survived to this day.

Comment: Asia and India came together in the Cenozoic, producing the Himalayas.
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Cenozoic Era
Cenozoica smaller fraction of geologic time than the Paleozoic or Mesozoic 65 million years ago to the present Often called the age of mammals Two Periods:
Tertiary Quaternary

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Cenozoic Era
North America: Most of the continent was above sea level throughout the Cenozoic era. Western North America:
Mountain building, volcanism, and earthquakes Large region upliftedBasin and Range province is formed, Rockies are re-elevated, rivers erode the Grand and Black canyons, volcanic activity is abundant San Andreas Fault
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Cenozoic Era
Eastern North America:
Stable with abundant marine sedimentation Eroded Appalachians raised by isostatic adjustments

Eurasia:
AfricaArabia collision produces Alps India with Asia produce the Himalayas

Worldwide:
Climates cooled Glaciation in temperate zones One-third of the land covered by ice
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Cenozoic Era
Cenozoic life: Mammals replaced reptiles as the dominant land animals. Flowering plants dominated the plant world:
Strongly influenced the evolution of both birds and mammals Food source for both birds and mammals

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Cenozoic Era
Cenozoic life: Mammals diversified quite rapidly, and some groups become very large:
e.g., hornless rhinoceros, which stood nearly 16 feet high Many large animals became extinct

Humans evolve
And dominate

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The Cenozoic Era CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

Glaciation during the Cenozoic resulted in

A. B. C. D.

lowering of sea level worldwide. carving of the Swiss Alps. land bridge connections between various continents. all of the above.

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The Cenozoic Era CHECK YOUR ANSWER

Glaciation during the Cenozoic resulted in

A. B. C. D.

lowering of sea level worldwide. Carving of the Swiss Alps. land bridge connections between various continents. all of the above.

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The Cenozoic Era CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR

The Cenozoic era is noted for

A. B. C. D. E. F.

the debut of humans. ice ages. great mountain building activity. the San Andreas Fault. the Hawaiian Islands. all of the above.

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The Cenozoic Era CHECK YOUR ANSWER

The Cenozoic era is noted for

A. B. C. D. E. F.

the debut of humans. ice ages. great mountain building activity. the San Andreas Fault. the Hawaiian Islands. all of the above.

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