Researchers working together from several international universities have made a discovery showing that there might have been oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere hundreds of millions of year earlier than previous evidence suggests.
Researchers working together from several international universities have discovered that oxygen might have been in the Earth’s atmosphere hundreds of millions of year earlier than previous evidence suggests.
Soil from the Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, dating back to almost three billion years ago, has what researchers believe to be oxidative weathering, a sign that oxygen existed in the atmosphere at this time.
This predates the Great Oxidation Event, evidenced in previous geological studies, by 700 million years.
Doctor Sean Crowe from the University of British Columbia in Canada who worked on the study said: “One of the key aspects of all this is the sensitivity now of techniques… which allow us to probe very low levels of oxygen. And I'm sure continued technological advances will eventually enable us to look for even lower levels of oxygen, even earlier in time.”
The latest evidence shows a possible fluctuation in the oxygen levels that finally climaxes with the Great Oxidation Event in the atmosphere that allowed life to flourish on the planet.
What do you think about the possibility of oxygen existing in the Earth’s atmosphere some three billion years ago?