The Earth's "Boring Billion" Years Were Anything But | Summary and Q&A

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September 8, 2023
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The Earth's "Boring Billion" Years Were Anything But

TL;DR

The "Boring Billion" refers to a period in Earth's history where not much changed, including oxygen levels, continental movement, and the number of hours in a day.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the Great Oxygenation Event impact Earth's climate during the Boring Billion?

During the Boring Billion, the Great Oxygenation Event caused temperatures to drop and resulted in a global Ice Age that lasted for over 200 million years.

Q: What impact did the lack of mountain formation have on life during the Boring Billion?

The absence of new mountain ranges meant fewer minerals were eroded and provided fewer nutrients to the organisms living in the oceans, resulting in a slow development of complex life.

Q: How did the length of the day change during the Boring Billion?

The length of the day hit pause at 19 hours, possibly due to the balance between the torques exerted by the moon and the sun.

Q: What caused the lengthening of the day to hit pause during the Boring Billion?

The evolution of photosynthetic cyanobacteria, which indirectly created the ozone layer, balanced out the torques from the moon and the sun, causing the Earth's spin to stop slowing down at 19 hours a day.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Boring Billion refers to a period in Earth's history starting 1.8 billion years ago when not much changed.

  • Oxygen levels and temperatures dropped, causing a global Ice Age, but also led to the formation of the ozone layer.

  • The length of the day hit pause at 19 hours, possibly due to the balance between the torques exerted by the moon and the sun.

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