An analysis of ancient minerals showed a high level of oxygen on Earth 2 billion years ago. This means that at that time our planet was much richer in oxygen than previously thought, according to a study by scientists from the University of Alberta. The work was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Researchers have studied a structure mined in the area containing shungite, an increased organic carbon burial that is about 2 billion years old.
Analysis of the samples showed that at that time there was a rather high concentration of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as unusually high levels of molybdenum, uranium, and rhenium.
The authors of the work note that the results of the study will help to better understand the process of evolution on the “early Earth”, in particular, to more accurately establish the life cycle of eukaryotes. These plants are the forerunners of all complex life and require high levels of oxygen in the environment in order to thrive.
The study confirms the idea that suitable conditions for the development of complex life on the early Earth began much earlier than previously thought.