Chemical evolution and ammonia in the early earth's atmosphere

A. Henderson-sellers*, A. W. Schwartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


A constraint on research into the evolution of the Earth's atmosphere may have been resolved by recent work on the photochemical reduction of atmospheric nitrogen by a naturally occurring form of TiO2 (ref. 1). We show here that this source could have provided a small but vital abiological supply of ammonia in the early atmosphere of the Earth. Locally the levels of NH3 produced by this mechanism satisfy the requirements of origin-of-life biologists whilst global levels do not conflict with chemical and physical constraints on the surface/atmosphere system nor with geological evidence for early Precambrian conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-528
Number of pages3
Issue number5782
Publication statusPublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

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    Henderson-sellers, A., & Schwartz, A. W. (1980). Chemical evolution and ammonia in the early earth's atmosphere. Nature, 287(5782), 526-528.