Dating the rise of atmospheric oxygen

  title={Dating the rise of atmospheric oxygen},
  author={Andrey Bekker and Heinrich Dick Holland and P.-L. Wang and Douglas Iii Rumble and Holly Stein and Judith L. Hannah and Louise Coetzee and Nicolas Beukes},
Several lines of geological and geochemical evidence indicate that the level of atmospheric oxygen was extremely low before 2.45 billion years (Gyr) ago, and that it had reached considerable levels by 2.22 Gyr ago. Here we present evidence that the rise of atmospheric oxygen had occurred by 2.32 Gyr ago. We found that syngenetic pyrite is present in organic-rich shales of the 2.32-Gyr-old Rooihoogte and Timeball Hill formations, South Africa. The range of the isotopic composition of sulphur in… 
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.
A 200-million-year delay in permanent atmospheric oxygenation.
A high-resolution reconstruction of atmospheric and local oceanic redox conditions across the final two glaciations of the early Palaeoproterozoic era, as documented by marine sediments from the Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa, demonstrates continued oscillations in atmospheric oxygen levels after about 2.32 billion years ago that are linked to major perturbations in ocean redox chemistry and climate.
Constraining the rise of oxygen with oxygen isotopes
After permanent atmospheric oxygenation, anomalous sulfur isotope compositions were lost from sedimentary rocks, demonstrating that atmospheric chemistry ceded its control of Earth’s surficial sulfur
Sulphur isotope evidence for an oxic Archaean atmosphere
The presence of mass-independently fractionated sulphur isotopes (MIF-S) in many sedimentary rocks older than ∼2.4 billion years has been considered the best evidence for a dramatic change from an anoxic to oxic atmosphere around 2.4 Gyr ago, and the level of atmospheric oxygen fluctuated greatly during the Archaean era.
Oxidation of the Ediacaran Ocean
High-resolution carbon isotope and sulphur isotope records from the Huqf Supergroup, Sultanate of Oman, that cover most of the Ediacaran period indicate that the ocean became increasingly oxygenated after the end of the Marinoan glaciation and allow us to identify three distinct stages of oxidation.
Tracing the stepwise oxygenation of the Proterozoic ocean
A new perspective on ocean oxygenation is presented based on the authigenic accumulation of the redox-sensitive transition element molybdenum in sulphidic black shales, which reflects a greatly expanded oceanic reservoir due to oxygenation of the deep ocean and corresponding decrease in sulphide conditions in the sediments and water column.
Uranium in iron formations and the rise of atmospheric oxygen
Global atmospheric oxygen variations recorded by Th/U systematics of igneous rocks
It is suggested that the secular Th/U evolution of arc igneous rocks could be an effective geochemical indicator recording the global-scale atmospheric oxygen variation.


Oxygen in the Precambrian atmosphere: An evaluation of the geological evidence
Geological evidence often presented in favor of an early anoxic atmosphere is both contentious and ambiguous. The features that should be present in the geologic record had there been such an
Increase of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere between -2.5 and -2.4 Ga B.P.
  • M. Bau
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 1998
Currently, two competing concepts that both are based on (amongst others) the Fe-Ti systematics of palaeosols, try to describe the evolution of the oxygen content of the Precambrian Earth's
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.
Chemostratigraphy of the Paleoproterozoic Duitschland Formation, South Africa: Implications for Coupled Climate Change and Carbon Cycling
The Paleoproterozoic Duitschland Formation lies stratigraphically beneath the Timeball Hill Formation, which contains the only unequivocal glacial unit of this era in the Transvaal Basin, South
Precambrian atmospheric oxygen: evidence in the sedimentary distributions of carbon, sulfur, uranium, and iron
The sedimentary distributions of carbon, sulfur, uranium, and ferric and ferrous iron depend greatly upon ambient oxygen pressure and should reflect any major change in proportion of oxygen in the
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.
Paleosols and the evolution of atmospheric oxygen: a critical review.
Fifteen reported paleosols can be definitively identified as ancient soils and provide both qualitative and semiquantitative information about the evolution of the redox state of the atmosphere.
Redox state of the Archean atmosphere: Evidence from detrital heavy minerals in ca. 3250–2750 Ma sandstones from the Pilbara Craton, Australia
The presence of detrital uraninite and pyrite in fluvial placers of the Witwatersrand basin, South Africa, has been used to infer low levels of atmospheric oxygen during the Archean (>2500 Ma).
Calibration of Sulfate Levels in the Archean Ocean
Sulfur isotope fractionation experiments on marine and freshwater sulfate reducers, together with the isotope record, imply that oceanic Archean sulfate concentrations were less than one-hundredth of present marine sulfate levels and one-fifth of what was previously thought.
Sulphate and sulphate reduction in early Precambrian oceans
Sulphate reduction generally causes isotopic fractionation of sulphur1. Modern sedimentary sulphide is largely produced by biogenic reduction of sulphate and is typically enriched in 32S (ref. 2).