Before 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere had no traces of oxygen whatsoever, but then three serious oxygenation events occurred. The big three elements that make life possible, phosphorus, carbon, and oxygen, have made an appearance and changed everything about the planet.
The current hypothesis implies that a biological uprising or tectonic changes triggering a transformation in volcanic activity and layers of the crust could be the cause behind these oxygenation happenings. However, researchers from the University of Leeds believe that it was just a matter of time before oxygen standards would be able to support intricate life.
Their new hypothesis says that breathable air appeared as an outcome of internal feedbacks in phosphorus, carbon as well as oxygen cycles, which are three of the six vital elemental ingredients for life, without the need for a powerful external push.
Lewis Alcott, postgraduate researcher and lead author of the study published in Science Journal, said: “Based on this work, it seems that oxygenated planets may be much more common than previously thought because they do not require multiple – and very unlikely – biological advances, or chance happenings of tectonics.”
How Other Planets May Become Habitable
The team of researchers also say that the probabilities of other high-oxygen planets in the Universe. According to them, the research tests scientists’ understanding of the way Earth became abundant in oxygen, and therefore able to support life.
Senior author Dr. Benjamin Mills also said that the model demonstrates that steady oxygenation of the planet’s surface over time should lead to distinct oxygenation happenings in the atmosphere and oceans, in comparison to those seen in the geological record.
The team’s work demonstrates that the correlation between the worldwide phosphorus, carbon, and oxygen cycles is essential to gain an understanding of the oxygenation background of our planet. The discovery could help the researchers better comprehend the way a planet other than Earth may become habitable.