Cosmology, Biology, Geology, Biogenesis
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What follows is a history of the universe, from the moment after the big bang to present day. Content that is as yet theoretical is only presented if strongly supported from several sources, fields, or expert analysis. Theories without such support (Hawking radiation, most biogenesis theories), or those with no current known method of confirmation (string and M theory) are omitted until such day that they possess this support, or the author becomes aware of them.

Updates will be as frequent as possible to include new discoveries, more detailed explanations or more corresponding imagery.

Text below is white when hovering will reveal more information or unit translation. Text in light blue will link to new pages with further explanation of the terms therein.

All earth images seen below are created by and used with permission from Dr. Ron Blakey, professor of geology at Northern Arizona University. His site is an excellent paleogeology resource.

Formation of universe
13,700 MYA
Matter/radiation soup
0 - 1 seconds after expansion
Moment of infinite 
     The very moment of the big bang is shrouded in mystery because scientists believe that conventional physics won't apply at the very high temperatures in excess of a million billon degrees 1015ºC. Electromagnetic radiation and matter are indistinguishable during this period.
Moment of 
inflation 10-12seconds after expansion
     The universe has cooled to 1015 degrees, being a soup of matter (quarks) and radiation, a dense plasma gas under very high pressure. As the universe continues to expand, it cools further and matter wins over antimatter. The universe inflates rapidly to almost  1/1000 present size.
Formation of Nucleotides
10-5 to 10-2seconds after expansion
     All forms of particles are formed: neutrons, protons, electrons, etc. The universe expands to 1/1000 present size and slows down. Its temperature cools to 3000 kelvins. The force of gravity, nucleic attraction and electromagnetic forces become distinct. By the first second of existence, the fundamental particles of the universe are in existence: quarks, electrons, photons, neutrinos and others. As they smash together, protons and neutrons form.
Formation of Basic Elements
3 seconds after expansion
     Protons and neutrons come together to form the nuclei of simple elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. It will take another 300,000 years for electrons to be captured into orbits around these nuclei to form stable atoms.
Universe Becomes Transparent
300,000 YAE
     Matter clusters into ever larger units. The universe becomes transparent. Its radiation, the microwave background radiation, is still observable today. During this time, the energy in matter and the energy in radiation are equal. But as the relentless expansion continues, the waves of light are stretched to lower and lower energy, while the matter travels onward largely unaffected. At about this time, neutral atoms are formed as electrons link up with hydrogen and helium nuclei. The microwave background radiation hails from this moment, and thus gives us a direct picture of how matter was distributed at this early time.
Stars & Galaxies Form
300 million YAE
     Gravity amplifies slight irregularities in the density of the primordial gas. Even as the universe continues to expand rapidly, pockets of gas become more and more dense. Stars ignite within these pockets, and groups of stars become the earliest galaxies. This point is still perhaps 12 to 15 billion years before the present.
Expansion Accelerates
7 billion YAE
     The expansion of the universe has until now been hindered by gravitational attraction. At this point, the expansion, being a constant and undiminishing force overcomes gravity, which is also constant, but diminishes with distance. Expansion begins to separate all matter not gravitationally bound by increasing rates with each passing moment.
10,000 MYA
Milky Way galaxy is formed.
Helios and Solar System
5000 - 3960 MYA
Solar System Size Scale Image
Giant Molecular Cloud
4660 MYA
     The entire solar system is a cloud of gas 50-100 light years across. Three fourths is molecular hydrogen (H2), with the rest consisting of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen gases and some silicates in the form of dust. Density averages 103 to 107 molecules per cubic centimeter. Average temperature is about 24 kelvins. This cold temperature is what keeps hydrogen in its molecular form, though only just.
     At some point, the giant molecular cloud is disturbed by a passing body, or the ejecta from a nearby supernova or other perturbance. This swirls the gas, which begins to gather and collapse as gravity takes hold.
Globule Helios
4658 MYA
     Collapse creates hundreds or thousands of nuclei (areas of higher density) which eventually begin to attract each other and settle into a single core roughly one tenth of a light year across (100x the distance from Helios to Pluto). As cores combine, collapse accelerates toward the center. Molecules begin rubbing against each other, creating frictonal heat, which reduces the H2 to atomic hydrogen gas. This heat is emitted as light in the infrared (invisible to the eye) making the globule dark from without.
