Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
OxygenA Four Billion Year History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

The Early History of Atmospheric Oxygen: Geological Evidence

The Early History of Atmospheric Oxygen: Geological Evidence

(p.85) Chapter 7 The Early History of Atmospheric Oxygen: Geological Evidence

Donald Eugene Canfield

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores geological and chemical evidence for the history of atmospheric oxygen on early Earth, with a focus on the Archean Eon. It starts by investigating some of the evidence in the gold mines of South Africa. Some of these mines, located in the Witwatersrand Basin near Johannesburg, have been dug to depths of over 3.9 km (2.4 miles). A closer look at the rocks shows that they represent an ancient river deposit dated to some 2.8 to 3.1 billion years ago. The gold in these deposits was transported by strong river currents and was occasionally trapped among the cobbles and sands forming the riverbed. The presence of oxygen-sensitive minerals in ancient river deposits is pretty compelling evidence for low oxygen concentrations in the early Earth atmosphere.

Keywords:   atmospheric oxygen, chemical evidence, early Earth, Archean Eon

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.