Relative dating planets

Thus, references could be made to the ‘primary period’ or ‘primary rocks’.

Of these four categories, ‘tertiary’ and ‘quaternary’ are still in use today.

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The first attempts at creating a formal geologic timescale for the planet were performed by Abraham Werner in the late eighteenth century.

Werner’s timescale divided the Earth’s rocks into four categories: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary.

In 1795, James Hutton introduced the concept that natural geologic processes were uniform throughout time.

In other words, the geologic processes that we can see and measure today were the same processes at work throughout the history of the Earth.

To put things in perspective, all of human history has occurred during the Quaternary.

The Pleistocene and the Quaternary both began 2.58 million years ago, with the beginning of our current ‘Icehouse Earth’ condition (yes, we’re currently in a brief pause in a much longer ice age).

The Holocene began approximately 11,700 years ago at the end of the last major glaciation.

Recently, there has been a movement within popular culture and among some scientists to designate a new epoch, named the ‘Anthropocene’, anthropo for “man” and cene for “new.” This epoch would date from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology, however, there is much debate on this topic.

Early on, there was no way to determine the actual age of earthen strata.

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