The Universe was born in the Big Bang 13 798 million years ago. TimeTrek is a timeline That portrays the history of the universe: each meter of the trek corresponds to a million years of time. The most notice events are marked on the route in Their correct time points. Additional information can be found by clicking the tittle of each time point box. 

kesäkuu 2015

  • The Big Bang and the history of the Universe. Image: Yinweichen, Wikimedia.

The Big Bang

13 798 million years – 13.8 kilometres

The Big Bang. The first particles are formed. During the first millisecond, protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms are formed. The nuclei of helium atoms, alpha-particles are formed when the universe’s age is 100-1000 seconds.

Image: Yinweichen | Wikimedia

  • Big bang nuclear synthesis. Image: adapted from

The age of matter begins

13 years 798 million – 13.8 kilometers

The first seconds of the universe. The age of matter begins.

Image: Adapted from Big Bang Central

  • The cosmic microwave background, the oldest light in the Universume, when it was only 380 000 old. These tiny differences represents the density fluctiations that seeded all later structures of the Universe. Image: Planck, ESA.

The background radiation begins its journey

13 798 million years – 13.8 kilometres

Neutrally charged hydrogen and helium atoms form. The continuous scattering of light ends. Photons of light escape freely into space, creating the cosmic microwave background. The temperature of the background radiation is 3000 K, or 2700 oC.

Image: ESA | Planck

  • There is no stars in the Universe.

The dark age

13 530 million years – 13.5 kilometres

The dark ages. Stars or galaxies have not been born yet. The cosmic microwave background has cooled to 55 K or −218 °C

  • Artist’s impression on very distant galaxy, which may have first generation stars. Image: M. Kornmesser, ESO.

The first stars

13 440 million years – 13.4 kilometres

The first stars are born (Population III). They are large, massive, bright and short-lived. They only contain hydrogen, helium and some lithium. Other heavier elements are born in the fusion reactions inside the stars. Depending on their mass, they explode as supernovae or hypernovae.

Image: M. Kornmesser | ESO

  • The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image that shows also some very old galaxies. Image:  G. Illingworth et al, R. Bouwens, HUDF09 Team, NASA, ESA

The formation of galaxies begins

13 200 million years – 13.2 kilometres

The second generation (Population II) star, HE 1523-0901, is born. The amount of iron in this star is only one-thousandth of the amount of iron in the Sun. This means that it cannot form planets around it. The formation of galaxies starts. The sparse interstellar material begins to reionize into plasma.

Image: G. Illingworth et al. | R. Bouwens | HUDF09 Team | NASA | ESA

  • Image taken by Hubble Space Telescope shows the globular cluster Messier 9. Image: Hubble, NASA, ESA.

Globular clusters

13 060 million years – 13.1 kilometres

Globular clusters, the oldest structures in our Milky Way, start to form. Many of these are still in existence today. The light from the galaxy HUFD.YD3 begins its journey towards the Earth. Due to the expansion of the Universe, this Galaxy is currently 30 billion light years away from us.

Image: Hubble | NASA | ESA

  • Formation of carbon at stars. Image: Borb, Wikimedia.

The elements of life start to form

12 610 million years – 12.6 kilometres

Large first and second generation stars are gradually forming the elements of life: carbon and oxygen, the necessary ingredient for water. The smaller second generation stars develop much slower and can still be found in our cosmic neighbourhood. The thin intergalactic material has been ionized into plasma.

Image: Borb | Wikimedia

  • Bright Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. Image: ESO.

Galaxy clusters

11 500 million years – 11.5 kilometres

The largest structures in the Universe, Galaxy clusters, begin to form. The local group of Galaxies consists of the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy as well as 50 smaller Galaxies. The closest Galaxy cluster is the Virgo cluster, with M87 as the dominant Galaxy. The Virgo cluster has about 2000 known Galaxies.

Image: ESO

  • Artist’s impression on quasar, a very distant galaxy with central blackhole. Image: M. Kornmesser, ESO.


11 010 million years – 11 kilometres

There is alot of active Galaxies, quasars. Quasars are the brightest objects in the Universe.

Kuva: M. Kornmesser | ESO

  • The Sculptor Galaxy is a starburst galaxy, which has a high rate of star formation. Image: R. Gendler et al., IDA, ESO.

Starburst galaxies

10 330 million years – 10.3 kilometres

Star formation is at its strongest in starburst Galaxies. Starburst Galaxies can have a hundred stars forming each year. In the Milky Way, only one star forms per year, on the average.

