Tuesday, 19 January 2016

'Snowball Earth' volcanoes help kickstart animal life

The Earth was once virtually deep frozen, buried in massive ice sheets with surface temperatures as low as -50°C. Although we are gradually learning more about this extreme episode in our planet’s history, there’s a lot we don’t know about “Snowball Earth”.
One of the big mysteries for geoscientists is how and why the ocean chemistry changed as the ice suddenly melted. But now our study, published in Nature Geoscience, has shed light on this conundrum, demonstrating how underwater volcanoes during Snowball Earth played a crucial role in this transformation. The results help explain how our planet got oxygen in its atmosphere and oceans – enabling life to evolve from single-celled organisms into animals.


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