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Great Oxygenation Event
The Great Oxidation Event (GOE), also called the Great Oxygenation Event, the Oxygen Catastrophe, the Oxygen Revolution, the Oxygen Crisis, or the Oxygen Holocaust, was a time interval during the Paleoproterozoic era when the Earth's atmosphere and the shallow ocean first experienced a rise in the amount of oxygen. This began approximately 2.460–2.426 Ga (billion years) ago, during the Siderian period, and ended approximately 2.060 Ga, during the Rhyacian. Geological, isotopic, and chemical evidence suggests that biologically-produced molecular oxygen ( dioxygen, O2) started to accumulate in Earth's atmosphere and changed it from a weakly reducing atmosphere practically free of oxygen into an oxidizing atmosphere containing abundant oxygen, with oxygen levels being as high as 10% of their present atmospheric level by the end of the GOE. The sudden injection of toxic oxygen into an anaerobic biosphere may have caused the extinction of many existing anaerobic spec ...
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Multicellular
A multicellular organism is an organism that consists of more than one cell, in contrast to unicellular organism. All species of animals, land plants and most fungi are multicellular, as are many algae, whereas a few organisms are partially uni- and partially multicellular, like slime molds and social amoebae such as the genus ''Dictyostelium''. Multicellular organisms arise in various ways, for example by cell division or by aggregation of many single cells. Colonial organisms are the result of many identical individuals joining together to form a colony. However, it can often be hard to separate colonial protists from true multicellular organisms, because the two concepts are not distinct; colonial protists have been dubbed "pluricellular" rather than "multicellular". There are also multinucleate though technically unicellular organisms that are macroscopic, such as the xenophyophorea that can reach 20 cm. Evolutionary history Occurrence Multicellularity has evolved ...
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Preston Cloud
Preston Ercelle Cloud, Jr. (September 26, 1912 – January 16, 1991) was an American earth scientist, biogeologist, cosmologist, and paleontologist. He served in the United States Navy (in which he was a bantamweight boxing champion), and led several field explorations of the U.S. Geological Survey. In academia, he was a member of the faculty of Harvard University, University of Minnesota, University of California, Los Angeles, and lastly University of California, Santa Barbara. He was best known for his work on the geologic time scale and the origin of life on Earth, and as a pioneering ecologist and environmentalist. His works on the significance of Cambrian fossils in the 1940s led to the development of the concept " Cambrian explosion," for which he coined the phrase "eruptive evolution." Early life and education Cloud was born in West Upton, Massachusetts. He was the third of seven children of Preston Ercelle and Pauline L. (''née'' Wiedemann) Cloud. His father was a ...
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Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism's activities. Some of this chemical energy is stored in carbohydrate molecules, such as sugars and starches, which are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water – hence the name ''photosynthesis'', from the Greek ''phōs'' (), "light", and ''synthesis'' (), "putting together". Most plants, algae, and cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis; such organisms are called photoautotrophs. Photosynthesis is largely responsible for producing and maintaining the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere, and supplies most of the energy necessary for life on Earth. Although photosynthesis is performed differently by different species, the process always begins when energy from light is absorbed by proteins called reaction centers that contain green chlorophyll (and other colored) pigments/chromoph ...
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Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element. At standard conditions hydrogen is a gas of diatomic molecules having the formula . It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter.However, most of the universe's mass is not in the form of baryons or chemical elements. See dark matter and dark energy. Stars such as the Sun are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. Most of the hydrogen on Earth exists in molecular forms such as water and organic compounds. For the most common isotope of hydrogen (symbol 1H) each atom has one proton, one electron, and no neutrons. In the early universe, the formation of protons, the nuclei of hydrogen, occurred during the first second after the Big Bang. The emergence of neutral hydrogen atoms throughout the universe occur ...
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Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) is a colorless, poisonous, odorless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom connected by a triple bond. It is the simplest molecule of the oxocarbon family. In coordination complexes the carbon monoxide ligand is called carbonyl. It is a key ingredient in many processes in industrial chemistry. The most common source of carbon monoxide is the partial combustion of carbon-containing compounds, when insufficient oxygen or heat is present to produce carbon dioxide. There are also numerous environmental and biological sources that generate and emit a significant amount of carbon monoxide. It is important in the production of many compounds, including drugs, fragrances, and fuels. Upon emission into the atmosphere, carbon monoxide affects several processes that contribute to climate change. Carbon monoxide has important biological roles across phylogenetic ...
