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The geologic time scale or geological time scale (GTS) is a representation of time based on the rock record of Earth. It is a system of chronological dating that uses chronostratigraphy (the process of relating strata to time) and geochronology (a scientific branch of geology that aims to determine the age of rocks). It is used primarily by Earth scientists (including geologists, paleontologists, geophysicists, geochemists, and paleoclimatologists) to describe the timing and relationships of events in geologic history. The time scale has been developed through the study of rock layers and the observation of their relationships and identifying features such as lithologies, paleomagnetic properties, and fossils. The definition of standardised international units of geologic time is the responsibility of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), a constituent body of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), whose primary objective is to precisely define global chronostratigraphic units of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart (ICC) that are used to define divisions of geologic time. The chronostratigraphic divisions are in turn used to define geochronologic units.
While some regional terms are still in use, the table of geologic time presented in this article conforms to the nomenclature, ages, and colour codes set forth by the ICS.
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