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Fossil fuels may be to thank for life on Earth: Stored sediment could have triggered the Cambrian explosion 541 million years ago

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Daily Mail
January 3, 2017

A new study has linked fossils fuels to the historic rise in oxygen that triggered the development of life on Earth.

Dead plant matter stored in soil allowed oxygen to build up in Earth’s atmosphere over 500 million years ago, researchers claim.

And this same matter is the key ingredient of coal, oil, organic gases, and other fossil fuels.

The burial of dead plant matter, also known as the formation of ‘sediment’, stops any of the plant’s carbon molecules from escaping into the atmosphere while decomposing.

Before any animal life existed on Earth, this fossilisation of dead plants stopped too much carbon binding with oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide.

And it is this barrier to carbon dioxide formation that allowed oxygen levels to surge.

 

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This article was posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 11:37 am





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