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The Burgess Shale and its Place in Geological Time

February 6, 2019



If you have difficulty conceiving of a million years, much less more than four billion, try imagining over 4.5 billion years of geologic time compressed into one year. Each day would represent a little more than 12 million years and the following significant days would occur:


Formation of planet Earth: January 1


Meteor bombardment ends: February 17


 Simple cellular life appears: March 20


Atmospheric oxygen becomes abundant: July 22


Burgess Shale fauna appears: November 20


First land plants: November 28


Permian extinction: December 13


Dinosaurs present: December 21-27


End-Cretaceous extinction: December 27


Pleistocene glaciations begin: December 31, 8:45 pm


Ancestral Humans: December 31, 9:07 pm


Homo sapiens: December 31, 11:45 pm




Revised for web format from “A Geoscience Guide to the Burgess Shale” by Murray Coppold and Wayne Powell, © The Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation. To purchase this book, please go to: the Yoho National Park Visitors Centre, Alpine Book Peddlers,, or

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