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The Proterozoic (pronounced /ˌproʊtərɵˈzoʊɨk/) is a geological eon representing a period before the first abundant complex life on Earth. The name Proterozoic comes from the Greek "earlier life". The Proterozoic Eon extended from 2500 Ma to 542.0 ± 1.0 Ma (million years ago), and is the most recent part of the old, informally named ‘Precambrian’ time.

The Proterozoic consists of 3 geologic eras, from oldest to youngest:

The well-identified events were:


The Proterozoic record

The geologic record of the Proterozoic is much better than that for the preceding Archean. In contrast to the deep-water deposits of the Archean, the Proterozoic features many strata that were laid down in extensive shallow epicontinental seas; furthermore, many of these rocks are less metamorphosed than Archean-age ones, and plenty are unaltered.[1] Study of these rocks shows that the eon featured massive, rapid continental accretion (unique to the Proterozoic), supercontinent cycles, and wholly-modern orogenic activity.[2]

The first known glaciations occurred during the Proterozoic; one began shortly after the beginning of the eon, while there were at least four during the Neoproterozoic, climaxing with the Snowball Earth of the Varangian glaciation.[3]

The buildup of oxygen

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