Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Fact Sheet 2007–3004

Precambrian Time—The Story of the Early Earth

Thumbnail of and link to PDF (24 MB)Download Publication
Fact Sheet
PDF (24 MB)
Right-Click to 'Download' or 'Save As'

The Precambrian is the least-understood part of Earth history, yet it is arguably the most important. Precambrian time spans almost nine-tenths of Earth history, from the formation of the Earth to the dawn of the Cambrian Period. It represents time so vast and long ago that it challenges all comprehension.

The Precambrian is the time of big questions. How old is the Earth? How old are the oldest rocks and continents? What was the early Earth like? What was the early atmosphere like? When did life appear, and what did it look like? And, how do we know this?

In recent years, remarkable progress has been made in understanding the early evolution of the Earth and life itself. Yet, the scientific story of the early Earth is still a work in progress, humankind’s latest attempt to understand the planet. Like previous attempts, it too will change as we learn more about the Earth. Read on to discover what we know now, in the early 21st century.

Version 1.0

Posted June 2007


Suggested citation:

Lindsey, D.A., 2007, Precambrian Time—The Story of the Early Earth: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2007-3004, 6 p.



Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Acrobat Reader, free of charge or go to access.adobe.com for free tools that allow visually impaired users to read PDF files.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2007/3004/index.html
Page Contact Information: USGS Publications Team
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, January 09 2013, 07:46:30 PM