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QuestionTo the Precambrian As we travel further back before the Paleozoic...To the Precambrian

 

 

As we travel further back before the Paleozoic Era, we leave the time frame of fossils mostly behind. At the beginning of the Cambrian Period the first obvious, widespread fossils of animals with hard shells appear. Before that time, animals in the oceans were very small and soft-bodied, and tiny lumps of jelly-flesh don't fossilize very well. At the beginning of the Cambrian Period you are also at the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon, in which we still live. Phanerozoic means "obvious life" because from the Cambrian Period forward fossils become common worldwide.

Before the Phanerozoic Eon geologists now recognize three prior eons, the most recent being the Proterozoic Eon ("primitive life") - a vast reach of time during which single-celled life with nuclei first evolved and, later in the Proterozoic, simple multicellular organisms. 

Continue your journey, but now mark your path with the map at a scale-bar resolution of 100 km. Keep to the path, but at this larger scale you'll find most of the fine details of road curvature vanish. Follow your route back to the beginning of the Proterozoic Eon.

Question 22 

 

At this point in our road trip through time, what US state are you within?

 

Question 23 

 

Before the Proterozoic Eon there was the Archaean Eon ("ancient"), during which photosynthetic single-celled life capable of producing oxygen, the cyanobacteria, first evolved and began rusting the Earth's surface with oxygen (O2) that began to fill the air.

Prior to the Archaean Eon was a time geologists call the Hadean Eon (after Hades), which represents a time when the Earth was new, fairly molten, and few rocks formed that persist intact to this day. The Hadean Eon doesn't begin at a single point, but gradually fades back into a time just before Earth's accretion from dust, rubble, gas and ice into a solid planet. 

Travel back to the beginning of the Archaean Eon. At this point along our road trip through time, what US state are you within?

 

Question 24 

 

The last steps from the end of the Hadean Eon to the formation of the planet will be simple. At a scale-bar resolution of 200 km continue all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, but don't zoom in to complete the journey; stay at a 200 km scale-bar to the very end. 

Having completed your road trip through time, keep the map open with your traced route and zoom out to view the entire trip route. Your map should look something like this:

 

As we travel backward on the road-trip through time, at first the waypoints are close together, but the further back we go the waypoints are further and further apart. Take a look at your route, focusing on the trip from the GGB back to the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon. That only takes you as far as Nevada, and the waypoints are so close they blur together on the map of your whole route. 

 

The abundance of fossils in the Phanerozoic means that we have visually-obvious, detailed documentation of the succession of ancient life-form species in rocks from around the world. For example, new species of plankton appear and old ones go extinct every few million years on average, and sedimentary rocks laid down over long reaches of time record fossils as a sequence of events marking time with the consecutive presence and absence of particular recognizable species. 

In the Precambrian the overall absence of fossils makes rocks of that age difficult to visually age-date, and we have to rely on more modern, quantitative methods such as radiometric geochronology. Also, because Precambrian rocks are so old there is less of that material that survives today. The older the time frame, generally the less rock remains in existence to sample and examine. 

The analytical uncertainty associated with age-dating of rocks is normally very low; around 1% or less. In practice that means uncertainties are small relative to the value they're measuring. 

Calculate the uncertainty associated with the following total distances (in m or km) traveled along your road-trip route, assuming the error or fuzziness associated with each time frame is 1% of the value, i.e. a trip of 100 km, 100,000,000 years in our analogy, has an uncertainty of about 1%, or 1 km, or 1,000,000 years. 

GGB to the beginning of the Holocene, uncertainty in meters (two significant figures):

 

Question 25 

 

GGB to the end of the Cretaceous, uncertainty in km (two significant figures):

 

Question 26 

 

GGB to the end of the Permian, uncertainty in km (two significant figures):

 

Question 27 

 

GGB to the end of the Proterozoic, uncertainty in km (two significant figures):

 

Question 28 

 

GGB to the end of the Archaean, uncertainty in km (two significant figures):

 

Question 29 

 

GGB to the dawn of the Hadean, uncertainty in km (two significant figures):

 

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