|Topics||Cambrian Period, Comets, Crust, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Geologic Time Scale|
The Cambrian period is one of the most significant geological time periods. Lasting about 53 million years, it marked a dramatic burst of changes in life on Earth known as the Cambrian Explosion. It is from this period that the majority of the history of life on Earth, as documented by fossils, is found. Called the fossil record, the layering of these mineralized imprints of organisms preserved in sedementary rock have allowed geologists to build a historical record of plant and animal life on Earth.
A comet is a loose collection of ice, dust, and small rocky particles that, in contrast to an asteroid, has an extended atmosphere surrounding the center. When passing close to the Sun, this atmosphere warms and begins to release gases forming a visible coma or tail.
The crust is the Earth's outermost layer and is divided into oceanic and continental types. Oceanic crust is 3 miles (5 km) to 6 miles (10 km) thick and is composed primarily of denser rock. Continental crust is 20 to 30 miles (30 to 50 km) thick and composed primarily of less dense rock. The crust makes up approximately one percent of the Earth's total volume.
The electromagnetic spectrum covers all possible wavelengths and frequencies of radiation. From lowest frequency (longest wavelength) to highest frequency (shortest wavelength) radiation: radio waves → microwaves → infrared waves → visible light → ultraviolet light → X-rays → gamma rays.
The Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and its history is divided into time periods based on the events that took place and the forms of life that were dominant during those periods. The largest graduation of time is the eon and each eon is subdivided into eras, eras into periods, periods into epochs, and epochs into ages.