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Geological nitrogen cycle and atmospheric N (sub 2) over Phanerozoic time

Robert A. Berner
Geological nitrogen cycle and atmospheric N (sub 2) over Phanerozoic time
Geology (Boulder) (May 2006) 34 (5): 413-415


Using the average nitrogen/carbon ratio (N/C) of sedimentary organic matter, coal, and volcanic/metamorphic gases, existing models of the carbon cycle have been used to calculate the fluxes of nitrogen to and from the atmosphere via the weathering, burial, and metamorphic/volcanic decomposition of organic matter. Results indicate no appreciable change, less than one percent of that present, in the mass of atmospheric N (sub 2) over Phanerozoic time. This is in sharp contrast to atmospheric O (sub 2) , which shows notable variations. Variation of the mass of O (sub 2) , but not that of N (sub 2) , must have led to variation in total atmospheric pressure with time. Results are not altered by considering N/C ratios ten times higher than the average for sedimentary rocks nor by considering nitrogen release from silicate weathering. The residence time of N (sub 2) in the atmosphere, relative to exchange with and storage in crustal rocks, is estimated to be about one billion years.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 34
Serial Issue: 5
Title: Geological nitrogen cycle and atmospheric N (sub 2) over Phanerozoic time
Author(s): Berner, Robert A.
Affiliation: Yale University, Department of Geology and Geophysics, New Haven, CT, United States
Pages: 413-415
Published: 200605
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 19
Accession Number: 2006-049747
Categories: General geochemistryStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200627
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