Time Is A Slinky. And Everyone Loves A Slinky

Full scale PDF version is available here.
I cannot imagine that the US Geological Survey store is a place that overburdens the federal government with supplemental income. However, the above poster, as designed by  Joseph Graham, William Newman, and John Stacey, might be reason enough to rack up a little more credit card debt. The image condenses the entire geological history of the Earth, from the moment of the coalescion 4.5 billion years ago to the modern era, seen at the fore of the image.

And it provides us yet another tool in our belts helping to illustrate the concept of Deep Time. For while the spiral above may not be to scale, the fact that life doesn't really begin to show up until the second rung down, and that truly complex land life is less than one revelation away should hammer home the notion that there are vast, unimaginable gulfs of time where there was nothing but rock on this fair planet of ours, alternating between very cold and very hot. That the millions of years that separate us from the dinosaurs, and the millions of years that separate dinosaurs from the trilobites are pond hops compared to the eons that passed between formation and anything else. And we, and all we think we are, are a hangnail on the raggedy edge of an even deeper gulf.

Gee, that got kind of dark and pessimistically philosophical there at the end. Sorry about that.

Via The Mary Sue.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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