Monday, October 05, 2009

The Deep Ocean was Oxygenated Late

Anoxygenic photosynthesis modulated Proterozoic oxygen and sustained Earth's middle age in PNAS.
Molecular oxygen (O2) began to accumulate in the atmosphere and surface ocean ca. 2,400 million years ago (Ma), but the persistent oxygenation of water masses throughout the oceans developed much later, perhaps beginning as recently as 580–550 Ma. For much of the intervening interval, moderately oxic surface waters lay above an oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that tended toward euxinia (anoxic and sulfidic).

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