Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EARLY EARTH
When water met iron deep inside the Earth, did it create conditions for life
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 16, 2017


An illustration from the paper showing oxygen and hydrogen cycling in the deep Earth.

Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth's core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth's history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth's atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review.

The team - which includes scientists from Carnegie, Stanford University, the Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research in China, and the University of Chicago - probed the chemistry of iron and water under the extreme temperatures and pressures of the Earth's core-mantle boundary.

When the action of plate tectonics draws water-containing minerals down deep enough to meet the Earth's iron core, the extreme conditions cause the iron to grab oxygen atoms from the water molecules and set the hydrogen atoms free. The hydrogen escapes to the surface, but the oxygen gets trapped into crystalline iron dioxide, which can only exist under such intense pressures and temperatures.

Using theoretical calculations as well as laboratory experiments to recreate the environment of the core-mantle boundary, the team determined that iron dioxide can be created using a laser-heated diamond anvil cell to put materials under between about 950 and 1 million times normal atmospheric pressure and more than 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Based on our knowledge of the chemical makeup of the slabs that are drawn into the Earth's deep interior by plate tectonics, we think 300 million tons of water could be carried down to meet iron in the core and generate massive iron dioxide rocks each year," said lead author Ho-kwang "Dave" Mao.

These extremely oxygen-rich solid rocks may accumulate steadily year-by-year above the core, growing into gigantic, continent-like sizes. A geological event that heated up these iron dioxide rocks could cause a massive eruption, suddenly releasing a great deal of oxygen to the surface.

The authors hypothesize that such an oxygen explosion could put a tremendous amount of the gas into the Earth's atmosphere - enough to cause the so-called Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred about 2.5 billion years ago and created our oxygen-rich atmosphere, conditions that kickstarted the rise oxygen-dependent life as we know it.

"This newly discovered high-temperature and intense-pressure water-splitting reaction affects geochemistry from the deep interior to the atmosphere" said Mao. "Many previous theories need to be re-examined now.

EARLY EARTH
Human cells, hardy microbes share common ancestor
Fort Collins CO (SPX) Nov 10, 2017
To Tom Santangelo, single-celled microorganisms called archaea are like ancient mariners, surviving among the most extreme conditions on Earth, including volcanic vents in the deep ocean. The Colorado State University researcher studies how these hardy microbes - which constitute one of three surviving domains of life - express their genes, produce their energy, and thrive in hot, lightles ... read more

Related Links
Carnegie Institution for Science
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

EARLY EARTH
15,000 scientists say threats to planet now 'far worse'

Iran scrambles to aid victims of killer quake

Sandy Hook families renew legal push against gun maker

Nuclear tax refund keeps RWE on track for 2017

EARLY EARTH
A new way to mix oil and water

Building better silk

Plasma from lasers can shed light on cosmic rays, solar eruptions

Measuring atoms for better navigation and mineral detection

EARLY EARTH
Nepal scraps mega hydropower deal with Chinese firm

New islands could solve Bangladesh land crisis: experts

How a 'shadow zone' traps the world's oldest ocean water

Researchers use forensic science to track turtles

EARLY EARTH
A new timeline for glacial retreat in Western Canada

Research shows ice sheets as large as Greenland's melted fast in a warming climate

Hot News from the Antarctic Underground

Chinese icebreaker steams for Antarctica in polar power play

EARLY EARTH
Peruvian farmer scores small win in court over German energy giant

Weed-killer prompts angry divide among US farmers

Cover crops shield soil from extreme temps

Sensors applied to plant leaves warn of water shortage

EARLY EARTH
Quake-stricken Iranians vent anger at former president

Iran hunts for survivors as quake kills 400 near Iraq border

Central pressure deficit, not wind speed, best to predict hurricane damage

Strong quake rocks Costa Rica

EARLY EARTH
UN peacekeeping missions under pressure to reform in Africa

US investigators return to scene of Niger ambush

Dozens of new wildlife corridors identified for African mammals

Judges finish investigation into Guinea stadium massacre

EARLY EARTH
Finger and toe fossils belonged to tiny primates 45 million years ago

Japanese scientists estimate the mutation rate from chimpanzee parents to their offspring

Bonobos help strangers without being asked

Faith not linked to intuition or rational thinking, study shows




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement