Saturday , January 23 2021

Earth had an atmosphere 4,500 years ago just as toxic as the atmosphere of Venus

To reach this conclusion, scientists created magma with dust from the Earth’s mantle in the laboratory, which they heated to 2,000 degrees in a special furnace.

4.5 billion years ago, the Earth’s atmosphere was similar to that of Venus because gases escaped from the magmatic ocean which formed the surface of the Earth, finished a group of researchers after a series of laboratory experiments.

According to the scientists, at that time an object the size of Mars would hit the Earth, releasing enough energy for it melt the mantle whole planet – the layer between the core and the crust – and turn it into magma.

This event would have replaced the Earth’s atmosphere at the time with a new one, dominated by Carbon Dioxide and with a small proportion of nitrogen, similar to the atmospheric composition of Venus today, the team reveals in their study, published this week in the journal Science Advances.

Illustrated image

To reproduce the conditions of the young Earth, the group, led by Paolo Sossi, from the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich (Switzerland), created their own magma in the laboratory by taking rock dust from the mantle of the earth and warm it up to 2,000 centile with a laser.

This task required a special furnace in which the powder was suspended in a jets of gases, mixed in varying proportions competing as candidates for the early atmosphere. With each new mix, the researchers analyzed changes in level iron oxidation in magma after cooling. By comparing the level of rust in these samples with natural rocks in the Earth’s mantle, the researchers drew the gas composition closest to the atmosphere 4,500 years ago.

“What we found is that after the magma cooled, the early Earth had a mild oxidative atmosphere, with carbon dioxide being the main component, in addition to nitrogen and a small amount of water,” Sossi explains.

Also, the surface pressure It was nearly 1,000 times greater than today, while the atmosphere reached higher heights due to the great warming of the earth’s surface.

Earth and Venus had similar atmospheres at the time, but the second planet subsequently lost all its water due to its proximity to the Sun and its associated higher temperatures. Meanwhile, on Earth, water was being protected in the form of oceans, and absorb great part of CO2 air, thereby creating favorable conditions for the development of life.

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