2500 - 1600 million years ago
The Paleoproterozoic (//; also Palaeoproterozoic) is the first of the three sub-divisions (eras) of the Proterozoic occurring between . This is when the continents first stabilized. This is also when cyanobacteria evolved, a type of bacteria which uses the biochemical process of photosynthesis to produce energy and oxygen.
Paleontological evidence on the Earth's rotational history suggests that ~1.8 billion years ago, there were about 450 days in a year, implying 20 hour days.
Before the significant increase in atmospheric oxygen almost all life that existed was anaerobic, that is, the metabolism of life depended on a form of cellular respiration that did not require oxygen.
Free oxygen in large amounts is toxic to most anaerobic bacteria. It is widely believed that the majority of existent anaerobic life on Earth died off. The only life that remained was either resistant to the oxidizing and poisonous effects of oxygen, or spent its life-cycle in an oxygen-free environment. This main event is called the oxygen catastrophe.
The crown eukaryotes, from which all modern day eukaryotic lineages have arisen have been dated to the paleoproterozoic era. By ~1 Gy the latest common ancestors between the ciliate and flagellate lineages probably diverged. The Francevillian Group and Grypania fossils and the first eukaryotes also appeared during this time.
During this era the earliest global-scale continent-continent collisional belts developed.
These continent and mountain building events are represented by the 2.1-2.0 Ga (Ga = billion year) Transamazonian and Eburnean Orogens in South America and West Africa; the ~2.0 Ga Limpopo Belt in southern Africa; the 1.9–1.8 Ga Trans-Hudson, Penokean, Taltson–Thelon, Wopmay, Ungava and Torngat orogens in North America, the 1.9–1.8 Ga Nagssugtoqidain Orogen in Greenland; the 1.9–1.8 Ga Kola–Karelia, Svecofennian, Volhyn-Central Russian, and Pachelma Orogens in Baltica (Eastern Europe); the 1.9–1.8 Ga Akitkan Orogen in Siberia; the ~1.95 Ga Khondalite Belt and ~1.85 Ga Trans-North China Orogen in North China.
These continental collisional belts are interpreted as having resulted from 2.0-1.8 Ga global-scale collisional events that led to the assembly of a Paleo-Mesoproterozoic supercontinent named "Columbia" or "Nuna".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paleoproterozoic.|
- Suavjärvi crater 2.4 billion years old
- Vredefort crater 3.6 billion years old
- Sudbury Basin 1.849 billion years old
- Giorgio Pannella Paleontological evidence on the Earth's rotational history since early precambrian Astrophysics and Space Science 16.2 (1972): 212
- Zhao, Guochun; Cawood, Peter A.; Wilde, Simon A.; Sun, M. (2002). "Review of global 2.1–1.8 Ga orogens: implications for a pre-Rodinia supercontinent". Earth-Science Reviews 59: 125–162. Bibcode:2002ESRv...59..125Z. doi:10.1016/S0012-8252(02)00073-9.
- Zhao, Guochun; Sun, M.; Wilde, Simon A.; Li, S.Z. (2004). "A Paleo-Mesoproterozoic supercontinent: assembly, growth and breakup". Earth-Science Reviews 67: 91–123. Bibcode:2004ESRv...67...91Z. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2004.02.003.
- EssayWeb Paleoproterozoic Era
- First breath: Earth's billion-year struggle for oxygen New Scientist, #2746, 5 February 2010 by Nick Lane. Posits an earlier much longer snowball period, c2.4 - c2.0 Gya, triggered by the Great Oxygenation Event.
- The information on eukaryotic lineage diversification was gathered from a New York Times opinion blog by Olivia Judson. See the text here: .
|Preceded by Archean Eon||2.5 Ga - Proterozoic Eon - 542 Ma||Followed by Phanerozoic Eon|
|2.5 Ga - Paleoproterozoic Era -1.6 Ga||1.6 Ga - Mesoproterozoic Era -1.0 Ga||1.0 Ga - Neoproterozoic Era -542 Ma|