Oxygenation on Earth occurred 300 million years earlier than previously thought

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Defining past atmospheric compositions is an important yet daunting task for geologists. Most methods for determining past Earth surface conditions rely on indirect proxies gleaned from ancient sedimentary rocks. Further complicating matters, sedimentary rocks are notoriously difficult to date because they contain remnants of other rocks formed at various times.
    As a result, oxygenation, or the rise of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, has been presumed to occur about 550 million years ago near the boundary between the Precambrian and Paleozoic geologic periods.
    A team of geologists from West Virginia University uses new direct methods to measure the Earth's oxygenation. Their study identifies, for the first time, exactly how much oxygen was in Earth's atmosphere 813 million years ago -- 10.9 percent. This finding, they say, demonstrates that oxygenation on Earth occurred 300 million years earlier than previously concluded from indirect measurements.


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