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Cryptic era

The Cryptic era is an informal term that refers to the earliest geologic evolution of the Earth and Moon. It is the oldest era of the (informal) Hadean eon, and it is commonly accepted to have begun close to 4567.17 million (about 4.6 billion) years ago [1] when the Earth and Moon formed. No samples exist to date the transition between the Cryptic era and the following Basin Groups era for the Moon (see also Pre-Nectarian), though sometimes it is stated that this era ended 4150 million years ago for one or both of these bodies.[2] Neither this time period, nor any other Hadean subdivision, has been officially recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy.

This time is cryptic because very little geological evidence has survived from this time. Most geological landforms and rocks were probably destroyed in the early bombardment phase, or by the continued effects of plate tectonics. The Earth accreted, its interior differentiated and its molten surface solidified during the Cryptic era. The proposed collision (Giant impact theory) that led to formation of the Moon occurred also at this time. The oldest known minerals are from the Cryptic era.[3]

Hadean Eon
The Hadean is not formally recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. The following subdivisions represent one proposal that is loosely based on the lunar geologic time scale.
Cryptic Basin Groups Nectarian Lower Imbrian

See also

* Geological time scale (Earth)
* Lunar geologic time scale


1. ^ Amelin, Yuri; Krot, Hutcheon, and Ulyanov (September 6 2002). "Lead Isotopic Ages of Chondrules and Calcium-Aluminum-Rich Inclusions". Science 297 (5587): 1678–1683. doi:10.1126/science.1073950. PMID 12215641. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;297/5587/1678.
2. ^ Harland, Walter Brian , et al. (1989) A Geologic Time Scale 1989 Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, Fig. 1.7 on page 10
3. ^ Wilde, S. A.; Valley, J.W.; Peck, W.H. and Graham, C.M. (2001) "Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago" Nature 409: pp. 175-178 Abstract

External links

* "Cryptic" Geowhen Database

Geologic time scale

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