Earth formed by accretion, when excess matter from its parent stars' genesis began clumping together into planets and moons. Its basalt crust cooled soon after its formation and collision with the protoplanet Theia. Its gasses appeared via outgassing, where volcanoes produce volatile gasses such as oxygen and nitrogen.
Its extensive bodies of water where produced from comets and other water-rich bodies crashing down on its surface. Life first appeared by abiogenesis, when the chemicals necessary for life began to fuse together and under the right conditions it turned into the first self-replicating molecule.
Life has proliferated over billions of years, until the sky darkening operation in attempt to block the energy source of the Machines. Eventually almost all life became extinct, resulting in a mass extinction bigger than the one that occurred during the Permian.
Earth's skies are filled with dark, rainless clouds that eternally blot out the sun. These clouds were created by humanity, who attempted to block the Machine's primary energy source through the use of rapidly multiplying nanomachines sprayed into the upper atmosphere. With the lack of sunlight, almost all life died and the world withered away, leaving a dark, cold desert of steel, dirt and debris.
It is presumed that every major city on Earth was destroyed by conventional or nuclear bombardment, or otherwise rendered virtually uninhabitable over the course of the Machine War, yet intelligence remains. One human city survives: Zion, located in deep caverns close to the planet's core for warmth and power.
Zion is secreted away from 01, the machine city, whose inhabitants are unaffected by the lack of warmth or sunlight, as they derive their needed energies in part from many skyscraper-like cylindrical towers holding billions of synthetically-grown humans used for bioelectrical generation. The minds of the humans within the power plant are all but convinced that they conduct a normal life sometime at the end of the 20th century of the past, in a neural-interactive virtual world known as the Matrix.
After the Machine War and creation of the Matrix:
- The Machine City/Zero One
- Power plants
- Fetus fields
- Derelict ruins of numerous megacities, as well as miles of underground maintenance and access tunnels (sewers).
After the Truce: