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The current understanding of the evolution of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere on early Earth has been strongly influenced by the following six major paradigms for the geochemical cycles of oxygen, iron, and sulfur: (1) a dramatic change from a reducing to an oxidizing atmosphere at ca. 2.4–2.2 Ga, termed the “Great Oxidation Event” (GOE); (2) Fe-rich oceans until ca. 1.85 Ga; (3) a hydrothermal origin for the global oceanic Fe; (4) SO4 2−-poor oceans before the GOE; (5) an atmospheric origin for the oceanic sulfur species; and (6) the existence of sulfidic Proterozoic oceans.

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