The rise of oxygen in Earth’s early ocean and atmosphere

  title={The rise of oxygen in Earth’s early ocean and atmosphere},
  author={Timothy W. Lyons and Christopher T. Reinhard and Noah J. Planavsky},
The rapid increase of carbon dioxide concentration in Earth’s modern atmosphere is a matter of major concern. But for the atmosphere of roughly two-and-half billion years ago, interest centres on a different gas: free oxygen (O2) spawned by early biological production. The initial increase of O2 in the atmosphere, its delayed build-up in the ocean, its increase to near-modern levels in the sea and air two billion years later, and its cause-and-effect relationship with life are among the most… 
Strong evidence for a weakly oxygenated ocean–atmosphere system during the Proterozoic
Significance Earth’s transition from anoxic oceans and atmosphere to a well-oxygenated state led to major changes in nearly every surficial system. However, estimates of surface oxygen levels in the
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.
The future lifespan of Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere
Earth’s modern atmosphere is highly oxygenated and is a remotely detectable signal of its surface biosphere. However, the lifespan of oxygen-based biosignatures in Earth’s atmosphere remains
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.
A case for low atmospheric oxygen levels during Earth's middle history.
Records are reviewed and a conceptual framework is presented that suggest that background oxygen levels were below 1% of the present atmospheric level during the billon years leading up to the diversification of early animals.
The rise of oxygen and siderite oxidation during the Lomagundi Event
  • A. Bachan, L. Kump
  • Geology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2015
It is proposed that following the initial rise of O2 in the atmosphere, oxidation of siderite provided the necessary carbon for the continued oxidation of sulfides, burial of organic carbon, and, most importantly, accumulation of free O2.
Biogeochemical Controls on the Redox Evolution of Earth’s Oceans and Atmosphere
The redox state of Earth’s atmosphere has undergone a dramatic shift over geologic time from reducing to strongly oxidizing, and this shift has been coupled with changes in ocean redox structure and
The deep history of Earth's biomass
The subsurface ‘deep biosphere’ represents one-tenth to one-third of Earth's total global present-day biomass. The rest is dominated by land plants, a relatively recent development in geological
Late inception of a resiliently oxygenated upper ocean
An extensive compilation of iodine-to-calcium ratios in marine carbonates supports a major rise in the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at ~400 million years ago and reveals a step change in the oxygenation of the upper ocean to relatively sustainable near-modern conditions at ~200 Ma ago.
Emerging Biogeochemical Views of Earth's Ancient Microbial Worlds
These rock-bound signatures are now steering the authors' understanding of how life coevolved with the environments on early Earth and are guiding the search for life elsewhere in the universe.


Geological constraints on the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis
The geological evidence for early oxygen and hypotheses for the controls on oxygen level are the basis for the interpretation of photosynthetic oxygen production as examined in this review.
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.
▪ 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
Biogeochemical modelling of the rise in atmospheric oxygen
Understanding the evolution of atmospheric molecular oxygen levels is a fundamental unsolved problem in Earth's history. We develop a quantitative biogeochemical model that simulates the
Greenhouse warming by CH4 in the atmosphere of early Earth.
It is found that a CH4 mixing ratio of 10(-4) (100 ppmv) or more in Earth's early atmosphere would provide agreement with the paleosol data from 2.3-2.4 Ga, which could have triggered the Earth's first widespread glaciation.
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.
The oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans
  • H. D. Holland
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2006
The last 3.85 Gyr of Earth history have been divided into five stages, and atmospheric oxygen levels probably rose to a maximum value of ca 0.3 atm during the Carboniferous before returning to its present value.
Response to Comment on "Molybdenum Isotope Evidence for Widespread Anoxia in Mid-Proterozoic Oceans"
New molybdenum isotope data from modern and ancient sediments indicate expanded anoxia during the mid-Proterozoic compared to the present-day ocean, suggesting oxygenation of the deep oceans may have lagged that of the atmosphere by over a billion years.
Widespread iron-rich conditions in the mid-Proterozoic ocean
Results indicate that ferruginous (anoxic and Fe2+-rich) conditions were both spatially and temporally extensive across diverse palaeogeographic settings in the mid-Proterozoic ocean, inviting new models for the temporal distribution of iron formations and the availability of bioessential trace elements during a critical window for eukaryotic evolution.