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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)
It has been suggested that a decrease in atmospheric methane levels triggered the progressive rise of atmospheric oxygen, the so-called Great Oxidation Event, about 2.4 Gyr ago. Oxidative weathering of terrestrial sulphides, increased oceanic sulphate, and the ecological success of sulphate-reducing microorganisms over methanogens has been proposed as a(More)
The martian valley networks formed near the end of the period of heavy bombardment of the inner solar system, about 3.5 billion years ago. The largest impacts produced global blankets of very hot ejecta, ranging in thickness from meters to hundreds of meters. Our simulations indicated that the ejecta warmed the surface, keeping it above the freezing point(More)
1 Abstract Solid material in a protoplanetary nebula is subject to vigorous redistribution processes relative to the nebula gas. Meter-sized particles drift rapidly inwards near the nebula midplane, and material evaporates when the particles cross a condensation/evaporation boundary. The material cannot be removed as fast in its vapor form as it is being(More)
The low O2 content of the Archean atmosphere implies that methane should have been present at levels approximately 10(2) to 10(3) parts per million volume (ppmv) (compared with 1.7 ppmv today) given a plausible biogenic source. CH4 is favored as the greenhouse gas that countered the lower luminosity of the early Sun. But abundant CH4 implies that hydrogen(More)
The pace of tidal evolution for the past approximately 450 Myr implies an Earth/Moon collision some 1,500-2,000 Myr BP, an event for which there is no corroborating evidence. Here we present the first direct determination of the lunar distance in the Precambrian. We interpret a 23.3 +/- 0.3-yr periodicity preserved in a 2,500 Myr BP Australian banded iron(More)
In modern marine sediments, the anoxic decomposition of organic matter generates a significant flux of methane that is oxidized microbially with sulphate under the seafloor and never reaches the atmosphere. In contrast, prior to ca 2.4Gyr ago, the ocean had little sulphate to support anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) and the ocean should have been an(More)
"Are they worlds, or are they mere masses of matter? Are physical forces alone at work there or has evolution begotten something more complex, something not unakin to what we know on Earth as life? It is in this that lies the peculiar interest of Mars." Percival Lowell (in ref. 1, p. 3)