Geology: The Ever-changing Amounts of Oxygen in the Earth Atmosphere

Geology: The Ever-changing Amounts of Oxygen in the Earth Atmosphere

We all know that there would have been no human life on earth if not for oxygen. But the question about how oxygen was formed in the atmosphere of the earth has been a fascinating subject in geology, physics, and other science disciplines.

The researchers have found many interesting facts about the ever-changing level of oxygen in the earth atmosphere and predicted some future patterns based on the trends of billion years. So, let’s find out about the level of oxygen in different significant timescale in earth’s history from below.

When Was Oxygen Formed on Earth’s Atmosphere?

While there is an ample amount of oxygen in the atmosphere of the earth now, it wasn’t always like this. In fact, the first 2 billion years of earth’s existence was absent of oxygen altogether. Although, many geology researchers agree that the gas was being formed under the ocean bed sometimes 3 billion years ago.

With a comprehensive study to pinpoint the exact timeframe, a group of researchers from MIT have found that the initial rise of atmospheric oxygen started to appear in the atmosphere some 2.3 billion years ago. It took about 1 to 10 million years for it to come to a level where molecular life could emerge.

How Much of the Earth’s Atmosphere is Filled with Oxygen Today?

This is not as difficult to measure. Today, oxygen makes up about 21 per cent of the entire atmosphere of the earth. Such a high level is perfect for the life, survival, and growth of complex organisms, including humans. This oxygen is mostly released by trees and plants who produce it as a byproduct of their photosynthesis process.

Is Oxygen Level Going to Remain the Same Forever?

No, not really. The latest research has found enough evidence that within one billion years from now, oxygen in the atmosphere of the earth would get so low that it would be uninhabitable for any molecular life to exist. There is a combination of reasons, one of which is the sun getting hotter and releasing more energy.