Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How did Earth end up with so much oxygen?

Scientists are still trying to figure out how the earth’s atmosphere ended up so rich in oxygen. Australian scientists recently suggested eroding “supermountains” of epochs past led to our enriched air, reports New Scientist.

The idea: as the mountains “eroded rapidly,” “vast amounts of nutrients” were carried into the oceans. These nutrient blasts would have spurred “explosions of oxygen-producing algae and bacteria.”

The big problem, Harvard geochemist Dick Holland explained to New Scientist, there was no major tectonic event during the “great oxidation” of 2.3 billion years ago.

Previously on Pound360:
How did the Earth end up with so much water?

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.