Geologic Time Scale

I was never, ever, able to get a glimpse of scale when reading about the history of our planet. When I read about when the Earth formed, when the first plants appeared, when the first animals came out from the water, or when some kind of hominids first appeared…
all of this seemed to happen in a not-so-well-defined time.

So I gave myself this challenge, using and its children pages as stating point:

  1. remember the Geological Time Scale (GTS) main subdivisions: names and times
  2. remember the main facts happening at each supereon/eon/era/…

The GTS structure seems perfect for a mind mapping approach, in fact I quickly sketched its tree structure. But though I like mind maps a lot, personally I was never convinced they are a great help in memorization.
So I simply placed the GTS facts in the building where I work, with the Precambrian supereon in the basement, and the three eons of the Phanerozoic at ground floor, 1st and 2nd floor. Each period is an office, apart from the Cenozoic where each epoch is an office.
Entering an office I am greeted by a Person/Action which tells me the beginning/end times, while the rest of the office can be filled with unsettling images like molten lava, growing ferns, hominids… appropriate for that time

Possibly something that wont interest many people - it was just something that I knew I had to learn sooner or later - but I’d like to know what do you think!


1 Like

Good idea. I would like to try memorizing that…

Any ideas on how to go about this? I’m thinking the standard. I’ve got a memory palace with about 65 pegs ready. But the chart gives you up to four levels of subdivision. How do you handle that? Images for numbers from 0-99 aren’t a problem either. ( As you can tell, I’m very new at this … addictive stuff though, I got to say. )

It looks like a challenge.

Maybe it would be good to memorize the periods in order – there are about 23. Then be prepared to make up to 14 or 15 loci sub-journeys for the epochs and ages. Maybe it could be done with 23 journeys through 23 cafes or shops. Each shop would be one period. Each locus would be one age, or a combination of epochs and ages.

The eras, eons, and supereons look much easier. They could probably be added later. For example, an image for Paleozoic could be put at the beginning of the Cambrian, and then an image for Mesozoic at the beginning of the Triassic.

Then, a journey would start at the Triassic beginning with the Induan and ending with the Rhaetian. One would also need a way to distinguish which ages are associated with each Triassic epoch. Since it’s easy for Triassic (Lower, Middle, Upper), I might not use loci for those, but just figure out a way to tag the ages with one of the three Triassic epochs.

I’m just brainstorming out loud. There may be a better way to do it. :slight_smile:

Simpler, non-loci approach to memorizing the order:

Of course, the classic way to visualize the geologic time scale (all the way back to the formation of the Earth) is by using toilet paper:

Good idea…

Camels Often Sit Down Most Peculiarly, Perhaps Their Joints Creak, Perhaps Early Oiling Might Prevent Permanent Hobbling or Rheumatism.
Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Holocene or Recent.

I wonder how it could be expanded…

An eon is a really big chunk of time and there have been only 4 since the earth kicked off as a ball of flames! So it is split up in lots of smaller chunks.

So in the same way a second is a piece that makes up a minute which is a part of an hour. So too

An Eon is the hour,
an Era is a minute
and a Period is a second.

To do this memory challenge I used my old home and split the Eons into the main room, in the centre of the room was the era and then the periods happening around them.

Eg. the
Cambrian period (second) occurs in the
Paleozoic era (minute)
Phanerozoic Ion (hour)

Remembered as the room (living room)
Phanerozoic - A ceiling (FAN) that is pink (HER) with a hose blowing (HOSE) in the breeze reminds me of
Fan - her - hose - ic EON

In the middle of the room is a bucket or pail of leo the lions that have escaped from the zoo, telling me its the
Pale - leo zoo ic ERA

Around the room going clockwise is a series of events or Periods. the first is the Cambridge rowing team desperately rowing on the carpet and the rower is none other than Brain the dog (Family Guy) telling me it’s the
Cam - Brian period
Cambrian Period

Hope this helps, let me know how you get on.