Rock salt holds the key to a paradigm shift

Date:

Share post:

A team of international scientists from China, France, Scotland, United States and led by Canadian Professors Nigel Blamey and Uwe Brand of Brock University in southern Ontario made a scientific breakthrough by measuring the oxygen content of Earth’s ancient atmosphere. They discovered that gases trapped by halite (rock salt) during crystallization may contain atmospheric gases, among them oxygen.

Rock salt holds the key to a paradigm shift
Halite from the Wieliczka Salt Mine, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wieliczka, 
Malopolskie, Poland [Credit: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA]

Oxygen is a key component in determining the origin and evolution of higher life forms that ultimately made Earth’s land and sea their home. The gases in inclusion of halite represent direct measurements of the ancient atmosphere, and can be used to calculate the dissolved oxygen content of past seawater and lay out the requirements for the evolution of higher life forms in the shallow and deep ocean.

This discovery has applications beyond the origin of life, to evaluating salt units as depositories for hazardous waste material, to tracking atmospheric changes in carbon dioxide and methane with climate change, to pinpointing the genesis of economic metal deposits, and application of this important scientific discovery to the search for life on extraterrestrial bodies.

The open-access study is published the journal Geology.

Source: Geological Society of America [July 15, 2016]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Ancient DNA study finds Phoenician from Carthage had European ancestry

A research team co-led by a scientist at New Zealand's University of Otago has sequenced the first complete...

Snake eats lizard eats beetle: Fossil food chain from the Messel Pit examined

In cooperation with CONICET in Argentina, Senckenberg scientists examined a spectacular discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage site...

European man’s remains found in ancient Chinese tomb

The remains of a human skull found in a 1,400-year-old tomb in China possibly belonged to a man...

First gene linked to temperature sex switch

The sex of many reptile species is set by temperature. New research reported in the journal Genetics identifies...

Future of archaeology threatened by law forcing scientists to rebury ancient remains

A controversial law that requires all human remains unearthed at ancient settlements to be reburied within two years...

Iny’s funerary chapel rebuilt after 20 year search locates missing pieces

Twenty years of intense work have been necessary to re-build a funerary chapel dedicated to Iny, the 'priest-reader'...

Mars rover views spectacular layered rock formations

The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA's...

If evolution is real why are there still monkeys?

With all the 'monkeying around' that can go on in the playground or even in the office it...