Image: R. Gendler et al. | IDA | ESO

  • The Milky Way. Image: S. Brunier, ESO.

The Milky Way

8 650 million years – 8.7 kilometres

The disk of the Milky Way is born. The first third generation stars (Population I) form. These stars can have Earth-like planets around them. It is still 4 billion years to the formation of the Solar System.

Image: S. Brunier | ESO

  • The Milky Way belongs into the Laniakea supercluster. Image: Tully et al, Nature, 2014.

Galactic superclusters

7 700 million years – 7.7 kilometres

Galactic superclusters start to form. Our galaxy belongs into the Laniakea super cluster, which includes the local Virgo galaxy cluster, and a huge number of other galaxy groups and clusters.

Kuva: Tully et al, Nature, 2014

  • Half of the history of the Universe is now behind. Image: Hanne Martelius.


6 900 million years – 6.9 kilometres

The age of the Universe is half of its present age. 216 300 000 000 000 000 seconds have passed since the Big Bang. Light travels around 65 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kilometers during this time.

Image: Hanne Martelius

  • The dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe. Image: Ann Feild, NASA.

Dark energy and the expansion

6 660 million years – 6.7 kilometres

The expansion of the Universe accelerates due to dark energy.

Image: Ann Feild | NASA

  • Artist’s impression of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b. Image: M. Kornmesser, N. Risinger,, ESO.

Exoplanet 51 Pegasi b

6 000 million years – 6 kilometres

The star, 51 Peg, is born. In 1994, it was the first star discovered to have a planet around it. The discovered planet is half as massive as Jupiter and orbits around the star in just over 4 days. The star is located in the middle of the right side of the large square in the constellation of Pegasus.

Image: M. Kornmesser | N. Risinger | | ESO

  • Sun-like star 61 Virginis, located about 30 light years away. Image: Kevin Heider, LightBuckets, Wikimedia.

Nearby star 61 Virginis

5 300 million years – 5.3 kilometres

A nearby star, 61 Virginis, is born. The star is Sun-like and has been found to host several planets. Two of the planets are around the size of Neptune and one of them is five times as massive as the Earth.

Kuva: Kevin Heider | LightBuckets | Wikimedia

  • Cassiopeia constellation.  η Cas is a binary star. Image. Torsten Bronger, Wikimedia.

Binary star η CAS

5 100 million years – 5.1 kilometres

The binary star η Cas is born. The star does not set below the horizon in Finland, and can thus be seen throughout the year. η Cas can be found in the middle-right of the W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia.

Kuva: Torsten Bronger | Wikimedia

  • Earth and the accretion disc. Image: Fahad Sulehrian.

Our solar system forms

4 568 million years  –  4.6 kilometres

Part of an interstellar gas cloud collapses into a spinning disk of gas. The gas and dust in the disk settle into a thin layer. During a few 10 million years it forms into planets. The Sun ignites. Formation of the Earth begins.

Kuva: Fahad Sulehrian

  • Asteroids of different sizes were impacting on the early Earth, which grew in size. Image: Ron Miller.

Earth is formed

4 568 million years – 4.6 kilometres

The Earth begins to form from silicates and iron. The material of the accretion disc forming the Earth is so hot that water and other volatile substances have evaporated. Water and nitrogen in the Earth’s atmosphere are accreted later from impacting asteroids and comets.

Image: Ron Miller

  • The Moon was formed, when Mars-sized object, Theia, collided with the Earth. Image: Ron Miller

Moon is formed

4 530 million years  –  4.5 kilometres

The Moon is formed, most likely by a Mars-sized object, Theia, colliding with proto-Earth. In Greek mythology Theia is the mother of Selene, the Moon. The Moon is accreted from material ejected by the collision.

Image: Ron Miller

  • Earth's layers are the core, the mantel and the crust. Image: Adapted from Nevetsjc, S, Wikimedia.

The layers of Earth differentiate

4 500 million years  –  4.5 kilometres

The core, mantle and crust of the Earth differentiate. The heavier elements sink to form the core, while lighter elements either rise or stay in place.

Image: Adapted from Nevetsjc | S | Wikimedia

  • Earth's crust is forming. Image: Walter Myers.

Earth’s crust forms

4 400 million years – 4.4 kilometres

The Earth reaches its current size. The first crust and the oldest known zircon crystals are formed. These have been found in the Yilgarn Craton at Jack Hills, Western Australia. Water vapor rains down and forms an ocean. The formation and differentiation of the core are complete.

