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Biological modulation of planetary atmospheres: The early Earth scenarioThe establishment and subsequent evolution of life on Earth had a profound impact on the chemical regime at the planet's surface and its atmosphere. A thermodynamic gradient was imposed on near-surface environments that served as the driving force for a number on important geochemical transformations. An example is the redox imbalance between the modern atmosphere and the material of the Earth's crust. Current photochemical models predict extremely low partial pressures of oxygen in the Earth's prebiological atmosphere. There is widespread consensus that any large-scale oxygenation of the primitive atmosphere was contingent on the advent of biological (autotrophic) carbon fixation. It is suggested that photoautotrophy existed both as a biochemical process and as a geochemical agent since at least 3.8 Ga ago. Combining the stoichiometry of the photosynthesis reaction with a carbon isotope mass balance and current concepts for the evolution of the stationary sedimentary mass as a funion of time, it is possible to quantify, the accumulation of oxygen and its photosynthetic oxidation equivalents through Earth history.
Document ID
19850025554
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Schidlowski, M. (Max-Planck-Inst. fuer Chemie Mainz, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst. Terrest. Planets: Comp. Planetology
Subject Category
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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