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Oxygen dynamics in the aftermath of the Great Oxidation of Earth's atmosphere

Canfield, Donald E; Ngombi-Pemba, Lauriss; Hammarlund, Emma U LU ; Bengtson, Stefan; Chaussidon, Marc; Gauthier-Lafaye, François; Meunier, Alain; Riboulleau, Armelle; Rollion-Bard, Claire and Rouxel, Olivier, et al. (2013) In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(42). p.41-16736
Abstract

The oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere has varied greatly through time, progressing from exceptionally low levels before about 2.3 billion years ago, to much higher levels afterward. In the absence of better information, we usually view the progress in Earth's oxygenation as a series of steps followed by periods of relative stasis. In contrast to this view, and as reported here, a dynamic evolution of Earth's oxygenation is recorded in ancient sediments from the Republic of Gabon from between about 2,150 and 2,080 million years ago. The oldest sediments in this sequence were deposited in well-oxygenated deep waters whereas the youngest were deposited in euxinic waters, which were globally extensive. These fluctuations in oxygenation... (More)

The oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere has varied greatly through time, progressing from exceptionally low levels before about 2.3 billion years ago, to much higher levels afterward. In the absence of better information, we usually view the progress in Earth's oxygenation as a series of steps followed by periods of relative stasis. In contrast to this view, and as reported here, a dynamic evolution of Earth's oxygenation is recorded in ancient sediments from the Republic of Gabon from between about 2,150 and 2,080 million years ago. The oldest sediments in this sequence were deposited in well-oxygenated deep waters whereas the youngest were deposited in euxinic waters, which were globally extensive. These fluctuations in oxygenation were likely driven by the comings and goings of the Lomagundi carbon isotope excursion, the longest-lived positive δ(13)C excursion in Earth history, generating a huge oxygen source to the atmosphere. As the Lomagundi event waned, the oxygen source became a net oxygen sink as Lomagundi organic matter became oxidized, driving oxygen to low levels; this state may have persisted for 200 million years.

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publication status
published
keywords
Atmosphere, Fossils, Gabon, Models, Theoretical, Oxidation-Reduction, Oxygen, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
volume
110
issue
42
pages
6 pages
publisher
National Acad Sciences
external identifiers
  • scopus:84885735818
ISSN
1091-6490
DOI
10.1073/pnas.1315570110
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
3b123218-6e3b-467a-9a74-311b98086dfb
date added to LUP
2017-05-17 11:20:51
date last changed
2018-07-08 04:23:41
@article{3b123218-6e3b-467a-9a74-311b98086dfb,
  abstract     = {<p>The oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere has varied greatly through time, progressing from exceptionally low levels before about 2.3 billion years ago, to much higher levels afterward. In the absence of better information, we usually view the progress in Earth's oxygenation as a series of steps followed by periods of relative stasis. In contrast to this view, and as reported here, a dynamic evolution of Earth's oxygenation is recorded in ancient sediments from the Republic of Gabon from between about 2,150 and 2,080 million years ago. The oldest sediments in this sequence were deposited in well-oxygenated deep waters whereas the youngest were deposited in euxinic waters, which were globally extensive. These fluctuations in oxygenation were likely driven by the comings and goings of the Lomagundi carbon isotope excursion, the longest-lived positive δ(13)C excursion in Earth history, generating a huge oxygen source to the atmosphere. As the Lomagundi event waned, the oxygen source became a net oxygen sink as Lomagundi organic matter became oxidized, driving oxygen to low levels; this state may have persisted for 200 million years.</p>},
  author       = {Canfield, Donald E and Ngombi-Pemba, Lauriss and Hammarlund, Emma U and Bengtson, Stefan and Chaussidon, Marc and Gauthier-Lafaye, François and Meunier, Alain and Riboulleau, Armelle and Rollion-Bard, Claire and Rouxel, Olivier and Asael, Dan and Pierson-Wickmann, Anne-Catherine and El Albani, Abderrazak},
  issn         = {1091-6490},
  keyword      = {Atmosphere,Fossils,Gabon,Models, Theoretical,Oxidation-Reduction,Oxygen,Journal Article,Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {42},
  pages        = {41--16736},
  publisher    = {National Acad Sciences},
  series       = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  title        = {Oxygen dynamics in the aftermath of the Great Oxidation of Earth's atmosphere},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1315570110},
  volume       = {110},
  year         = {2013},
}