Image: Walter Myers

  • The oldest rocks in the Earth are found from Nuvvuagittuq green stone belt at Northern Canada. The age of the stones is, however, under dispute. Image: Tillman, Wikimedia.

The oldest rocks

4 280 million years  –  4.3 kilometres

The oldest rocks that still exist are formed. These can be found now in the Hudson Bay area in Canada. In the Universe, the anti-gravity of dark energy starts to dominate over the gravity of matter.

Kuva: Tillman | Wikimedia

  • Earth was hit by an exceptionally large amount of various impactors about four billion years ago. Image: Ron Miller.

Heavy late bombardment

4 000 million years  – 4 kilometres

The Earth is bombarded by meteorites. The orbits of Jupiter and Saturn synchronize, causing Uranus and Neptune to change orbits. The inner Solar System is swarming with comets. Massive numbers of objects hit the Earth demolishing most of its surface.  If life had allready started, it was now destroyed. The large craters on the Moon are formed.

Kuva: Ron Miller

  • Life probably started at volcanic environment, such as fumarole field or inside the marine white smoker. Images: Óðinn and  NOOA, Wikimedia.

The origin of life

4 000 million years – 4 kilometres

Currently there is no single ’origin of life’ theory, but several contradictory hypotheses. We do not even know exactly when life started. Possible outline is likely to be following: First prebiotic chemistry produces building blocks of life and then, at the presence of suitable energy source, these monomers build up self-replicating RNA-chains and other biological macromolecules. Finally first living cells are formed from the biomolecules. Still, different hypothesis do not agree of the order or in what conditions these steps happened and structures developed.

Images: Óðinn | NOOA | Wikimedia

  • Carbonaceous inclusions from Isua.  The precense of carbon with biological origin has been suggested due to the isotopic ratios. However, this is under dispute. Mojzsis et al, Nature, 1996.

The first signs of life

3 800 million years – 3.8 kilometres

Life may allready be present in the oceans. Remains of the cells sedimented on to the ocean floor may have preserved in the oldest sedimentary rocks found from Isua, Greenland. However, the biological origin of these carbon inclusions is still uncertain.

Kuva: Mojzsis et al, Nature, 1996

  • Stromatolites 3.5 billion years ago. Image: Walter Myers.

Diverse microbes

3 500 million years  –  3.5 kilometres

Multi-species microbial growths are found in the seas as well as in rocks underground. Their fossils can be found in South Africa and Australia. Some of the species can produce energy from sunlight. This reaction does not produce oxygen yet. The trondhjemite gneiss of Siurua, Pudasjärvi, the oldest base rock in Europe, is formed.

Kuva: Walter Myers

  • Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae. In Cyanobacteria, a new form of photosynthesis was evolved:  Water donates electrons and is splitted. Oxygen is  the waste of this process. Image: Y. Tsukii, Protist Information Server.


3 000 million years – 3 kilometres

Oxygen-forming photosynthesis is starting, but the oxygen binds to minerals and the sea-water instead of being released into the atmosphere. The continents collide to form the Ur-supercontinent.

Image: Y. Tsukii | Protist Information Server

  • Karelian bedrock is very old. Image: Adapted from and Geophysics, Uppsala University.

The Karelian bedrock

2 700 million years  –  2.7 kilometres

A large part of the bedrock in northern and eastern Finland is formed. Plate tectonics move continents together, forming the Kenorland supercontinent. Kenorland breaks up 2500 million years ago.

Kuva: Adapted from | Geophysics, Uppsala University

  • Earth was covered by ice. Image: Fahad Sulehrian

Oxygen and the snowball Earth

2 300 million years – 2.3 kilometres

The great oxygenation event is taking place. Oxygen produced by cyanobacteria or ’blue-green algae’ oxidizes methane in the atmosphere into carbon dioxide and climate cools. Earth is totally covered by ice. Iron deposits onto the ocean floors in alternate layers of unoxidized and oxidized forms. This shows that the amount of oxygen in the oceans fluctuates over time.

Image: Fahad Sulehrian

  • Eukaryotes (plants, animals, fungi and protists) developed probably from symbiosis of a complex archaeon and a bacterium.  Without Eukaryotes there would be no complex multicellular life. Image: Adapted from Kelvinsong, Wikimedia.

The oxygen revolution and Eukaryotes

2 200 million years  –  2.2 kilometres

The oxygen produced by cyanobacteria or ’blue-green algae’ is accumulating into the atmosphere and causes the mass extinction of anaerobic microbes. Oxygen breathing bacteria live symbiotically inside eukaryotic cells. These evolve later to become mitochondria. Cyanobacteria form the stromatolites of Tervola’s Peuranpalo in Peräpohja.

