The Siderian Period ( //; Greek: σίδηρος, romanized: sídēros, meaning "iron") is the first geologic period in the Paleoproterozoic Era and lasted from 2500 Ma to 2300 Ma (million years ago). Instead of being based on stratigraphy, these dates are defined chronometrically.
2500–2300 million years ago
The laying down of the banded iron formations (BIFs) peaked early in this period. BIFs were formed as anaerobic cyanobacteria produced waste oxygen that combined with iron, forming magnetite (Fe3O4, an iron oxide). This process removed iron from the Earth's oceans, presumably turning greenish seas clear. Eventually, with no remaining iron in the oceans to serve as an oxygen sink, the process allowed the buildup of an oxygen-rich atmosphere. This second, follow-on event is known as the oxygen catastrophe, which, some geologists believe triggered the Huronian glaciation.
Since the time period from 2420 Ma to 2250 Ma is well-defined by the lower edge of iron-deposition layers, an alternative period named the Oxygenian, based on stratigraphy instead of chronometry, was suggested in 2012 by Gradstein et al. in a geological timescale review but, as of February 2017, this has not yet been officially adopted by the IUGS.
- Kasting, James F.; Ono, Shuehi (2006). "Paleoclimates: The First Two Billion Years". Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences. 361 (1470): 917–929. doi:10.1098/rstb.2006.1839. JSTOR 20209693. PMC 1868609.
- Kopp, Robert E.; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Hilburn, Isaac A.; Nash, Cody Z. (2005). "The Paleoproterozoic Snowball Earth: A climate disaster triggered by the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis" (PDF). PNAS. 102 (32): 11131–11136. doi:10.1073/pnas.0504878102.
- Gradstein, F. M.; et al., eds. (2012). The Geologic Time Scale 2012. 1. Elsevier. pp. 361–365. ISBN 978-0-44-459390-0.