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This clock representation shows some of the major units of geological time and definitive events of Earth history.

The Hadean eon represents the time before fossil record of life on Earth; its upper boundary is now regarded as 4.0 Ga (billion years ago).

The geological time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy) to time, and is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth’s history.

The table of geologic time spans, presented here, agrees with the nomenclature, dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy.

Evidence from radiometric dating indicates that Earth is about 4.54 billion years old.

The geology or deep time of Earth’s past has been organized into various units according to events which took place in each period.

Different spans of time on the GTS are usually marked by changes in the composition of strata which correspond to those, and indicate major geological or paleontological events, such as mass extinctions.

For example, the boundary between the Cretaceous period and the Paleogene period is defined by the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which marked the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs and many other groups of life.

Older time spans, which predate the reliable fossil record (before the Proterozoic Eon), are defined by their absolute age.

Some other planets and moons within the Solar System have sufficiently rigid structures to have preserved records of their own histories, for example, Venus, Mars and the Earth's Moon.

Dominantly fluid planets, such as the gas giants, do not preserve their history in a comparable manner.

Apart from the Late Heavy Bombardment, events on other planets probably had little direct influence on the Earth, and events on Earth had correspondingly little effect on those planets.

Construction of a time scale that links the planets is, therefore, of only limited relevance to the Earth's time scale, except in the whole-solar-system context.