One can speak of Earth’s “inventory of volatiles,” recognizing that the components of the inventory may be reorganized from time to time, but also that it is always composed primarily of the compounds of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, along with the noble gases. Volatile compounds as well as elements important in present and past atmospheres or in interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, and other portions of the crust include the following: Some elements appear in multiple form—for example, carbon as carbon dioxide, methane, or dimethyl sulfide. If the planet grew large (and had, therefore, a substantial gravitational field) before all gases were dispersed from its orbit, it ought to have captured an atmosphere of nebular gases.

Updates? Just formed Earth: Like Earth, the hydrogen (H 2 ) and helium (He) were very warm. The early atmosphere was probably mostly carbon dioxide, with little or no oxygen. The atmosphere is the layer of gases that surrounds the Earth. 10/04/06. Read about our approach to external linking. Answer. Coauthor of, A “best guess” reconstruction of the abundance of O. The first layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, troposphere starts from the surface of the planet and extends up to a vertical distance of 4.34 miles near the poles and 10.56 miles near the equator. The contrast with related fields of Earth’s history is notable. These vapours are, however, the stuff of stars and the moving force of storms and erosion. There were smaller proportions of water vapour, ammonia and methane. Most of the atmosphere in early earth was made up of carbon dioxide, there was nearly no oxygen! Evolution of the Atmosphere. Furthermore, the nature and variations of the minor components reveal extensive interactions between the atmosphere, terrestrial environment, and biota.

The proportion of oxygen went up because of, it was absorbed by plants for photosynthesis, Home Economics: Food and Nutrition (CCEA). Its early atmosphere was probably, formed from the gases given out by volcanoes. Evolution of atmospheric oxygen content. The development of the atmosphere and such interactions are discussed in this article, with particular attention given to the rise of biologically produced molecular oxygen, O2, as a major component of air.

Evolution of the atmosphere The early atmosphere. Given the abundance of potassium in Earth’s crust, it would be impossible to attribute the origin of the atmosphere to outgassing if the abundance of 40Ar was far lower than that of 36Ar, as in the solar system. *Abundances indicate how many atoms of each element (or, in the case of the noble gases, isotopes) would accompany one million silicon (Si) atoms. Scientists believe that the Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

If those strengths are balanced (or nearly so), the composition of the atmosphere will not change (or will change only very slowly, perhaps imperceptibly); however, the molecules of the gas in question are passing through the atmosphere and are not permanently resident. In order for air to be conserved, the outward motion at high latitudes near the equator has to be balanced by inward low altitude winds.

The table includes the eight most abundant volatile elements, together with others.

As a result, a description of the history of the atmosphere must concern itself with all volatile components of the crust. The evidence points decisively to a process in which the elements to be retained in the terrestrial inventory were separated from those to be lost by a separation of solids from gases. The chemically active volatile elements could be incorporated in solids by formation of nitrides and carbides, by hydration of minerals, and by inclusion in crystal structures (such as in the form of ammonium [NH4+] and hydroxide [OH−] ions) and could form some relatively nonvolatile materials independently (organic compounds with high molecular weights are found in meteorites and were probably abundant in the cooling solar nebula); yet, none of these mechanisms was available to the noble gases. Ancient sediments and rocks record past changes in atmospheric composition due to chemical reactions with Earth’s crust and, in particular, to biochemical processes associated with life.

Evolution of the atmosphere, the process by which the current atmosphere arose from earlier conditions.

Information regarding these particular processes, however, is incomplete even for the present atmosphere, and there is almost no direct evidence regarding atmospheric constituents and their rates of supply and consumption in the past. The temperature of troposphere decreases with altitude, which means that the lowest part of the layer is the warmest at any given point of time. Start studying EVOLUTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE. Scientists believe that the Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. For example, the abundance of nitrogen (N) in the solar system is 2.5 times greater than that of Si, whereas its abundance on Earth is less than that of Si by a factor of 0.000079. The size and composition of such an atmosphere would depend on temperature as well as planetary mass. Some scientists describe three stages in the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere as it is today. A thinner primordial atmosphere consisting of nebular gases with higher molecular weights (such as argon and krypton—see table), however, ought still to have been captured. While one process consumes a particular component, another produces it, and the concentration of that component in the atmosphere will rise or fall depending on the relative strengths of the sources and sinks. So how did the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go down, and the proportion of oxygen go up?

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