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Corresponding to eons, eras, periods, epochs and ages, the terms "eonothem", "erathem", "system", "series", "stage" are used to refer to the layers of rock that belong to these stretches of geologic time in Earth's history.
In Ancient Greece, Aristotle (384-322 BCE) observed that fossils of seashells in rocks resembled those found on beaches – he inferred that the fossils in rocks were formed by living animals, and he reasoned that the positions of land and sea had changed over long periods of time.
Apart from the Late Heavy Bombardment, events on other planets probably had little direct influence on the Earth, and events on Earth had correspondingly little effect on those planets.
Construction of a time scale that links the planets is, therefore, of only limited relevance to the Earth's time scale, except in a Solar System context.
The geology or deep time of Earth's past has been organized into various units according to events which took place.
Different spans of time on the GTS are usually marked by corresponding changes in the composition of strata which indicate major geological or paleontological events, such as mass extinctions.