Some bacteria in the early oceans could separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Under the Sun's rays, hydrogen molecules were incorporated into organic compounds, with oxygen as a by-product. If the hydrogen-heavy compounds were buried, it would have allowed oxygen to accumulate in the atmosphere.
However, in scientists realized that the hydrogen would instead escape into space through a process called methane photolysis, in which methane releases its hydrogen in a reaction with oxygen. This could explain why the early Earth stayed warm enough to sustain oxygen-producing lifeforms. The oxygen indicator might have been misinterpreted. During the proposed lag era in the previous theory, there was a change in sediments from mass-independently fractionated MIF sulfur to mass-dependently fractionated MDF sulfur.
This was assumed to show the appearance of oxygen in the atmosphere, since oxygen would have prevented the photolysis of sulfur dioxide, which causes MIF. However, the change from MIF to MDF of sulfur isotopes may instead have been caused by an increase in glacial weathering, or the homogenization of the marine sulfur pool as a result of an increased thermal gradient during the Huronian glaciation period which in this interpretation was not caused by oxygenation. The Great Oxygenation Event triggered an explosive growth in the diversity of minerals , with many elements occurring in one or more oxidized forms near the Earth's surface.
Most of these new minerals were formed as hydrated and oxidized forms due to dynamic mantle and crust processes. It has been proposed that a local rise in oxygen levels due to cyanobacterial photosynthesis in ancient microenvironments was highly toxic to the surrounding biota, and that this selective pressure drove the evolutionary transformation of an archaeal lineage into the first eukaryotes. This archaeal ancestor may already have had DNA repair mechanisms based on DNA pairing and recombination and possibly some kind of cell fusion mechanism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Paleoproterozoic surge in atmospheric oxygen.
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