Image: Adapted from Kelvinsong | Wikimedia

  • Volcanic eruption. Image: Wolfgangbeyer, Wikimedia

Volcanic islands in Southern Finland

1 900 million years – 1.9 kilometers

Southern Finland has active volcanic island arcs, with activity similar to the current volcanism in the Philippines. The signs made by the volcanic activity can be seen in the amphibolites of the Finnish bedrock. In additionk, the coal sacks of Aitolahti ( Corycium enigmaticum , or ’mysterious little sack’) are Formed. These were once Considered to be the oldest fossils in the world. They are now known to be microfossils That resemble cyanobacteria.

Image: Wolfgangbeyer | Wikimedia

  • Large mountain range similar to Himalaya or Alps, rised at Finland. Tian Shan from Himalayan belt is shown. Image: Chen Zhao, Wikimedia.

The bedrock in Southern Finland forms

1 880 million years – 1.9 kilometres

Micro-continents and island arcs collide in Finland. The collision is called the Fennian orogeny, and it forms the mountain chain of Karelides.

Image: Zhen Zhao | Wikimedia

  • Metamorphic sandstone or quartzite. Image:

Rifting at Finland

1 860 million years – 1.7 kilometres

The motion of lithosphere plates changes directions causing a stretching motion that forms large sedimentary basins in Finland. One example of these basins is the old sandstone of Tiirismaa in Hollola.

Image: Mikko Turunen,

  • Migmatite is a mixture of magma derived and metamorphic rocks, that formed due to the partial melting.

Metamorphic minerals forms

1 834 million years – 1.83 kilometres

The Saramantia continent from the south and the Amazonian continent from the west collide with the main Karelides area. This brings the present ground level of Southern Finland to the depth of 18 km, where the temperature is 800 °C.  New metamorphic minerals starts to form. Rocky material melts forming partially molten migmatites and completely molten granitic magma.

Image: Juha Ojanperä | Wikimedia

  • Halikonlahti is located to the old fault zone that was active 1.8 billion years ago. Image: Adapted from Google Maps.

Rifting at Southern Finland

1 800 million year – 1.8 kilometres

There is a rapid local rise of the Earth’s crust in the Fennoscandian shield. Shear- and fault zones are formed when the crust becomes brittle and breaks up. They show up now in south-west Finland as the deep bays, Halikonlahti and Mynälahti, as Kihti in the Finnish archipelago and as some of the lake basins in Finland.

Kuva: Adapted from  Google Maps

  • Supercontinent Columbia (or Nuna). Continents have several times collected together as supercontinents and again broken down to smaller parts. Image: Ari Brozinsky,

The Columbia supercontinent

1 700 million years  –  1.7 kilometres

The continents gather together and form the Columbia supercontinent 1.8 – 1.5 billion years ago.

Image: Ari Brozinsky |

  • Rapakivi granite. Image: Kevin Walsh, Wikimedia.

Rapakivi granite

1 600 million years  –  1.6 kilometres

Large magmatic rapakivi granite intrudes extensive parts of the upper crust in the Fennoscandian area. The marker-stones of the Time Trek are equigranular rapakivi granite from Taivassalo.

Image: Kevin Walsh | Wikimedia

  • First algae evolve, when a photosynthetic cyanobacteria was taken inside of an early eukaryotic cell. Image: Adapted from Kelvinsong, Wikimedia.

First algae

1 500 million years  –  1.5 kilometres

First algae evolve, when a photosynthetic cyanobacteria is taken inside of an early eukaryotic cell. These cyanobacteria develope to the chloroplasts. The Columbia supercontinent breaks up around 1500–1300 million years ago.

Image: Adapted from Kelvinsong | Wikimedia

  • Olivine diabase dike. Image: Ari Brozinski.

The Olivine diabases of Satakunta

1 275 million years  –  1.3 kilometres

The olivine diabase found in the Satakunta province originates from the Earth’s mantle and represents the eruption vents of ancient volcanoes. Olivine diabase is an excellent stone for sauna stoves. Also sandstone deposits are formed at Satakunta.

Kuva: Ari Brozinski

  • Red algae were early multicellular organisms. Image: Narrissa Spies, Wikimedia.

Multicellularity: Red algae

1 200 million years – 1.2 kilometres

Multi-cellular filamentous red algae evolve. Multicellularity enables cells to specialize for different tasks and the development of large organisms.

