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Because the composition of the rocks retrieved from the Moon by the Apollo missions is very similar to rocks from the Earth, it is thought that the Moon formed as a result of a collision between the young Earth and a Mars-sized body, sometimes called Theia, which accreted at a Lagrangian point 60° ahead or behind the Earth.
A cataclysmic meteorite bombardment (the Late Heavy Bombardment) of the Moon and the Earth 3,900 million years ago is thought to have been caused by impacts of planetesimals which were originally beyond the Earth, but whose orbits were destabilized by the migration of Jupiter and Saturn during the formation of the solar system.
The Moon is 357,000 km from Earth. Ediacaran (Vendian) Period (630 to 542 mya) - 600 mya: Formation of the supercontinent Pannotia - 600 mya: Earth day is 20.7 hours long. - 590 mya: Meteor impact, 90 km crater Acraman, South Australia - 580 mya: Soft-bodied organisms developed: Jellyfish, Tribrachidium, and Cambrian Period (542 to 488.3 mya) - Abundance of multicellular life. Evidence of anoxia in oceanic bottom waters, and global cooling.
- Most of the major groups of animals first appear Tommotian Stage (534 to 530 mya) - 510 mya: Vertebrates appeared in the ocean. Ordovician Period (488.3 to 443.7 mya) - diverse marine invertebrates, such as trilobites, became common - First green plants and fungi on land. Surface temperatures dropped from about 93°F (34°C) to about 78°F (26°C) - 370 mya: First trees appeared - 359 mya: Meteor impact, 40 km crater Woodleigh, Australia Carboniferous Period (359.2 to 299 mya) Mississippian Epoch (359.2 to 318.1 mya) (Lower Carboniferous) - 350 mya: Beginning of Karoo ice age.
Astronomical and geological evidence indicates that the Universe is approximately 13,820 million years old, and our solar system is about 4,567 million years old.
The supercontinent Rodinia was formed about 1100 million years ago, and it broke into several pieces that drifted apart 750 million years ago.
- Formation of carbonate minerals starts reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Eoarchean Era (4000 to 3600 mya) - 4000 mya: The Earth's crust cooled and solidified. - Earth day is 15 hours long Paleoarchean Era (3600 to 3200 mya) Start of Plate Tectonics - 3600 mya: Formation of first supercontinent Vaalbara. - 2500 mya: First free oxygen is found in the oceans and atmosphere.
- 3500 mya: Monocellular life started ( - Oldest unambiguous microfossils date from this era. Neoarchean Era (2800 to 2500 mya) - 2800 mya: Break up of supercontinent Vaalbara. Banded Iron Formations - 2400 mya: Great Oxidation Event, also called the Oxygen Catastrophe.
- 950 mya: Start of Stuartian-Varangian ice age - 900 mya: Earth day is 18 hours long. - 400 mya: Land animals appeared, wingless insects - 376 mya: Viluy Traps Large Igneous Province volcanic eruption - 375 mya: Vertebrates with legs, such as of 70% of marine species.
The Moon is 350,000 km from Earth. Cryogenian Period (850 to 630 mya) - 750 mya: Breakup of Rodinia - 750 mya: End of last magnetic reversal - 650 mya: of 70% of dominant sea plants due to global glaciation ("Snowball Earth" hypothesis). This was a prolonged series of extinctions occurring over 20 million years.