Precambrian Resources

Initial Publication Date: December 2, 2005

All of the following are web resources.

Precambrian Geology

  • The Precambrian (more info) : The UC Museum of Paleontology's very detailed section on the Proterozoic, Archaean, and Hadean
  • The Precambrian Eon: Summarizes biological evolution and geologic changes in the Hadean, Archaean and Proterozoic. Interactive and nicely illustrated. Discusses history of geology of the divisions of the timeline.
  • The Precambrian Era: A well-diagrammed summary of the distribution of precambrian rocks and the evolution of the first continents.

  • Geology of Wisconsin. Includes a fair bit of information about Wisconsin's Precambrian rocks (more info)
  • Paleomagnetism . This website about paleomagnetism contains images of True Polar Wander, The Cambrian Time Scale, Gondwana, Baltica, Laurentia, Rodinia, Panotia, Pangea, and more. It has links to other paleomag sites, access to Gondwana paleomagnetic database, and a list of publications (some of which have links to web versions). (more info)

Formation of the Earth

  • Moon's Origin . This article is a Why Files short piece about the origin of our Moon. Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, scientists hypothesize, a large planet-sized object (named Theia) hit the Earth, forming the Moon. The article explains some of the pieces that are missing from this theory that would make it more concrete. ( This site may be offline. )
  • The Archean Age. The Archean Age is a Windows to the Universe Exploratour and provides information and images about the development of Earth layers and atmosphere, volcanism, the formation of the ocean, the evolution of life, and continent development. Windows to the Universe is a user-friendly learning system pertaining to the Earth and Space sciences. The objective of this project is to develop an innovative and engaging web site that spans the Earth and Space sciences and includes a rich array of documents, including images, movies, animations, and data sets that explore the Earth and Space sciences and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration and the human experience. Links at the top of each page allow users to navigate between beginner, intermediate, and advanced options for each topic level. (more info)
  • The Early Solar System. This brief review of the formation of the solar system is a precursor to a discussion of the possibility of life existing on the other planets. The author describes conditions on the earth's surface (past and present) and suggests that cyanide was the most important substance in the formation of life. ( This site may be offline. )

Astrobiology and the Origin of Life

  • NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). This site provides information on NAI research, a library of publications, sections for teachers and students, and an Ask An Expert section. The student section features Astro-Venture, where students can search for and build a habitable planet; Habitable Worlds, to search the solar system for planets that might support life; and Mysteries of Microbes, containing videos and biographies of astrobiologists. The teacher section contains an astrobiology-related resource catalog of NASA sites. (more info)
  • The Astrobiology Web. This site contains astrobiology news and links about: astrochemistry, bioinformatics, biosatellites, gravitational biology, hydrothermal vent communities, genomics, astropaleobiology, radiation physiology, the search for exterrestrial intelligence (SETI), extremophiles, exopaleontology, cell biology, evolution, planetary protection, and space medicine. There are also links to NASA TV and video feeds, astrobiology press releases, and an introduction to what an astrobiologist is. ( This site may be offline. )

Oxygen Revolution

  • BIF and the Oxygen Revolution (more info) : A collection of pages dealing with the build-up of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere about 2.5-2.2 billion years ago.
  • Iron: Not Just Your Basic Base Metal : A brief summary of where iron comes from: banded iron formations, and where these came from: a byproduct of cyanobacterial activity in the Archean and early Proterozoic oceans.

Snowball Earth

  • Scientific American: Snowball Earth. This Scientific American article describes the Snowball Earth hypothesis and the evidence supporting the hypothesis. Users can read the html article, download a printable form, email or link the article. Also available are links to other Scientific American news, an 'ask an expert' site, channels and magazine subheadings. ( This site may be offline. )

  • Theory of Snowball Earth: There is considerable dispute about whether there were global glaciations in the late Proterozoic. This is a well-illustrated description of the Snowball Earth controversy
  • A Curve Ball Into The Snowball Earth Hypothesis? (more info) : Articles summarizes a paper in Geology pertaining to the Snowball Earth debate. The author found evidence for healthy marine ecosystems at a time when they were supposed to be completely frozen over and anoxic. Great search engine finds links to other Snowball Earth articles.
  • The Snowball Earth Hypothesis (more info) : Abstracts from a GSA session on the Snowball Earth hypothesis in 2001

Early Animal Life

  • The Radiation of the First Animals. This slide show and accompanying narrative about radiation and diversity in Precambrian and early Paleozoic organisms depicts several different fossil types, including medusoid-like, frond-like, trace fossils and other unusual types. The presenter via the photographs takes us to several collecting sites, some of which are rather remote. The presenter cannot explain radiation although some theories are offered. (more info)

  • The Dawn of Animal Life (more info) : Part of the online version of the Miller Museum of Geology (Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario) with exhibits on the origin of the Earth, of cells, the Ediacaran fauna, and other assemblages of Proterozoic animals.
  • The Story of Life (more info) : A summary of the current state of understanding of the Precambrian evolution of life, illustrated with the rocks that hold the evidence.