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Press Release 07-127

Oxygen on Earth: 50 to 100 Million Years Earlier Than Scientists Thought

Environmental changes preceded first great rise in atmospheric oxygen

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Oxygen has been found before this formation of iron oxide, or rust, in Western Australia.

New findings reveal the importance of oxygen in the environment shortly before the deposition of this massive formation of iron oxide--rust--in the Hamersley Basin in Western Australia.

Credit: A. D. Anbar, ASU


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Scientist Roger Buick, a co-author of the papers, conducts research in Western Australia.

Scientist Roger Buick of the University of Washington, a co-author of the Science papers, conducts research in Western Australia.

Credit: A. D. Anbar, ASU


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In this sediment core are traces of oxygen on Earth 50-100 million years earlier than thought.

Scientists have discovered traces of oxygen on Earth 50 to 100 million years earlier than thought.

Credit: Arizona State University