It has been found that in ancient times, the planet’s atmosphere weighed half as much as it does today.
Some still think that the ancient earth had a stuffy and muggy atmosphere, but this may be entirely incorrect. The latest findings suggest that the atmosphere was half as heavy as it is today. Bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion year old rocks lend credibility to this hypothesis. This study was published in online on May 9 in Nature Geoscience.
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This completely reverses the previously-held belief that the the early earth had a stuffy atmosphere to counter the scant sunlight. This finding also has repercussions on what sort of gases were present in those bygone times. The effects of biological agents and climate change were considerable in this ancient era.
People will believe what you tell them. They cannot help but follow the herd instinct. Yet scientific facts speak louder than blind belief alone. The actual reality of the situation is such that it turns out the atmosphere way back then was lighter than it is today.
Bubbles stuck in lava are employed to get results in a sort of paleobarometer method. This determines the weight of the air in those ancient times.
The method was also used to find out the level the lava had reached. Scientists were looking for a site where such circumstances would prevail which would allow them to take readings.
Western Australia was the ideal spot for finding out more about this fact for the sake of science. The Beasley River has an exposed section of basalt lava that is 2.7 billion years old.
The lowest levels of this lava show signs of it submerging into the sea water. The upper lava flows were drilled into by the experts.
Bubbles get trapped at the bottom of this lava. The various sizes of these bubbles show us a geological picture of how the atmosphere in those days acted on the earth. It weighed half of what it does today.
The earth was host to single cell microbes way back then. There was also no oxygen in the atmosphere. The sunlight was brief and intermittent in nature.
This lighter atmosphere would have had quite a few effects on the surrounding phenomena. The scientists are still tabulating the results of this experiment in “paleobarometric science”.
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Although clues regarding the early earth are rare, sometimes scientists do get a rare glimpse into the actual situation that was extant in those primitive times.