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Isotopic memory of atmospheric persistence

Chemical analysis of ancient rocks reveals earliest record yet of Earth's atmosphere
Wed, 2015-01-14 10:16

Chemical analysis of some of the world’s oldest rocks, by an international team led by McGill University researchers, has provided the earliest record yet of Earth's atmosphere. The results show that the air 4 billion years ago was very similar to that more than a billion years later, when the atmosphere -- though it likely would have been lethal to oxygen-dependent humans -- supported a thriving microbial biosphere that ultimately gave rise to the diversity of life on Earth today.

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Contact: Cynthia Lee
Organization: McGill University
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Office Phone: 514-398-6754

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Contact: Boswell Wing
Organization: McGill University
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Source Site: /newsroom

What the “fecal prints” of microbes can tell us about E

Making the most of a shitty situation
Tue, 2014-12-23 10:29

The distinctive “fecal prints” of microbes potentially provide a record of how Earth and life have co-evolved over the past 3.5 billion years as the planet’s temperature, oxygen levels, and greenhouse gases have changed. But, despite more than 60 years of study, it has proved difficult, until now, to “read” much of the information contained in this record. Research from McGill University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), sheds light on the mysterious digestive processes of microbes, opening the way towards a better understanding of how life and the planet have changed over time.

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Contact: Katherine Gombay
Organization: Media Relations Office
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Office Phone: 514-398-2189
Source Site: /newsroom

Mining ancient ores for clues to early life

Scientists probe Canadian sulfide ore to confirm microbial activity in seawater 2.7 billion years ago
Mon, 2012-12-10 12:48

An analysis of sulfide ore deposits from one of the world’s richest base-metal mines confirms that oxygen levels were extremely low on Earth 2.7 billion years ago, but also shows that microbes were actively feeding on sulfate in the ocean and influencing seawater chemistry during that geological time period.

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Contact: Chris Chipello
Organization: Media Relations Office
Email:
Office Phone: 514-398-4201
Mobile Phone: 514-717-4201
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Source Site: /newsroom