Kuva: Narrissa Spies | Wikimedia

  • Supercontinent Rodinia. Continents have several times collected together as supercontinents and again broken down to smaller parts. Image: Ari Brozinsky,

The Rodinia supercontinent

900 million years  –  900 metres

The continents merge, due to plate tectonics, to form the Rodinia supercontinent. Oxygen-producing photosynthesis binds carbon dioxide. Volcanic activity is low. There is only a small amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Earth starts to cool into a Snowball Earth.

Kuva: Ari Brozinsky |

  • Earth was covered by ice. Image: Fahad Sulehrian

The first animals at the ice planet

660 million years – 660 metres

Most of the Earth is covered by glaciers, even close to the equator. There is a substantial amount of sea ice. Glaciations cause extinctions and the vacated ecological niches are filled with new species during the warmer periods. The first animals, early sponges, evolve.

Kuva: Fahad Sulehrian

  • The open clusters of Praesepe. Image: Miguel Garcia, Wikimedia

The open clusters of Praesepe

625 million years  –  625 metres

The open clusters in the constellation of Hyades and Cancer are born.

Image: Miguel Garcia | Wikimedia

  • Ediacaran animals were soft bodied and often sessile. Image: Christian Jegou.

Soft sessile animals

575 million years – 575 metres

The Ediacara biota diversifies in the expanding shallow seas. These thin soft-bodied animals include early forms of polyps, medusas and sponges  – and some hardly classifiable organisms. Southern Finland is partially covered by sea.

Image: Christian Jegou

  • Anomalocaris was one meter long giant predator of its own time. Image: Walter Myers.

Animals diversify!

541 million years – 541 meters

Animals DiVERSiFY Rapidly. Marine oxygen content is rising, predators evolve and many groups, such as Trilobites, evolve a hard shell, Which causes Their fossils To Remain intact. Most of the major groups of animals, such as chordates, emerge. This Diversification is called the Cambrian explosion. South-western Finland is covered by a shallow sea.

Image: Walter Myers

  • Animal life diversification continued. Here orthoceratites, trilobites and seastars are shown. Image: Walter Myers.

Shallow seas are bustling with life

485 million years – 485 metres

The surface of the oceans is at its highest. Animal diversification continues. The first vertebrates evolve. Corals, Orthocerai, moss animals, brachiopods, trilobites and the first vertebrates form limestone sediments in the Baltic Sea region.

Kuva: Walter Myers

  • First plants were liverworts and first land-animals millipede like arthropods. Image: Walter Myers.

Plants and animals rise to the land

470 million years  –  470 metres

Liverworts and Arthropods rise to the dry land as first plants and land animals. Due to a collision of asteroids, the Earth is subjected to a powerful meteorite shower. It does not cause large-scale extinction, but accelerates the evolution of new species in the Baltic and other seas.

Kuva: Walter Myers

  • Glaciers are binding water and sealevels are getting lower. Image: Edubucher, Wikimedia.

Ice ages cause extinctions

444 million years  –  444 metres

The continents freeze while moving through the southern polar region. The forming glaciers bind water and the sea level drops. Eighty-five per cent of the organisms in shallow seas go extinct.

Image: Edubucher | Wikimedia

  • Early vascular plants from genus Gosslingia. Image: Walter Myers.

First vascular plants

425 million years  –  425 metres

First vascular plants evolve. Placodermi, the first vertebrates with jaws, and the cartilaginous fishes, the progenitors of sharks and rays, live in the seas. The European and American continents collide, forming the Caledonian mountain chain.

Image: Walter Myers.

  • Early amphibian, Ichthyostega. First tetrapods evolved from fish with stalked fins. Image: Walter Myers.

Verbetrates crawl to land

370 million years – 370 metres

Fish and land flora diversify. Amphibians and insects appear in the fauna. The Caledonian mountain chain, as high as the Himalayas, starts to erode. Thick fluvial deposits cover southern Finland. The Scandinavian Mountains, Scottish highlands and the Appalachian Mountains are remnants of the Caledonian mountain chain.

Kuva: Walter Myers

  • Meganeura giant dragonfly at Carboniferous forest. Image: Walter Myers.

From swamp forests to coal

300 million years – 300 metres

Climate is cooling due to the movements of continents and decreasing carbon dioxide bound by swamp forests. Glaciations cause large fluctuations in sea level and tens of metres tall fern forests form the majority of the Earth’s present coal deposits. Amphibians diversify and first reptiles evolve. Most of the current insect groups develope and the Meganeura dragonfly hase a wingspan of over 70 cm.  Finland is in the tropics.

