Biogenic Methane, Hydrogen Escape, and the Irreversible Oxidation of Early Earth

@article{Catling2001BiogenicMH,
  title={Biogenic Methane, Hydrogen Escape, and the Irreversible Oxidation of Early Earth},
  author={D. Catling and K. Zahnle and C. McKay},
  journal={Science},
  year={2001},
  volume={293},
  pages={839 - 843}
}
The low O2 content of the Archean atmosphere implies that methane should have been present at levels ∼102 to 103 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 escapes to space (↑space) orders of magnitude faster than today. Such reductant loss oxidizes the Earth. Photosynthesis splits water into O2 and H, and… Expand
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