Seminar Details

Life through the Proterozoic: Quantifying the productivity of the ancient biosphere through triple oxygen isotopes




Dr. Peter Crockford - Weizmann Institute of Science and Princeton University


Tracking the extent of life on our planet through time is essential for a basic understanding of the broad co-evolution of ecology and the oxygen and carbon cycles. But, until now, there were essentially no empirical constraints on size of the biosphere for most of Earth’s history. In this talk I will present new triple oxygen isotope (∆17O) data preserved within sulfate minerals from basins distributed worldwide that contain large mass independent ∆17O depletions. Coupling ∆17O results to existing estimates of atmospheric CO2 and O2 concentrations allow for estimates to be made of the productivity of ancient biospheres. I will present results that span from Earth’s first oxygenation at 2.4 billion years ago up until the present day. Results will then be utilized to highlight areas of agreement and potential disagreement with models for the evolution of the Earth System.

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