Photo: Walter Myers

  • Lycaenops was a predator that belonged to therapsids.  Therapisids was the synapisid subgroup from which the mammals evolved. Image:  Walter Myers.

’Proto-mammals’ in Pangea

270 million years –  270 meters

The supercontinent Pangea is at its widest. The ice age ends and the climate begins to warm. Conifers and ’proto-mammals’ or Synapsids DiVERSiFY. 

Photo: Walter Myers

  • Massive flood basalt eruptions took place at Siberia at late Permian. Image: Ron Miller.

The great dying

252 million years – 252 metres

90% of all species go extinct. The most likely explanation is the climate change caused by massive flood basalt eruptions at Siberia or but an asteroid impact is also a possibility.  The oldest ocean bottoms are of this age, thus older signs of life or asteroid collisions cannot be found in the oceans. Shallow inland seas dry up and form sediments of rock salts.

Image: Ron Miller

  • Coelophysis was an early dinosaur from Triassic period.

The first dinosaurs

220 million years – 220 meters

The supercontinent Pangea is starting to break up. The climate is hot and dry. Surfaces of the oceans are high. Reptiles DiVERSiFY. The early turtles, dinosaurs and mammals evolve. There are large forests of Cycads, palms or cone. Erosion has removed evidence of These sediments in Finland. The Solar System is in the same part of the Milky Way as it is now.

Image: Walter Myers

  • Pangea is starting to broke up. Image: Christopher R. Scotese

Extinction makes space for dinosaurs

201 million years  –  201 metres

The climate changes related to changes in sea level, asteroid collisions or volcanic activity cause about half of all species to go extinct. The first crocodiles evolve.

Image: Christopher R. Scotese.

  • Jurassic scenery: Diplodocus sauropods, Pterodactyls and confiers. Image: Walter Myers.

Dinosaurs diversify

150 million years –  150 metres

The climate is hot and humid. Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs diversify. For example, large Sauropods are common. Birds evolve. The Earth is covered by coniferous trees, Cycas and ferns. The oceans have plenty of Ammonites. Single-celled calcified haptophytes become common. Continents separate and the Atlantic Ocean expands.

Kuva: Walter Myers

  • Small theropod  Deinonychus and huge sauropod Sauroposeidon that is eating early flowering plants. Velociraptors in the movie Jurassic Park were based on Deinonychus.  Image: Walter Myers

Flowering plants and feathers

100 million years  –  100 metres

Flowering plants are spreading.  Dinosaurs are diverse and many theropod predatory dinosaurs, including birds, possess feathers. Marsupials evolve.  The mid-oceanic ridges are volcanically active, the carbondioxide content of the atmosphere is high and the climate is warm. The Pleiades, an open cluster, is born. The gas and dust similar to the original cloud can still be seen in photographs.

Image: Walter Myers

  • Lappajärvi is a meteorite crater. Image: Google Maps

The Lappajärvi meteorite

73 million years  –  73 meters

An asteroid, with a diameter of about 500 m, hits Lappajärvi at about 50 km per second. The impact is equivalent to a million Hiroshima atomic bombs, but without the radioactive radiation. The explosion kills everything within a few hundred kilometres.

Kuva: Google Maps

  • Sea level were very high at late Cretaceous.

High sea levels and tyrannosaurs

70 million years – 70 meters

The atmospheric carbondioxide content and the average temperature are high. The oceans are at their maximum height. Most of Europe is covered by a shallow sea. Many chalk deposits, such as the Cliffs of Dover, are formed from the sediments of Haptophyte algaea. Flowering plants are spreading. Dinosaurs are diverse, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex evolves.

Kuva: Christopher R. Scotese

  • Majority of dinosaurs and all pterosaurs went extinct after large asteroid impact. Image: Mark A. Garlick

The destruction of the dinosaurs

66 million years  –  66 metres

An asteroid, with a diameter of about 10 km, hits the Yucatan peninsula. There is a massive Deccan flood basaltic eruption in  India. There is a lot of dust and ash in the atmosphere. Catastrophically rapid changes happen: the temperature plummets, the ozone-layer is destroyed and acid rains become common. Most of the dinosaurs, all pterosaurs and many sea-creatures, such as Ammonites and Belemnites, go extinct.

Kuva: Mark A. Garlick

  • The placental ancestor according O'Leary et al. Image: Carl Buell, O'Leary et al, Science 2013.

