Before the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), at ∼2.4 Ga, the mineralogical record of the near-surface continental environment indicates a low partial pressure of oxygen during weathering, which restricted many elements to a low oxidation state and limited the number of possible minerals formed from these elements. Calculations show that local pulses in the production of O2 by photosynthesis could mobilize some metals (e.g. Mo and Re, but not U), but this O2 would be completely consumed. After the GOE, many elements could occur in one or more oxidized forms in minerals in the near-surface environment. This development resulted in an explosive growth in the diversification of minerals.

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