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GEOREF RECORD

Model for the evolution of the earth's atmosphere

Heinrich D. Holland
Model for the evolution of the earth's atmosphere (in Petrologic studies--A volume in honor of A. F. Buddington)
Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States (1962) 447-477

Abstract

The history of the earth's atmosphere has been divided into 3 stages. The first covers the earliest part of earth history, prior to the formation of the core; during this time native Fe was probably present in the upper part of the mantle. Volcanic gases ejected during the first stage probably contained a large amount of H, and the atmosphere was highly reduced. C was probably present in the form of methane, N may have been present as ammonia, and free O was absent in all but nonequilibrium quantities. The second stage of atmospheric history began when Fe was removed from the upper mantle. Volcanic gases became much less reducing and probably approached rather rapidly the present oxidation state of Hawaiian volcanic gases. The atmosphere responded to this change largely in terms of the chemistry of atmospheric C. Carbon dioxide took the place of methane and began to participate in the processes of weathering and chemical precipitation. Free O was probably absent during the second stage except in trace, nonequilibrium quantities. The third stage began when the rate of production of O by photosynthesis exceeded the rate needed to oxidize injected volcanic gases completely. During this, the present, stage O has probably accumulated at a roughly constant rate. The earth's core was probably formed quite early, and the first stage of the atmosphere probably lasted less than 0.5 b. y. (billion years). The second stage may have continued until about 1.0 b. y. ago. The presence of detrital uraninite in mid-Precambrian sediments suggests that the second stage lasted at least until 2.0 b. y. ago, and the O requirements of late Paleozoic insects suggest that a fairly high O pressure was obtained 0.3 b. y. ago.


Title: Model for the evolution of the earth's atmosphere
Title: Petrologic studies--A volume in honor of A. F. Buddington
Pages: 447-477
Published: 1962
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Accession Number: 1962-012467
Categories: Solid-earth geophysicsGeochemistry
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus., tables
Source Note: New York, Geol. Soc. America
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from Bibliography and Index of North American Geology, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, United States
Update Code: 1962
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