Mammals diversify

60 million years – 60 metres

Placental mammals and marsupials diversify. The first insectivores, primates and rodents evolve.

Image: Carl Buell | O’Leary et al, Science 2013

  • Sea level is still high: Image: Christopher R. Scotese

Warm climate

48 million years – 48 meters

The climate is very warm and the ocean levels are still high. The Baltics and Finland are intermittently under a shallow sea. Baltic amber forms. A lot of new mammals evolve, such as hoofed animals. Pakicetus, a wolf-like progenitor of whales, lives in Asia.

Image: Cristopher R. Scotese

  • The Alps. Image: M. Klüber, Wikimedia.

The Alps rise

40 million years  –  40 meters

The Alps rise as Africa collides with Europe. The main groups of mammals and over half of the current orders of birds exist.

Image: M. Klüber | Wikimedia

  • Isthmus between Antarctica and South America breaks and cold sea current starts to cool the climate. Map: Christopher R. Scotese

Cooling begins

34 million years – 34 metres

The isthmus that connects South America and Antarctica breaks. The cold ocean-current circling Antarctica starts. Antarctica starts to cool down and glaciate.

Map: Christopher R. Scotese

  • Eusmilus, a false saber tooth cat, hunting Palaeotherium, smallish horse related animal. Image:  Deagostini, UIG, Science Photo Library.

Grasslands and sabreteeth.

25 million years  –  25 metres

Open grasslands are common. There are plenty of sabre-toothed carnivores around. Flowering plants evolve and speciate.

Image: Deagostini | UIG | Science photo library

  • Orion nebula. Image:  M.Roberto, Hubble, NASA, ESA.

The Orion nebula

10 million years  –  10 metres

The Great Orion Nebula is formed. It would have been first seen as a large black splotch on the sky. Nowadays the nebula is lit up by the young stars in front of it. Stars are still forming in the dark interiors of the cloud. The climate continues to cool. The first deer and elephants evolve.

Kuva: M. Robberto | Hubble | NASA | ESA

  • Africa dries up to savannah. Image: Dr. Thomas Wagner, Wikimedia.

Eastern Africa dries up to savannah

6 million years  –  6 meters

The rise of the bedrock at the Strait of Gibraltar and the fluctuations of the sea-level isolate Mediterranean. As an inland sea it dries multiple times into a salt desert. Eastern Africa dries up and the ape man moves to the savannah. The largest known bird, Argentavis, with a wingspan of over 7 m, flies in the skies of South America searching for carrion.

Image: Thomas Wagner | Wikimedia

  • Ardipithecus ramidus was an ancient hominid with upright posture.
Image: Roman Uchytel

The bipedal hominin

4 million years – 4 metres

Ardipithecus ramidus wanders on two feet in Africa. North America has horned rodents that resemble ground hogs.

Kuva: Roman Uchytel

  • Closing of the Panama isthmus changed the sea current, which may have cooled the earth and contributed to the current ice-house climate. Arrows adapted from Oceanus Magazine, Map: Christopher R. Scotese.

The current glacial period begins

3 million years  –  3 metres

The Isthmus of Panama rises and the thermal exchange between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans ceases. The waters in the Atlantic cool and the latest ice-age begins in Scandinavia. Hominids make the first tools. South America has rodents that weigh as much as a tonne.

Arrows adapted from Oceanus Magazine, Map: Christopher R. Scotese

  • It is not known what the night sky looked one million years ago. Image:

The changing night sky

1 million years  – 1 metre

The Solar System wanders, with respect to the neighbouring stars, about 65 light years in a million years. The night time sky looks completely different from what it is now. The glaciations in northern Europe are more wide-spread and last longer. The large islands of the Mediterranean have small elephants.


  • Modern human, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa 200 000 years ago. Image: Human Origins Program, Smithsonian Institution.

The modern human

200 000 years  –  20 centimetres

Modern human, Homo sapiens, evolves in Africa. The change in the inclination of the Earth’s axis and the changing shape of the Earth’s orbit causes climate to vary in 40 000–100 000 year cycles. The glaciation accelerates the evolutionary process.

Image: Human Origins Program | Smithsonian Institution

  • Spreading of Homo sapiens. Other human species were allready living in Europe and Asia. Image: NordNordWest, Wikimedia.

Modern human moves to Europe

60 000 years  –  6 centimetres

The glaciers grow and bind a lot of water. Ocean levels drop and the Red Sea dries up. Modern human moves from Africa to Europe. The constellations in the sky are recognizable.

