The Dynamic Earth View Multimedia Version

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TITLE: Birth of the Solar System


The Earth and Solar System have been evolving for 4.6 billion years. In this timeline, you can see how the key events fit into such a vast expanse of time. Notice that many of the formative events took place in the first 100 million years.

 

 

 

[Photo: Nebula]

See caption at right.

4,600 million years ago
Solar System's first solid grains—the building blocks of planets — form.

 

See caption at right.

4,600-4,500 million years ago.
Within the first 100 million years, our Earth and Moon, the large asteroids, and the other planets and moons come into being.

 

See caption at right.

4,000-3,800 million years ago
Cataclysmic bombardment of the Moon occurs.

 
See caption at right.

2,000 million years ago
Earth’s atmosphere becomes markedly rich in oxygen as the number of photosynthetic plants increases.

 

See caption at right.

540 million years ago
Life on Earth undergoes massive evolution and diversification.

 

See caption at right.

200 million years ago
Supercontinent Pangaea begins to rift apart, breaking up into today's continents.

 

See caption at right.

65 million years ago
Asteroid impact on Earth leads to extinction of many species, including dinosaurs.

 

 

See caption at right.

1.8 million years ago
Homo erectus, closest ancestor of modern humans, appears.

 

 


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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits