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How did air all come into our world?

How did air all come into our world?
Sian from Cheshire (Aged 55+)

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2 Responses

  1. Air is actually a mixture of a variety of gases, comprising mainly of nitrogen (79%), with some oxygen (20%), with the final 1% made up of numerous gases in very small quantities. The modern day atmosphere (air) is very different to that of the past.
    The very first atmosphere that Earth had (about 4.6 billion years ago) was made up mainly of hydrogen gas, but this was quickly blown away by a constant stream of particles from the Sun known as the Solar Wind.
    After the Solar Wind had grown weaker, the Earth began to accumulate another atmosphere. It is thought that impacts by comets and meteorites brought gases to Earth from space, and that large-scale volcanic activity emitted gasses such as carbon dioxide (the gas we breath out), water vapour and sulphur dioxide (sulphur dioxide is the gas that gives off the smell of rotten eggs if you’ve ever been near a volcano).
    During this period of Earths history cometary and meteorite impacts occurred much more often and the volcanic activity would have been on a much larger scale than we experience today. However, whether volcanic emissions or meteorite input was the most important source of Earths atmosphere is still a strongly debated topic in the field of earth and planetary sciences.
    By about 4 billion years ago the Earth underwent a lot of changes; firstly Earth had enough time to cool after being formed, allowing water to form on the surface to give the first ever oceans. At this time the atmosphere was still made up of mainly water vapour and carbon dioxide.
    With the advent of liquid water on Earths’ surface many physical and chemical processes could occur, such as the weathering of rocks, which has an important impact upon the make-up of the atmosphere.
    Not long after the formation of water at the surface life began on Earth – the beginning of life on Earth signals the final change in Earths’ atmosphere that has led to what we now know as air.
    By approximately 2.5 billion years ago various forms of life existed in the oceans and fueled themselves via a process known as photosynthesis – photosynthesis is the process that plants use today to grow and live, and is driven by sunllight. When living organisms photosynthesise they use up carbon dioxide from their surroundings and produce oxygen, which is released into their surroundings.
    Between 2.5 and 1 billion years ago oxygen built up in the atmosphere to almost present-day levels. Finally, about 1 billion years ago, land plants evolved, which helped in the continued release of oxygen into the atmosphere to finally reach present-day levels.
    The evolution of photosynthesis marked probably the most important change in Earths’ atmosphere for life because it not only provides us with oxgyen for use in respiration (the process that enables us to live and extract energy from food), but also provides us with protection from harmful radiation from the sun in the form of ozone (three oxgyen atoms bound together) – without oxygen in the atmosphere, the ozone layer could not exist, and life would find it very difficult to continue on land.

  2. Still doesn’t answer the question. We know where oxygen and other components of air came from. But where air itself came from is not being answered.

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