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Was there molecular oxygen in the earth's primitive atmosphere?

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boroboacana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 24, 2011 at 1:41 AM via web

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Was there molecular oxygen in the earth's primitive atmosphere?

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aimeefarnum | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 24, 2011 at 6:27 AM (Answer #1)

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There was not molecular oxygen in early Earth's atmosphere. It was not until photosynthetic blue-green algae began to release oxygen by taking in carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water to create glucose and oxygen. Today the atmosphere is about 21% oxygen due to the delicate dance of photosynthesis/cellular respiration from producers and consumers. The original atmosphere was composed of hydrogen and helium until volcanic eruptions released carbon dioxide, Nitrogen, water vapor, sulfates, ammonia, and Methane.

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