Air And Rock Essay

866 words - 3 pages

Air and Rock

Composition of atmosphere:

* 78% nitrogen

* 21% oxygen

* 0.04% CO2

* 1% Noble gases (mainly argon)

Atmosphere wasn’t always like this, here’s how the first 4.5 billion
years have gone:

Phase 1 (first billion years) – Volcanoes gave out steam, CO2, NH3 and

* earth’s surface molten, any atmosphere boiled away.

* Cooled and thin crust formed but volcanoes kept erupting.

* Belched out CO2

* Also steam, ammonia and methane

* Early atmosphere mostly Co2, carbon monoxide and water vapour

* Virtually no oxygen

* Water vapour condensed to form oceans.

Phase 2 (next 2 billion years) – Green plants evolved and produced

* Green plants evolved

* Plants happy in CO2 atmosphere

* A lot of Co2 dissolved in oceans

* Green plants removed Co2 and produced O2 by photosynthesis.

* Much Co2 locked up in fossil fuels and sedimentary rocks

* Methane and ammonia reacted with oxygen, releasing nitrogen gas

* Ammonia converted into nitrates by nitrifying bacteria

* Nitrogen gas released by living organisms like denitrifying

Phase 3 (last billion years or so) – Ozone layer allows evolution of
complex animals

* Build up of oxygen in atmosphere killed early organisms that
couldn’t tolerate it.

* Enabled evolution of more complex organisms that made use of

* Oxygen created ozone layer (03), which blocked harmful rays from
sun and enabled more complex organisms to evolve.

* There is virtually no CO2 left.

Percentage of oxygen = change in volume / original volume X 100

The oceans and Carbon

* Oceans formed by condensation of steam in early atmosphere

* They...

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