Were The Infernal Conditions Of The “Primordial Land” More Extreme Than We Think?

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Our magnificent blue planet has been, and still is, cradle for myriads of animal and vegetable species, but it has not always been so. Billions of years ago, Earth was an inhospitable planet, on which unimaginable cataclysms unleashed. Today, a new research assumes that these conditions were far more extreme than we believe.

A research team at the University of Leeds, searching Earth conditions data billions of years ago, revealed that the environmental conditions that have occurred on our planet were not only not as favorable as today’s, but could have been even worse than we imagined. It was a real hell that was hostile to complex life.

According to researchers, one of the most underrated components was the influence of ultraviolet radiation levels from the Sun. UV rays, without appropriate shielding of the atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field, were continuously cutting the surface and according to current estimates their intensity was 10 times higher than the value previously assumed. By the way, did you know that inside the Earth core is part of the Sun?

The range considered by the study has focused on the last 2.4 billion years, starting from the major oxidative event. During this period, atmospheric oxygen levels saw a sudden increase. The event, catastrophic for the primordial forms of anaerobic life, has the potential to provide scientists with a stage of knowledge that could eruify both on the conditions of our planet and on the processes of atmospheric formation of other planetary systems.

Gregory Cooke, astrophysicist at the University of Leeds in the UK, said, “We know that UV radiation can have disastrous effects if life is exposed to it for long periods” and, specifying the possible mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation that has occurred

Scientists speculate that the greatest amount of UV radiation would have belched the Earth due to the thin ozone layer present at the time. This atmospheric shielding is induced by several factors, the most important of which is the quantity of atmospheric oxygen, which undergoes conversion processes into ozone.

The estimates give atmospheric oxygen levels of approximately.1% compared to current levels. This value was considered sufficient to limit the catastrophic actions of UV rays, but today, thanks to the use of digital simulations, it was necessary to increase the minimum

In this light, our planet has been surrounded for long periods by an ozone layer insufficient to block UV rays, which, raging to a far greater extent, not only have had an effect on the development of earth’s life, but may have been responsible for extinct

As a proof of the effect of UV rays on life, we can remember that about 400 million years ago, when oxygen levels have increased significantly, more complex life forms have started their evolutionary path. In relation to the appearance of life forms, a previous study analyzed chemical evolution as the origin of life on Earth.

Aware of the destructive potential and the neo-negotiable defence to which the atmosphere would seem to have contributed, the scientists of the study not only urge a reconsideration of the previous estimates, but they hope a deepening of the studies.

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