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Evidence and arguments for methane and ammonia in Earth's earliest atmosphere and an organic compound-rich early ocean

George H. Shaw
Evidence and arguments for methane and ammonia in Earth's earliest atmosphere and an organic compound-rich early ocean (in Earth's early atmosphere and surface environment, George H. Shaw (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (May 2014) 504: 1-10

Abstract

The preponderance of geologic evidence does not support carbon dioxide as the main carbon species degassed from early Earth, nor a carbon dioxide-rich early atmosphere. In fact, there are several problems that cannot be addressed by assuming either of these facets of what has become conventional wisdom about the early atmosphere. A careful examination of the conditions that most likely accompanied late accretion, incorporating the most probable average composition of accreting materials, suggests an early atmosphere produced by degassing of reduced carbon and nitrogen species, followed by photochemical processing to yield a surface environment rich in organic compounds. Recycling of these organics through hydrothermal and volcanic systems would have maintained a level of reduced gases (photochemically unstable as they may be) in the early atmosphere for an extended period, accompanied by a growing carbon dioxide component derived from mantle magmatism. Such a model for the early atmosphere is not only consistent with geological data, it also solves many problems of the early history of Earth.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 504
Title: Evidence and arguments for methane and ammonia in Earth's earliest atmosphere and an organic compound-rich early ocean
Title: Earth's early atmosphere and surface environment
Author(s): Shaw, George H.
Author(s): Shaw, George H.editor
Affiliation: Union College, Geology Department, Schenectady, NY, United States
Affiliation: Union College, Geology Department, Schenectady, NY, United States
Pages: 1-10
Published: 201405
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 66
Accession Number: 2014-039295
Categories: Solid-earth geophysicsStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables, sects.
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: 201424
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