Laughing gas was crucial to the emergence of life on Earth and helped keep our young planet at the perfect temperature, researchers found
At the beginning of the planet's existence, the sun was weaker than today, but the Earth was strong Earth science theory, sustained by a strong greenhouse effect, preserves the geoscientific theory
The astronomer Carl Sagan coined this "weak young solar paradox", but for decades the researchers could not find the right balance of atmospheric gases to warm the early Earth sufficiently for life.
Jennifer Glass found in her lab in Georgia Tech with a stromatolitic ironstone that formed during the oxidation of iron and Ocean water left. Nitrous oxide was crucial to the emergence of life on Earth and helped keep our young planet at the perfect temperature, researchers found
WHAT IS THE FLEINT YOUNG SUN PARADOX?
In the first billion years of Earth's history, the planet was bombarded by primal asteroids, while a weak sun provided much less heat.
However, the earth remained warm due to a strong greenhouse effect, as shown by geoscientific theory.
The astronomer Carl Sagan coined this "weak young solar paradox"
Now a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests this might have played a significant role in laughing gas, which is known for its use as nitrous oxide.
The team performed a series of experiments and atmospheric computer modeling to see what would happen if there were nitrous oxide (N2O) gas in the ancient atmosphere.
In laboratory experiments, researchers found that soluble iron (II) in seawater reacts quickly with nitrogen molecules, in particular nitrogen monoxide, and releases nitrous oxide in a so-called chemodenitrification process.
This nitrous oxide (N2O) can then enter the atmosphere atmosphere.
"It's quite possible life breathed nitrous oxide long before oxygen began to breathe," said Jennifer Glass, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech.
"Chemdenitrification could have provided microbes with a steady source of it."
When the higher fluxes of nitrous oxide entered the atmosphere model, the results showed that nitrous oxide could have reached ten times what it is now when the mean concentrations of proterozoic oxygen are now 10 percent cheating.
This BIG iron eye (BIG) shows iron layers settling as compounds of the oceanic solution , Before oxygen was abundant, the oceans were probably full of iron, which could bring nitrous oxide into the earth's early atmosphere to keep it warm.
This higher nitrous oxide would have added an additional boost to global warming under the faint young sun.
The study focused on the mid-proterozoic over a billion years ago.
The spread of complex life was still several hundred million years back, and the speed of our planet's evolution probably seemed deceptively slow.
& # 39; People in our area often refer to this middle chapter of Earth's history, about 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, as the "boring billion," because we classically consider it to be a very stable period "said Chloe Stanton, a former research assistant at the Georgia Tech glass laboratory and the first author of the study.
" But there During this time, there were many important processes that influenced the chemistry of the oceans and the atmosphere. "
This elevated seabed is red like rust, and when oxygen was built up in the waters, iron rusted the solution and when abundant in the ocean, the strong chemical reactant could produce N2O (nitrous oxide) Karijini National Park Banded Iron Formations, Australia
Chemistry in the Middle Proterozoic ocean was strongly influenced by abundant soluble iron (Fe2 +) in oxygen-free deep waters.
"The chemistry of the ocean was totally different back then," Glass said.
"Today's oceans are well oxygenated, so that iron quickly rusts and falls out of solution, oxygen was low in the Proterozoic oceans, so they were filled with iron-iron, which is highly reactive."
Even today, some microbes can breathe nitrous oxide at low oxygen levels.
There are many similarities between the enzymes that microbes use to inhale nitric and nitric oxides and enzymes to breathe oxygen.