3600–3200 million years ago
The Paleoarchean (; also spelled Palaeoarchaean (formerly known as early Archean)) is a geologic era within the Archaean. It spans the period of time 3,600 to 3,200 million years ago—the era being defined chronometrically and not referenced to a specific level in a rock section on Earth. The name derives from Greek "Palaios" ancient. The oldest ascertained life form (well-preserved bacteria older than 3,460 million years found in Western Australia) is from this era. 3,480 Ma: Fossils of microbial mat found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia. The first supercontinent Vaalbara formed during this period.
During this era, a large asteroid, about 37 to 58 kilometres (23–36 mi) wide, collided with the Earth about 3.26 billion years ago, creating the features known as the Barberton greenstone belt.
- ^ Borenstein, Seth (13 November 2013). "Oldest fossil found: Meet your microbial mom". AP News. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- ^ Noffke, Nora; Christian, Daniel; Wacey, David; Hazen, Robert M. (8 November 2013). "Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structures Recording an Ancient Ecosystem in the ca. 3.48 Billion-Year-Old Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia". Astrobiology (journal) 13 (12): 1103–24. doi:10.1089/ast.2013.1030. PMC 3870916. PMID 24205812. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- ^ “Scientists reconstruct ancient impact that dwarfs dinosaur-extinction blast”, American Geophysical Union, April 9, 2014