Atmospheric oxygenation three billion years ago

  title={Atmospheric oxygenation three billion years ago},
  author={Sean A. Crowe and Lasse N. D{\o}ssing and Nicolas Beukes and Michael Bau and S. J. Pinker D. Kruger and Robert Frei and Donald E. Canfield},
It is widely assumed that atmospheric oxygen concentrations remained persistently low (less than 10−5 times present levels) for about the first 2 billion years of Earth’s history. The first long-term oxygenation of the atmosphere is thought to have taken place around 2.3 billion years ago, during the Great Oxidation Event. Geochemical indications of transient atmospheric oxygenation, however, date back to 2.6–2.7 billion years ago. Here we examine the distribution of chromium isotopes and redox… 

Evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis half a billion years before the Great Oxidation Event

The early Earth was characterized by the absence of oxygen in the ocean–atmosphere system, in contrast to the well-oxygenated conditions that prevail today. Atmospheric concentrations first rose to

A redox-stratified ocean 3.2 billion years ago

Rapid oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere 2.33 billion years ago

The new data suggest that the oxygenation occurred rapidly—within 1 to 10 million years—and was followed by a slower rise in the ocean sulfate inventory, whereas the relationships among GOE, “Snowball Earth” glaciation, and biogeochemical cycling will require further stratigraphic correlation supported with precise chronologies and paleolatitude reconstructions.

The Archean atmosphere

The Archean eon data imply that substantial loss of hydrogen oxidized the Earth, and detailed understanding of the coevolving solid Earth, biosphere, and atmosphere remains elusive, however.

Low Mid-Proterozoic atmospheric oxygen levels and the delayed rise of animals

Evidence for inhibited oxidation of Cr at Earth’s surface in the mid-Proterozoic is found, suggesting that atmospheric O2 levels were at most 0.1% of present atmospheric levels.

Sufficient oxygen for animal respiration 1,400 million years ago

It is suggested that there was sufficient atmospheric oxygen for animals long before the evolution of animals themselves, and that rising levels of Neoproterozoic oxygen did not contribute to the relatively late appearance of animal life on Earth.

Anomalous fractionation of mercury isotopes in the Late Archean atmosphere

It is found that biogenic methane and volcanic emissions played a vital role in the reduced Late Archean atmosphere, with mercury (Hg) stable isotopes as a proxy for paleoatmospheric chemistry.

Oxygenation, Life, and the Planetary System during Earth's Middle History: An Overview

The geochemical records of Earth's middle history is focused on, as a backdrop for exploring possible cause-and-effect relationships with biological evolution and the primary controls that may have set its pace, including solid Earth/tectonic processes, nutrient limitation, and their possible linkages.

The Great Oxygenation Event

  • R. Ligrone
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Biological Innovations that Built the World
  • 2019
Old sedimentary rocks record the history of oxygen in the form of redox-sensitive chemical species such as iron, uranium or cerium ions, and mass-independent fractionation of sulphur isotopes. These

Benthic perspective on Earth’s oldest evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis

It is numerically demonstrated that local O2 production and immediate consumption in surface-bound (benthic) microbial ecosystems at profound disequilibrium conditions is the most parsimonious explanation for this delay in atmospheric oxygenation, and support the plausible antiquity of a terrestrial biosphere populated by cyanobacteria well before the GOE.



Fluctuations in Precambrian atmospheric oxygenation recorded by chromium isotopes

The findings suggest that the Great Oxidation Event did not lead to a unidirectional stepwise increase in atmospheric oxygen, and strong positive fractionations in Cr isotopes in the late Neoproterozoic era provide independent support for increased surface oxygenation at that time, which may have stimulated rapid evolution of macroscopic multicellular life.

Isotopic evidence for Mesoarchaean anoxia and changing atmospheric sulphur chemistry

The findings point to the persistence of an anoxic early atmosphere, and identify variability within the isotope record that suggests changes in pre-2.45-Gyr-ago atmospheric pathways for non-mass-dependent chemistry and in the ultraviolet transparency of an evolving early atmosphere.

Mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes in Archean sediments: strong evidence for an anoxic Archean atmosphere.

It is concluded that the atmospheric O2 concentration must have been < 10(-5) PAL prior to 2.3 Ga, which would have meant that all sulfur-bearing species would have passed through the oceanic sulfate reservoir before being incorporated into sediments, so any signature of MIF would have been lost.


■ Abstract This paper reviews the Precambrian history of atmospheric oxygen, beginning with a brief discussion of the possible nature and magnitude of life before the evolution of oxygenic

Aerobic bacterial pyrite oxidation and acid rock drainage during the Great Oxidation Event

An independent and complementary record of marine Cr supply is provided, in the form of Cr concentrations and authigenic enrichment in iron-rich sedimentary rocks, to add to amassing evidence that the Archaean-Palaeoproterozoic boundary was marked by a substantial shift in terrestrial geochemistry and biology.

The Archean sulfur cycle and the early history of atmospheric oxygen.

Sedimentary sulfur isotope record suggests low concentrations of seawater sulfate and atmospheric oxygen in the early Archean and early Proterozoic and shows how sulfate reduction rate influences the preservation of biological fractionations in sediments.

Evidence in pre-2.2 Ga paleosols for the early evolution of atmospheric oxygen and terrestrial biota

All paleosols, regardless of age, retain some characteristics of soils formed under an oxic atmosphere, such as increased Fe3+/Ti ratios from their parental rocks, according to a new approach.