The team of scientists led by ETH researcher Paolo Sossi have completed an investigation into implications for the possible origins of life on Earth. According to researchers, insights into the Earth’s atmosphere by 4.5 billion years ago that our planet would be difficult to recognize compared to what we know today.
In the very distant past, the surface of the planet was covered entirely by magma. There is no debate that the surface was covered in magma in the distant past, but it is not exactly clear how the Earth’s atmosphere was at the time. Sossi says that magma constantly changed gases with the rest of the atmosphere 4.5 billion years ago. The air and the magma influenced each other, so you can learn one by learning the other.
Before their study, researchers created magma in the laboratory by mixing a powder that matched the composition of the Earth’s molten coat and heating it. Heating the material is required with the latest technological advances because the composition of the coat-like powder is difficult to dissolve. Melting it required temperatures of around 2000 degrees Celsius, which required a special furnace. The furnace was heated by a laser, and inside the furnace could levitate magma, allowing streams of hot gas mixtures to flow around it.
Researchers believe that the streams of gas mixtures are possible candidates for the primary atmosphere for 4.5 billion years ago, because it was influenced by magma. Researchers specifically regarded as iron oxidized in the magma. The level of iron oxidation in the cool-down magma allowed the scientists to compare to natural rocking compositions of the Earth mantle, today periodites.
After this material was cooled from the magma state, the team found that the young earth had an atmosphere that was slightly oxidized with carbon dioxide as its main components along with nitrogen and some water. The surface pressure was about 100 times as it is today, and the atmosphere was much higher due to the hot surface. The Earth’s atmosphere would be similar to what we see on Venus today.