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period

period, unit of time on the geologic timescale. Periods are shorter than an era and longer than an epoch. Periods are of variable length, generally lasting tens of millions of years, with characteristic fossils found preserved in the sediments deposited during the period. It is also used to designate a characteristic of geologic time, such as the glacial period.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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