     Over 30,000 years, the globule takes on a noticeable spherical shape, shrinking to one percent of it's original globule size (the size of the current solar system) and starting to spin faster as angular momentum is conserved. The increased pressure and friction heat the core to 10,000 kelvins. As the core heats, it becomes more opaque, making heat harder to escape, which heats the core further. The collapse is slowing as the heat is increasing, and the globule is now a protostar in the middle of a cloud of debris.
     Near the new protostar, temperatures are about 2,000 kelvins, preventing water, methane, and ammonia from condensing. The point at which the temperature is low enough to allow these to condense is called the snow line. Past the snow line, icy elements agglomerate quickly due to their "stickier" nature. Inside the snow line, only rocks and metals exist in solid states. As the gas and ice giants form past the snow line, terrestrial planets form closer to the protostar.
     The protostar is now the size of Mercury's orbit, and the remaining cloud of gas and debris is flattening into a proplyd containing about ten percent of the current mass of Helios. This disc has unveiled the protostar, letting its light finally shine forth for the first time.
First Planet
4656 MYA
     Jupiter forms near snow line, agglomerating quickly to a size 15 ME. At this point, its gravitational field pulls in more material at a faster rate. Being the first planet, debris and gas is abundant for this icy giant, and over the course of 100,000 years, it swells to 300 ME. Jupiter is so massive so quickly that its reach begins to extend to other forming planets and tosses many out of the system. The asteroid belt contains the remnants of the planet that was interrupted by Jupiter's gravitational influence.
T-Tauri Phase
4655 MYA
     The protostar is becoming increasingly violent as the temperatures in its core race up to 5 million kelvins. The surface temperature is only 4,500 kelvins, however, giving Helios an angry red glow. At these temperatures, Helios' gases are fully ionized, and their movement creates electric currents which create strong magnetic fields. Helios' rapid spinning (once per ten days) amplifies these magnetic fields and they sweep through the proplyd, sucking in material with huge flares as this material reaches the surface.
     Outflow begins, creating a stellar wind that rushes outward at 200 km/s. These winds begin blasting away lighter elements in the proplyd, such as the remaining hydrogen and helium. Some of this material is channeled into the magnetic field of the T-Tauri Helios, which is then fed into two beams shooting straight up and down - a process known as bipolar molecular outflow.
     Jupiter has feasted quickly and grown rapidly, while Saturn, Neptune and Uranus have gathered lighter elements more slowly. Now that these elements are being blown into the cosmos, the smaller gas giant Saturn and ice giants Uranus and Neptune slow their growth rapidly as a result of the loss of the remaining lighter elements they would have feasted upon, stunting them at masses far below Jupiter. These outer planets have their own discs from which their regular satellites form, perhaps before their primary bodies were, as accretion works more quickly on smaller scales.
The inner planets have agglomerated about half their final mass, since the heavy elements inside the snow line agglomerate much more slowly. This slow agglomeration continues for the next few million years.
Main Sequence
4620 MYA
     Helios has now reached a state of hydrostatic equilibrium in which the collapse of gravity is equally matched by the radiation pressure exerted by the fusion of ionized hydrogen (H+), in the form of the proton-proton chain reaction. Core temperature is now at 15 million kelvins, and Helios is settling into the longest portion if it's life.
Heavy Bombardment
4550 MYA
     The inner planets have now reached their current sizes, though free material is still abundant throughout the solar system. This material no longer moves stately around Helios as it did in the proplyd, but is tossed about by the interactions of several new gravitational sources that the planets provide. These impacts are massive and abundant, keeping the terrestrial planets in an alternating state of molten and solid. The largest known impact structure in the solar system, Luna's Aitken basin dates to this era - a basin 12 kilometers deep, and 2,500 kilometers wide, which is more than half Luna's diameter.
