Carbon isotope evidence for the stepwise oxidation of the Proterozoic environment

David J.Des Marais*, Harald Strauss, Roger E. Summons, J. M. Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    334 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The oxidation of the Earth's crust and the increase in atmospheric oxygen early in Earth history have been linked to the accumulation of reduced carbon in sedimentary rocks. Trends in the carbon isotope composition of sedimentary organic carbon and carbonate show that during the Proterozoic aeon (2.5-0.54 Gyr ago) the organic carbon reservoir grew in size, relative to the carbonate reservoir. This increase, and the concomitant release of oxidizing power in the environment, occurred mostly during episodes of global rifting and orogeny.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)605-609
    Number of pages5
    JournalNature
    Volume359
    Issue number6396
    Publication statusPublished - 1992

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