Early Earth's Atmosphere Was Rich In Carbon Dioxide & Not Oxygen, Study Says

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A study that looked into samples of small meteorites that hit our planet about 2.7 billion yrs ago has revealed that early Earth's atmosphere was rich in CO2.

Written By Sounak Mitra | Mumbai | Updated On:

A study that looked into the samples of small meteorites that hit our planet about 2.7 billion years ago has revealed that the early Earth's atmosphere was rich in carbon dioxide but not oxygen. The previous study suggested that the meteorites were rich in oxygen that contradicted theories and evidence that the earth's early atmosphere lacked oxygen.

First author, Owen Lehmer from the University of Washington, Seattle, said that their findings that the atmosphere these micrometeorites encountered was high in carbon dioxide is consistent with what the atmosphere was thought to look like on the early Earth.

READ: Meteorite That Hit Australia Contains Oldest Material Ever Found On Earth: Scientists

Earth's atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide

Sufficient knowledge about the conditions of early Earth is important not just for understanding the history of the planet but it can help inform the search for life on other planets. Lehmar asserted that how life formed more than 3.8 billion years ago is a big question.

The new study that was published in the journal Science Advances reveals how micrometeorites interacted with the atmosphere, 2.7 billion years ago. A test was conducted which showed that an atmosphere made up of from 6 percent to more than 70 per cent carbon dioxide could have produced the effect seen in the samples.  

Co-author David Catling, Professor at the University of Washington said that the amount of oxidation in ancient micrometeorites suggests that the early atmosphere was very rich in carbon dioxide. 

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Meteorite contained oldest material ever

Meanwhile, scientists have said on January 13 that a meteorite that crashed into the rural region of southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth. A new analysis of the meteorite revealed stardust that formed between five to seven billion years ago.

Scientists have revealed that it is known to be the oldest solid material ever found on Earth. According to the researchers, the 40 tiny dust grains were trapped inside the meteorite fragments which was retrieved around the town of Murchison in Victoria.

READ: Astronomers Solve Mystery Behind Element That Helped Form Life On Earth

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(with inputs from agencies)

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