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OxygenA Four Billion Year History$
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Donald Eugene Canfield

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145020

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145020.001.0001

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Phanerozoic Oxygen

Phanerozoic Oxygen

(p.138) Chapter 11 Phanerozoic Oxygen

Donald Eugene Canfield

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the modeling of the history of atmospheric oxygen. The most recently deposited sediments will also be the most prone to weathering through processes like sea-level change or uplift of the land. Thus, through rapid recycling, high rates of oxygen production through the burial of organic-rich sediments will quickly lead to high rates of oxygen consumption through the exposure of these organic-rich sediments to weathering. From a modeling perspective, rapid recycling helps to dampen oxygen changes. This is important because the fluxes of oxygen through the atmosphere during organic carbon and pyrite burial, and by weathering, are huge compared to the relatively small amounts of oxygen in the atmosphere. Thus, all of the oxygen in the present atmosphere is cycled through geologic processes of oxygen liberation (organic carbon and pyrite burial) and consumption (weathering) on a time scale of about 2 to 3 million years.

Keywords:   Phanerozoic Eon, atmospheric oxygen, Earth, rapid recycling, weathering

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