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Methanogens
Methanogens are microorganisms that produce methane as a metabolic byproduct in hypoxic conditions. They are prokaryotic and belong to the domain Archaea. All known methanogens are members of the archaeal phylum Euryarchaeota. Methanogens are common in wetlands, where they are responsible for marsh gas, and in the digestive tracts of animals such as ruminants and many humans, where they are responsible for the methane content of belching in ruminants and flatulence in humans. In marine sediments, the biological production of methane, also termed methanogenesis, is generally confined to where sulfates are depleted, below the top layers. Moreover, methanogenic archaea populations play an indispensable role in anaerobic wastewater treatments. Others are extremophiles, found in environments such as hot springs and submarine hydrothermal vents as well as in the "solid" rock of Earth's crust, kilometers below the surface. Physical description Methanogens are coccoid (spherical shaped ...
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Methane
Methane ( , ) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula (one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). It is a group-14 hydride, the simplest alkane, and the main constituent of natural gas. The relative abundance of methane on Earth makes it an economically attractive fuel, although capturing and storing it poses technical challenges due to its gaseous state under normal conditions for temperature and pressure. Naturally occurring methane is found both below ground and under the seafloor and is formed by both geological and biological processes. The largest reservoir of methane is under the seafloor in the form of methane clathrates. When methane reaches the surface and the atmosphere, it is known as atmospheric methane. The Earth's atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases. It has also been detected on other ...
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Greenhouse Gas
A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor (), carbon dioxide (), methane (), nitrous oxide (), and ozone (). Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth's surface would be about , rather than the present average of . The atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Titan also contain greenhouse gases. Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (around 1750) have increased the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide by over 50%, from 280 ppm in 1750 to 421 ppm in 2022. The last time the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was this high was over 3 million years ago. This increase has occurred despite the absorption of more than half of the emissions by various natural carbon sinks in the carbon cycle. At current greenhouse gas emission rates, temperatures could incr ...
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Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when energy from a planet's host star goes through the planet's atmosphere and heats the planet's surface, but greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prevent some of the heat from returning directly to space, resulting in a warmer planet. Earth's natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible and carbon dioxide plays a significant role in providing for the relatively high temperature on Earth. The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary atmosphere warms the planet's surface beyond the temperature it would have in the absence of its atmosphere.A concise description of the greenhouse effect is given in the ''Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report,'' "What is the Greenhouse Effect?FAQ 1.3 – AR4 WGI Chapter 1: Historical Overview of Climate Change Science, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Chapter 1, p. 115: "To balance the absorbed incoming olarenergy, the Earth m ...
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Faint Young Sun Paradox
The faint young Sun paradox or faint young Sun problem describes the apparent contradiction between observations of liquid water early in Earth's history and the astrophysical expectation that the Sun's output would be only 70 percent as intense during that epoch as it is during the modern epoch. The paradox is this: with the young sun's output at only 70 percent of its current output, early Earth would be expected to be completely frozenbut early Earth seems to have had liquid water and supported life. The issue was raised by astronomers Carl Sagan and George Mullen in 1972. Proposed resolutions of this paradox have taken into account greenhouse effects, changes to planetary albedo, astrophysical influences, or combinations of these suggestions. It turned out that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide contributed most. Solar evolution Models of stellar structure, esp. the standard solar model were already sufficiently evolved at that time to predict a brightening: It is due ...
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Volcanism
Volcanism, vulcanism or volcanicity is the phenomenon of eruption of molten rock (magma) onto the surface of the Earth or a solid-surface planet or moon, where lava, pyroclastics, and volcanic gases erupt through a break in the surface called a vent. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of the body, to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface. Magmas, that reach the surface and solidify, form extrusive landforms. Volcanic processes Magma from the mantle or lower crust rises through the crust towards the surface. If magma reaches the surface, its behavior depends on the viscosity of the molten constituent rock. Viscous (thick) magma produces volcanoes characterised by explosive eruptions, while non-viscous (runny) magma produce volcanoes characterised by effusive eruptions pouring large amounts of lava onto the surface. In some cases, rising magma can cool and solidify without reaching the surface. Inste ...
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