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815 Million-Year-Old Rock Salt Shows Surprising Fact About Ancient Earth’s Atmosphere, Research Says

Aug 01, 2016 09:44 PM EDT
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Are We Facing Another Mass Extinction Event?

Another earth's mystery has unfolded through the study led by Tech Adjunct Professor Dr. Nigel Blamey. Through a time capsule, experts were able to measure the atmospheric oxygen present in the planet's atmosphere about 815 million years ago. The result of the study showed possible clues for the origin of every creature living in this world.

The goal of the research, which will be featured in the August 2016 issue of Geology, is to have a glimpse of the composition of the Earth's ancient atmosphere before. That was by studying a time capsule, which was made up of rock crystals with preserved and undisturbed air in it. The study was made possible using an instrument called a mass spectrometer.

Based on the research, the 815 million-year-old specimen shows that the ancient Earth has an atmosphere with 10.3 to 13.4 percent oxygen, according to Science World Report. Experts say that the oxygen found in the rock salt is only half of the amount of what we have today, which is 20.9 percent, but still enough to supply the needs of animals.

Experts were surprised with how the results have been. Based on the previous data and analysis, they are expecting that the results will show only about 20 percent of what was found through the study. Nigel Blamey, a Professor of Earth and Sciences at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. said, "I'm surprised and excited" to know there was already enough amount of oxygen during that time, as reported by CBC. The increase of oxygen over time could possibly be the reason why animals needed to "diversify and become more complex," he added.

The study became successful with the combined efforts of different scientists from United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and China, as posted by DChieftain. "We built on years of experience crushing rocks exploring for gold, oil and gas," Blamey said.

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