Apocalypse Then
4500 MYA
     In Terra's orbit, a second planet, Theia, has been agglomerating and accreting. This planet is roughly the size of Mars and orbits Helios at one of the Terra-Helios Lagrangian points. Theia's orbit begins to fluctuate. It first sails nearer, then farther away from Terra. With each wild swing it comes closer to impacting Terra. Eventually, Theia and Terra converge in a spectacular off-center collision. All life (if any) and water on Terra is instantly vaporized. Terra's previously unaltered polar alignment is shifted 23.439281°, and its slow or non-existant rotation is accelerated to once every 6 hours (6700 km/h - 4 times faster than present day). Most of Terra's mantle and Theia's as well is obliterated. Lower-mass ejecta from the collision is sent into orbit while higher-mass ejecta is added to Terra's composition. Orbital ejecta accretes astonishingly quickly (on the order of mere hundreds of years) to form Luna, which orbits Terra at a distance of roughly 30,000 kilometers (15 times closer than present day).
     Its close proximity and molten composition from recent impact gives Luna a non-circular orbit and a non-spherical shape. Luna's orbit is also decaying outward, meaning that Luna is inexorably leaving Terra at the current rate of 3.8 centimeters per year while simultaneously lengthening Terran days.
Calm after the Storm
4000 MYA
     A Terran day is now roughly 8 hours long. This still incredible speed means that nearly constant hurricane-force winds race around the planet. Terra's rotation has slowed to just over 6,000 km/h, thanks to tidal forces between Luna and Terra. This same force has increased Luna's orbital velocity, which is flinging Luna away from Terra. Luna now orbits at a distance of 70,000 kilometers. Luna dominates the night sky, dwarfing Helios, and its intense tidal pull is causing volcanic and tectonic activity to go haywire directly below it. While rocks from the Theia impact have been deposited on Terra, Terra's own rocks are only now beginning to form.

Hadean Era
3960-3800 MYA
     Terra's environment is extremely hostile to life as we know it, due mainly to extreme volcanic activity lack of habitable atmosphere, and continued bombardment. The terrestrial planets have always been less massive than needed to retain lighter gases like hydrogen and helium, even before most of it was blasted away by T-Tauri stellar winds. The terrestrial planets now begin to gather a secondary atmosphere of heavier gases (which Terra and Venus are massive enough to hold on to) due to outgassing from the planets themselves. Rock and metal under extreme pressure and heat releases the gases trappen within, sending carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, water vapor, and hydrogen sulfide into the air through volcanic eruptions. In addition, the bombardment brings in more water, methane and organic molecules to add to the mix. Terra's oldest surviving rocks form during this era once things start to settle down (3800 MYA).
Archean Era
3800-2500 MYA
     During this period, little land is to be found, though shallow seas are rather abundant. Free oxygen is a scarcity (less than 1% of the total atmosphere), and prokaryotes first develop in the form of cyanobacteria called "blue-green algae" though there is little connection betwen cyanobacteria and modern algae beyond that they use photosynthesis to produce their own food and live in a liquid water environment.
     The cyanobacteria release oxygen as a waste product of their photosynthetic cycle. This is cyclic, however, as evidenced by global iron banding. Iron released by ocean vents is soluble in water, and is carried by currents. Once oxygen levels spike, perhaps during the early Terran "summers," (most likely completely dissimilar to any modern season) this oxygen binds to the ferric iron and becomes insoluble in water, dropping to the ocean floor. This consumes most of the oxygen as cyanobacteria increase in number.
     Eventually, around 2,000 MYA, cyanobacteria become so abundant that the regular release of ferric iron can no longer keep up. Oxygen is left over each "summer" and floats freely in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, oxygen is also poisonous to these early forms of life. The advent of new defenses against oxygen consisted of two basic features - protect and process. By locking away the oxygen to prevent it from damaging other parts of the cell, glucose can be oxidized within this safe area, yielding non-toxic oxides and a much greater metabolic efficiency. This is to be the general M.O. for prokaryotic life for the next 600 million years.
     As the oxygen levels went higher, another threshold was reached. At 10% oxygen content, Helios' previously unchecked radiation began encountering oxygen (O2) in the Terran atmosphere. Oxygen responded by forming ozone (O3) which provided shelter from the deleterious nature of solar radiation. This would have been a major factor in the more rapid increase in evolutionary diversification.
