Rise and fall of oxy­gen

FrontLine - - SCIENCE -

THE earth’s oxy­gen lev­els rose and fell more than once hun­dreds of mil­lions of years be­fore the planet-wide suc­cess of the Great Ox­i­da­tion Event (GOE) about 2.4 bil­lion years ago, ac­cord­ing to Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton (U.W.) re­searchers.

“The pro­duc­tion and de­struc­tion of oxy­gen in the ocean and at­mos­phere over time was a war with no ev­i­dence of a clear win­ner, un­til the Great Ox­i­da­tion Event,” says Matt Koehler, the lead au­thor of a new pa­per pub­lished in the re­cent is­sue of “Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

In 2007, co-au­thor Roger Buick was part of an in­ter­na­tional team of sci­en­tists that found ev­i­dence of an episode, a “whiff”, of oxy­gen some 50 mil­lion to 100 mil­lion years be­fore the GOE. Anal­y­sis of sam­ples ob­tained by deep-drilling into sed­i­men­tary rocks

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