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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

6 - Thousands, Millions or Billions


In this chapter, I assess the connections between the studies of deep carbon as the carbonate component of fossils and the role of deep time for a reconstruction of Earth history. I leave the history of the absolute calibration of deep time for the following chapter. William Smith’s standout contribution to the practice of geology in England was his achievement in tracing the courses of the strata. He introduced the principle of faunal succession in his book Strata – Identified by Organized Fossils, a short book with colored plates published in 1816. That publication turned his private cabinet of curiosities into a public resource of the characteristic fossils in rock formations.