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Electrical energy sources for organic synthesis on the early earthIt is pointed out that much of the contemporary origin-of-life research uses the original estimates of Miller and Urey (1959) for terrestrial energy dissipation by lightning and coronal discharges being equal to 2 x 10 to the 19th J/yr and 6 x 10 to the 19th J/yr, respectively. However, data from experiments that provide analogues to naturally-occurring lightning and coronal discharges indicate that lightning energy yields for organic synthesis (nmole/J) are about one order of magnitude higher than the coronal discharge yields. This suggests that, on early earth, organic production by lightning may have dominated that due to coronal emission. New values are recommended for lightning and coronal discharge dissipation rates on the early earth, 1 x 10 to the 18th J/yr and 5 x 10 to the 17th J/yr, respectively.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Chyba, Christopher
(Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Sagan, Carl
(Cornell University Ithaca, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 14, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
Volume: 21
Issue: 1 19
ISSN: 0169-6149
Subject Category
Space Biology
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
No Preview Available