Proterozoic Era
2500-540 MYA 
     Terran days are now 14 hours long. Luna, now 190,000 kilometers away has slowed Terra's spin to 4300 km/h. Terra's climate alternates between dry and cold and hot and moist. The result is a "Snowball Earth" which raises the albedo of most of Terra's surface, resulting in almost all oceans freezing to 2 kilometers deep. Protected from sunlight and excessive rain, volcanic activity causes a spike in greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide) which reaches a critical point causing a rapid rise is temperatures. Terra's oceans begin flowing again, reigniting a major factor in the original freeze, and Terra is stuck in a loop for several million years. Toward the end of this time, eukaryotic cells and multicellular life has begun to appear. Our earliest known fossils, including soft-bodied marine invertebrates are found in rock from this period.
This 2 billion year journey comes to a close with days that are 8 hours longer (22 hours in total), an equatorial rotation speed of 2100 km/h, and a moon that is now 350,000 kilometers away.

Paleozoic Era
540-245 MYA 
Cambrian Period
540-505 MYA
     Mild climate; extensive seas, spilling over continents. Shelled marine invertebrates. Explosive diversification of eukaryotic organisms. swimming, floating, crawling, clinging, burrowing sea animals. Trilobites, brachiopods, radiolarians, sponges, echinoderms,starfish, seacucumbers, jellyfish, worms, eurypterids (water scorpions). Plants only as algae. 540 Million Years Ago
Ordovician Period
505-438 MYA
     Mild climate. Shallow seas; retreating from land and spreading back; teeming with life. continents low; sea covers US. Limestone deposits. All plants and animals still restricted to the water. Agnatha (jawless fishes, first vertebrates). First primitive fishes (ostracoderms, vertebrates). Invertebrates dominant. Crustaceans, trilobites, graptolites, brachiopods, bryozoa, echinoderms, corals, mollusks, cephalopods. First fungi. Possible invasions of land by plants. 500 Million Years Ago
438 MYA Mass extinctions
Silurian Period
438-408 MYA
     Mild climate. Continents generally flat; again flooded. Mountain building in Europe. Rise of fishes (placoderms) and reef building corals. Shell-forming sea animals abundant. Sea lilies (stalked crinoids), eurypterids, land scorpions. Invasion of land by arthropods. Earliest vascular plants (psilopsids, lycophytes). Modern groups of algae and fungi. 430 Million Years Ago
Devonian Period
408-360 MYA
Violent change in Terra's landscape by volcanic activity and crustal movements, folding and mountain forming. Europe mountainous with arid basins. Mountains and volcanoes in eastern US and Canada. Rest of north America low and flat. Sea covers most of land. Climate became drier. Age of fishes. Sharks, rays. Fishes move into the open seas. Lunged fishes (paddle-fins). Amphibians appear. Mollusks abundant.  Extinction of primitive vascular plants. Origin of modern groups of vascular plants with true leaves, roots and stems (liverworts). Terra started to look green. Some plants started to produce seeds, rather than spores. 400 Million Years Ago
367 MYA Mass extinctions
Carboniferous Period
360-286 MYA
     Slower Terran movements. Seabeds began to rise. Climate warm; conditions like those in subtropical zones; little seasonal variation, water plentiful. Lands low, covered by shallow seas or great coal swamps. Mountain building in eastern US, Texas, Colorado. Age of amphibians. First reptiles, cotylosaurs. Variety of insects. Sharks abundant. Greatswamps; forests of ferns, gymnosperms (naked seed plants) and horsetails. 340 Million Years Ago
Permian Period
286-245 MYA
     Extremely violent climate changes: deserts, swamps, ice. Extensive glaciation in Southern Hemisphere. Seas drain from land; worldwide aridity. Urals formed. Appalachians formed by end of Paleozoic. Large amphibians. Reptiles diversify. Bugs and beetles (metamorphosis). Age of the seed plants. Origin of conifers, cycads and ginkgos; possible origin of flowering plants; earlier forest types wane. At end of period extinctions of many groups: trilobites, eurypterids, many kinds of corals, bryozoa, sea lilies, brachiopods. Early fishes (placoderms) and many kinds of shark disappeared. 280 Million Years Ago
Mesozoic Era
245-66.4 MYA 
248 MYA Mass extinctions
Triassic Period
