The secret of the primordial atmosphere of the Earth is revealed: scientists are finding answers to the question of the origin of life

Scientists have uncovered the secret of the primordial atmosphere of the Earth

The scientists from around the world believe that they received new data on the state of the Earth's atmosphere 4.5 million years ago. Their data allow us to see in a new way the process of the origin of life on our planet about 4.5 billion years ago. At that time, the Earth was very different from the state of the planet that is observed now. The surface of the Earth was completely covered with molten rocky material, magma. It is formed during volcanic eruptions.

Many leading world scientists agree with that conclusion. But they ask what was the atmosphere of the planet during that unique period? Under the guidance of research assistant Paolo Sossi, the scientists were able to partially reveal some of the mysteries of the pristine atmosphere of our planet.

4.5 billion years ago, magma on our planet was constantly exchanging gas formations in the atmosphere. The planet's air and magma constantly influenced each other. The researchers created an imitation of that process. They created a powder that matched the composition of the Earth's molten mantle and then heated it up.

The composition of the powder made heating and melting difficult, and therefore very high temperatures up to two thousand degrees were required. In the experiment, the scientists used a laser-heated aerodynamic levitation furnace. In it, they were able to levitate magma, from what gas mixtures flowed down streams.

They also turned out to be likely candidates for a primitive atmosphere as billions of years ago, influenced the primitive atmosphere of our planet. The main discovery that the scientists made is that iron oxidizes in magma, turning into rust. And when the gas mixture in the experiment contained a lot of oxygen, the iron inside the magma became even more oxidized.

That oxygen level allowed the scientists to compare it with today's natural components that make up the Earth's mantle, with peridotites. As it turned out, the oxidation of iron in these rocks is still under the influence of the pristine atmosphere.

Reference: “Redox state of Earth’s magma ocean and its Venus-like early atmosphere” by Paolo A. Sossi, Antony D. Burnham, James Badro, Antonio Lanzirotti, Matt Newville and Hugh St.C. O’Neill, 25 November 2020, Science Advances.DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1387