History of Earth in 24-hour clock

Oct 9, 2012

I’m not sure where this is originally from, but I found it on an intro to geology course page. What happens when midnight comes around again?


  • The only thing that bothers me is why this is a 24h clock… . ;)

    • So that it can be set to the tune of “Two minutes to midnight” by Iron Maiden.

    • Because it uses 24 hours to get from the origin of the Earth to now. Midnight to noon is 12 hours, and noon to midnight is another twelve. Look closer – the labels go from 0 to 12, then 0 to 12 again.

    • Good point – it would have been easier to comprehend if it used “Zulu time”, e.g. single celled algae would be at 14:08

      • Zulu is just GMT. It is a time zone, not a format of time. Not trying to be a dick, just informative. :-)

      • True a 24 hour clock should be in “World Time” or as we call it in the US “Military Time”

  • Who knows? We’ll probably never make it past 12:15 AM anyway. And I think I’m being awfully generous in that assessment.

  • And if they insist on making it a 24hour clock why do the labels show 12 hour notation? They don’t even include an am/pm indicator.

  • Original concept is Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar. But the Tree Of Life (http://evogeneao.com/tree.html) is my favorite take on insignificance of humans in time.

  • We will find out what happens at midnight come 12.21.2012

  • Midnight is NOW. So if the earth began 24 hrs ago, we have been here for 1m 17s. At least as of the day the illustration was created

    • Thank you so much for getting this. The diagram was fascinating, but then I couldn’t believe the author’s mistake when I read “What happens when midnight comes around again?”

      Among all the comments that missed it, thank you for being the only one to realize that midnight is the present.

  • These fossils at 5:36am what where they of if the first single cell algae started at 2:08pm? I am guessing bacteria or similar. Took a while to get from bacteria to algae no? Mind blowing stuff.

  • Joshua Muskovitz October 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    There’s definitely nitpicking to be had (@NickP points out the 24 hour vs am/pm notation discrepancy), and I would ask why the clock has hands**, but overall I have to say that it packs a lot of useful information into a small space. Certainly I am unable to come up with a better way to represent this information.

    **This is a silly point, since without the hands, the entire “clock” metaphor falls apart.

  • The second day is just like the first day except that kids eat free at Perkins.

  • Matt Murdock October 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Dr. William “Bill” Schopf of UCLA (Earth and Space Sciences) came up with this clock concept as a graduate student in the 60’s. I think he still teaches at UCLA, you should go ask him about it!

  • Charles Zelnick October 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    compare to the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: http://www.thebulletin.org/content/doomsday-clock/timeline

  • True that @Joel Goldstick and that is where I have a question. We have been here for 1m and 17s = 77seconds. That is 77seconds of 86400 seconds in 24 hours. This is around 0.089%. If the earth age is 4.5 billion then earliest humans should be around 4 millions years. I looked up and earliest earliest human fossils were found 2.5million years.

    If only this info-graphic has told me 24hours = how many years?

  • The Singularity is at midnight, after that, we go in reverse.

  • Tandar of the Bordrillian Galaxy October 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Whoa…I thought God created Earth (oh…and everything else in the time-space continuum) only about 6,000 years ago. The History of Earth Clock seems to imply that Earth has been around a lot longer. This is all so confusing.

  • Chlixilplxchtth the Destructor October 11, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Don’t tell me – midnight on this clock is Dec 12, 2012?

  • Andrew Searles October 15, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I’m sorry but this infographic could have been better server is a different format. I’m really not a fan of this clock. First it’s confusing because it’s a 24 hour clock but the times are given in military time e.g. Sexual Reproduction is at 16:08. Also a clock implies that we’re going to be starting the whole process again. Is that what you’re suggesting? I say a good old-fashioned timeline would be better servered here.

  • my god are you all thick. its the age of the earth represented as one day. there is no tomorrow in it, 12 midnight is now!!!!!!!

  • if humans life latest one more hour, the earth will be destroyed!


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