Kuva: NordNordWest | Wikimedia

  • Neanderthal human went extinct  about 28 000 years ago. Image: Roman Uchytel.

Neanderthals disappear

30 years 000 – 30 centimeters

Southern Finland is a productive steppe with wandering mammoths. Europe has cave lions, woolly rhinoceri and giant goats. Many human species are still alive. Our nearest relative, the Neanderthal man, goes extinct. Modern human makes the cave paintings at Europe.

Photo: Roman Uchytel

  • Due to the spinning precession of the Earth’s axis, the celestial poles move in 25 700 year cycles. Image: Mysid, NASA, Wikimedia and Tau'olunga, Wikimedia.

Precession and the Polar Star

23 000 years  –  23 centimetres

Due to the spinning precession of the Earth’s axis, the celestial poles move in 25 700 year cycles. The current North Star, Polaris, was the North Star for the previous time.

Kuva: Mysid | NASA | Wikimedia ja Tauʻolunga | Wikimedia

  • The Scandinavian glacier covered all of Finland. Image: GlacierHub, NASA.

The last ice age

20 000 years  –  2 centimetres

The Scandinavian glacier covers all of Finland. The southern edge is as far as northern Germany. Southwestern Finland’s bedrock sinks 2 km under the weight of the ice.

Image: Glacier Hub | NASA

  • The edge of the  glacier retreated quickly. Image: Christof Berger, Wikimedia.

The ice retreats

11 700 years  –  1.2 centimetres

The climate heats up 5–10 °C during a few decades. The glacier melts and the edge retreats quickly in south-western Finland. The edge of the glacier is in water, 100 m deep, with icebergs floating in it, just like modern Greenland.

Image: Christof Berger | Wikimedia

  • Agriculture and animal husbandry started in the Near East region at about 12 000 years ago. Image: Christian Jegou.


11 500 years  –  1.2 centimetres

Agriculture and related socio-cultural evolution begin in the Middle East. 

Image: Christian Jegou

  • The extinction of megafauna was probably due to the combined effect of humans and climate change. Image: Dorling Kindersley, GettyImages.

Extinction of the large mammals

10 000 years – 1 centimetre

A large amount of ice age mammals go extinct and grass-plains start to grow forrest. First people settle Finland.

Image: Dorling Kindersley | GettyImages

  • Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. Image: Christian Jegou.

The first civilizations

5 000 years  –  5 millimetres

The first civilizations are established in Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. Writing is invented. Indicators of civilization are: advanced agriculture, city-dwelling, specialized professions, advanced governance and writing. The motions of the celestial bodies are used for calendars.

Kuva: Christian Jegou

  • Galileo Galilei is showing the telescope to the Doge of Venice. Image:  Giuseppi Bertini, Wikimedia.

The scientific revolution

 400 years – 0.4 millimetres

The natural sciences develop, people take more interest in the surrounding world, and the role of religion becomes smaller. The heliocentric model of the Solar system replaces the geocentric model. The Great Voyages are changing the worldview and creating the bases for the colonialism.

Image:  Giuseppi Bertini | Wikimedia

  • Hetton Colliery coal mine. Steam engines running on coal were utilized in the coal production. Image: The Art Archive, Alamy Stock Photo.

The industrial revolution

150 years  –  0.15 millimetres

The industrial revolution changes society and human relationship to earth.  The scale of geological times is understood and the theory of evolution refutes the ancient claim that species do not change.

Image: The Art Archive | Alamy Stock Photo

  • View to the New York. Urbanization changed the land use. Kuva: Irwing Underhill, Wikimedia.

Humans are changing the Earth

60 years ago  –  0.06 millimetres

Rapid population growth associated with industrialization, intensive farming and urbanization are changing geological processes on the Earth and causing extinctions. The structure of DNA and the genetic code is deciphered. The concept of plate tectonics is emerging. Manned space flights begin, and within 10 years man sets foot on another celestial body, the Moon.

Kuva: Irwing Underhill | Wikimedia

  • The climate is warming. Image: NOAA, Emily Greenhalgh, Marcott et al, Science 2013.

Climate is warming

Now – Here

Humans are affecting the Earths climate. The genomes of organisms can be changed in a controlled way. Humans’ relationship to natural selection has changed. Information technology is changing society all over the globe. Earth-like planets are discovered in habitable zones around their host stars.

Image: NOAA | Emily Greenhalgh | Marcott et al, Science, 2013