Widespread volcanic activity, cyanobacteria and global glaciation may sound like the plot of a new, blockbuster disaster movie, but in reality, they are all events in the mystery surrounding the development of our oxygen-rich atmosphere, according to a Penn State geoscientist.
The most extreme fluctuation in the Earths carbon cycle occurred about 2.2 billion years ago, according to Dr. Lee R. Kump, professor of geosciences and member of the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center, and the conventional explanation is that it marks the debut of our oxygen atmosphere. Recently, however, better geological dating and a better proxy measure of when oxygen occurred in the atmosphere suggest that the oxygen atmosphere appeared long before this supposedly seminal event. "The new dating and proxy clearly show that the rise of oxygen preceded its apparent cause by at least 100 million years," Kump told attendees at the Geological Society of America conference Nov. 8 in Denver.
The proxy measure of when significant oxygen appeared in the atmosphere is sulfur. In an oxygen atmosphere, which is very oxidizing, all sulfur eventually becomes sulfate, but in a reducing atmosphere – one without significant oxygen – sulfur deposits as sulfate, sulfite or even pure sulfur and retains an unusual isotopic signature of upper atmospheric processes. Better dating of these strange isotopes in rocks found them to be 2.3 billion years old or older and does suggest that oxygen appeared earlier than the carbon cycle perturbation.
Andrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine