Study Shows Planet's Oxygen Rose Through Glaciers
A University of Wyoming researcher contributed to a paper that determined a “Snowball Earth” event actually took place 100 million years earlier than previously projected, and a rise in the planet’s oxidation resulted from a number of different continents -- including what is now Wyoming -- that were once connected.
“Isotopic dating of the Ongeluk large igneous province, South Africa, revealed that the first Paleoproterozoic global glaciation and the first significant step change in atmospheric oxygenation likely occurred between 2,460 and 2,426 million years ago, approximately 100 million years earlier than previous estimates,” says Kevin Chamberlain, a UW research professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. “And the rise of atmospheric oxygen was not monotonic but, instead, was characterized by significant oscillations before irreversible oxygenation of the atmosphere 2,250 million years ago.”
Chamberlain is the second author of a paper, titled “Timing and Tempo of the Great Oxidation Event,” which appears in the Feb. 6 (today’s) issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The journal is one of the world’s most prestigious multidisciplinary scientific serials, with coverage spanning the biological, physical and social sciences.
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