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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: Second atmosphere   Sun 14 Nov 2010, 5:03 pm

Second atmosphere

Water related sediments have been found dating from as early as 3.8 billion years ago.[12] About 3.4 billion years ago, nitrogen was the major part of the then stable "second atmosphere." An influence of life has to be taken into account rather soon in the history of the atmosphere, since hints of early life forms are to be found as early as 3.5 billion years ago.[13] The fact that this is not perfectly in line with the - compared to today 30% lower - solar radiance of the early Sun has been described as the "Faint young Sun paradox".

The geological record however shows a continually relatively warm surface during the complete early temperature record of the Earth with the exception of one cold glacial phase about 2.4 billion years ago. In the late Archaean era an oxygen-containing atmosphere began to develop, apparently from photosynthesizing algae which have been found as stromatolite fossils from 2.7 billion years ago. The early basic carbon isotopy (isotope ratio proportions) is very much in line with what is found today,[14] suggesting that the fundamental features of the carbon cycle were established as early as 4 billion years ago.

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