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The Hadean is the geologic eon before the Archean. It started at Earth's formation about 4.6 billion years ago (4,600 Ma), and ended roughly 3.8 billion years ago, though the latter date varies according to different sources. The name "Hadean" derives from Hades, Greek for "Underworld," referring to the conditions on Earth at the time. The geologist Preston Cloud coined the term in 1972, originally to label the period before the earliest-known rocks. W. Brian Harland later coined an almost synonymous term: the "Priscoan period". Other older texts simply refer to the eon as the Pre-Archean.

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