245-208 MYA
     At first, deserts stretched out over most of the land, slowly giving way to a mild, moist climate with great areas of forested plains. Continents mountainous and joined in one mass. Large areas arid. Eruptions in eastern North America. Appalachians uplifted and broken into basins. The age of dinosaurs, on land, in the sea and in between. Amphibians in freshwater, retreating. Primitive mammals appear. Forests of gymnosperms and ferns. 240 Million Years Ago
208 MYA Mass extinctions
Jurassic Period
208-144 MYA
     Warm climate without significant seasonal changes. Continents low, with large areas covered by seas. Mountains rise from Alaska to Mexico. Oxygen levels 50% higher than present day, allowing sauropods to reach their largest sizes. Dinosaurs' zenith overall. Flying reptiles, small mammals and birds appear. Many ammonites and other mollusks dominate the sea. Gymnosperms, especially cycads and ferns. First flowering plants (angiosperms). 200 Million Years Ago
Cretaceous Period
144-66.4 MYA
     Tropical to subtropical climate. Elevation of Rocky Mountains at end of period. Africa and South America separate. In warm, shallow seas, vast layers of chalk laid down by marine organisms. Birds well developed. Marsupials, insectivores and flowering plants become abundant. At end of period extinction of dinosaurs, belemnites, ammonites and most cycads. Fish survived, mammals and some reptiles. Angiosperms dominate the land flora, colonize most land and diversify as global temperatures cool. Ice caps begin to form as the Cretaceous comes to a close, and temperatures drop below 40° C for extended periods for the first time in millions of years. 120 Million Years Ago
Cenozoic Era
65MYA to present
Tertiary Period
66.4-1.6 MYA
65-25 MYA
65 MYA Mass extinctions
Paleocene Epoch
65-55 MYA
     Mild to cool climate. Wide, shallow continental seas largely disappear.First known primitive primates and mammal carnivores. 65 Million Years Ago
Eocene Epoch
55-38 MYA
     Mild to very tropical climate. Many lakes in western North America. Australia separates from Antarctica; India collides with Asia. Primitive horses, tiny camels, marsupials; modern and giant types of bird. Most groups now well formed; barnacles, oysters, cuttlefish, crabs, sponges, freshwater snails. Formation of grasslands. 50 Million Years Ago
Oligocene Epoch
38-25 MYA
     Rise of Alps and Himalayas. Lands generally low. Volcanoes in Rocky Mountains. South America separates from Antarctica. Forests decline to make way for grasslands. Large browsing animals; monkey-like primates appear. Fish: eel, barracuda, seahorse, cod, trout. Reptiles: turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes, crocodiles. Birds: flightless and flying. Origin of many modern families of flowering plants. 35 Million Years Ago
25-2 MYA
Miocene Epoch
25-5 MYA
     Moderate climate; extensive glaciation begins again in Southern Hemisphere. Moderate uplift of Rocky Mountains. Whales, apes, grazing mammals. Spread of grasslands as forests contract. 20 Million Years Ago
Pliocene Epoch
5-2 MYA
     Cooler climate; continued uplift and mountain building, with widespread glaciation in Northern Hemisphere. Uplift of Panama joins North and South America.Large carnivores. First known appearance of hominids (humanlike primates)
Quaternary Period
1.6MYA to present
Pleistocene Epoch
1.6-0.01 MYA
     Climate fluctuating cold to mild . The era of ice ages. Numerous glacial advances and retreats; fiords formed. Uplift of the Sierra Nevada; deserts on large scale; Sahara formed. Ten major ice ages of 100ky each between 1MYA and 100KYA. Last ice age from 100KYA to 10KYA. Planetary spread of Homo Sapiens over Eurasia; extinction of many species due to the ice ages; extinction of many large mammals and birds due to humans. 50 Thousand Years Ago
Holocene Epoch
10KYA to present
     The last major ice age ends and the sea level rises by 80-110m worldwide, causing new continental margins, dunes and beaches. Climate still fluctuates in ten little ice ages. Humans spread across America and all islands. Major extinctions of large animals and birds due to humans.
     AD 1350-1800 Little Ice Age. since then a warming trend. Major habitat changes and deforestations caused by humans. A major extinction wave due to introduced pests and habitat destruction.
Present Day