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Ideas about atmospheric composition and climate on the early Earth have evolved considerably over the last 30 years, but many uncertainties still remain. It is generally agreed that the atmosphere contained little or no free oxygen initially and that oxygen concentrations increased markedly near 2.0 billion years ago, but the precise timing of and reasons(More)
Large asteroid impacts produced globally lethal conditions by evaporating large volumes of ocean water on the early Earth. The Earth may have been continuously habitable by ecosystems that did not depend on photosynthesis as early as 4.44 Gyr BP (before present). Only a brief interval after 3.8 Gyr exists between the time when obligate photosynthetic(More)
Context. Thanks to remarkable progress, radial velocity surveys are now able to detect terrestrial planets at habitable distance from low-mass stars. Recently, two planets with minimum masses below 10 M⊕ were reported in a triple system around the M-type star Gliese 581. These planets are found at orbital distances comparable with the location of the(More)
Simple energy-balance climate models of the Budyko/Sellers type predict that a small (2-5%) decrease in solar output could result in runaway glaciation on the Earth. But solar fluxes 25-30% lower early in the Earth's history apparently did not lead to this result. One currently favoured explanation is that high partial pressures of carbon dioxide, caused(More)
Palaeomagnetic data suggest that the Earth was glaciated at low latitudes during the Palaeoproterozoic (about 2.4-2.2 Gyr ago) and Neoproterozoic (about 820-550 Myr ago) eras, although some of the Neoproterozoic data are disputed. If the Earth's magnetic field was aligned more or less with its spin axis, as it is today, then either the polar ice caps must(More)