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List of time periods

From Academic Kids

This is a list of named time periods defined in various fields of study.

Contents

Cosmological time periods

The cosmological timescale is the longest imaginable. It covers the entire extent of the universe - many billions of years. A short first period is measured in tiny fractions of seconds, but thereafter most things happen on the scale of billion years. It is used to consider events noticeable on a universal scale, such as the formation of matter, stars, and galaxies.

Geologic time periods

The geologic timescale covers the extent of the existence of Earth, from about 4600 million years ago to the present day. It is used to consider the formation and change of the Earth itself, and large-scale changes in the planet's inhabitants.

Dates are given as Millions of Years Ago (MYA).

EonEraPeriodEpoch
Precambrian (4600-544 MYA) Hadean (4600-3800 MYA)
Archaean (3800-2500 MYA)
Proterozoic (2500-544 MYA)
Phanerozoic (544 MYA - now) Paleozoic (544-245 MYA) Cambrian (544-505 MYA)
Ordovician (505-440 MYA)
Silurian (440-410 MYA)
Devonian (410-360 MYA)
Carboniferous (360-286 MYA)Mississippian (360-325 MYA)
Pennsylvanian (325-286 MYA)
Permian (286-245 MYA)
Mesozoic (245-65 MYA) Triassic (245-208 MYA)
Jurassic (208-146 MYA)
Cretaceous (146-65 MYA)
Cenozoic (65 MYA - now) Tertiary (65-1.8 MYA) Paleocene (65-54 MYA)
Eocene (54-38 MYA)
Oligocene (38-23 MYA)
Miocene (23-5 MYA)
Pliocene (5-1.8 MYA)
Quaternary (1.8 MYA - now) Pleistocene (1.8-0.01 MYA)
Holocene (0.01 MYA - now)


The Paleocene, the Eocene, and the Oligocene are also collectively known as the Paleogene. The Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene are also collectively known as the Neogene.

These names differ across different countries; in particular, the division of the Carboniferous period into Mississippian and Pennsylvanian is purely a North American distinction.

Human time periods

The "human" timescale covers the time that humans have existed, usually taken to be from about 250,000 years ago - when Homo Sapiens began to develop. It is broadly divided into prehistorical (before history began to be recorded) and historical periods (when written records began to be kept).

Calendar systems


Human historical periods

US History

periods overlap in some cases

Mythological and astrological time periods


  • Greek mythology
    • Golden Age, self-sufficient
    • Silver Age, self-indulgent
    • Brazen Age, warlike
    • Heroic Age, nobly aspirant
    • Iron Age, violent

Specialist human periods

There are many fields which have their own associated historical periods. These include:

See also

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