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Quantifying the evolution of Earth's atmosphere with novel isotope systems and modelling

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 OXYGEN project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the OXYGEN project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "OXYGEN" about.

poised    methodological    sulfur    biogeochemical    fundamental    points    models    sedimentary    direct    innovative    devoid    qualitative    events    gases    cycles    55    truth    dramatically    history    vastly    macroscopic    radiation    database    biosphere    despite    ground    concentration    o2    quantitative    oxygen    ago    climate    uv    amazing    atmospheric    independent    oxygenation    story    concentrations    time    atmosphere    extreme    analytical    isotope       dependent    accuracy    planetary    episodes    generation    cambrian    billion    global    ch4    significantly    changed    numerical    custom    organic    ancient       containing    am    interdisciplinary    climatic    atmospheres    earth    reorganization    unprecedented    emerged    signals    mass    o3    sampling    composition    evolution    accompanied    constraining    geochemical    influences    massive    lack    unusual    lamp    fractionations    records    contain    rigor    life    haze    snowball    decipher    profound    feedbacks    data    photocell    interpreted    rocks    chemistry    co2    constraints    paved    first    free    substantial    combines    experimental    add    groundbreaking    coupled    remnants   

Project "OXYGEN" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: KY16 9AJ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙767˙455 €
 EC max contribution 1˙767˙455 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-06-01   to  2021-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Atmospheric oxygen is fundamental to life as we know it, but its concentration has changed dramatically over Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. An amazing qualitative story has emerged, in which Earth’s atmosphere was devoid of free oxygen for the first 2 billion years of planetary history, with two significant increases in concentration at ~2.4 and ~0.55 billion years ago. Both oxygenation events were accompanied by extreme climatic effects – the “snowball earth” episodes – and paved the way for massive reorganization of biogeochemical cycles such as the Cambrian radiation of macroscopic life. Despite these profound influences on the Earth system, we currently lack fundamental quantitative constraints on Earth’s atmospheric evolution. I am poised to add substantial quantitative rigor to Earth’s atmospheric history, by constraining the concentrations of important gases (e.g., O2, O3, CO2, CH4, organic haze) in ancient atmospheres to unprecedented accuracy. I will accomplish this via an innovative interdisciplinary program focused on the unusual mass-independent isotope fractionations observed in sedimentary rocks containing sulfur and oxygen. These signals are direct remnants of ancient atmospheric chemistry, and contain far more information than can currently be interpreted. This project combines novel experimental and methodological approaches with state-of-the-art numerical modelling to significantly advance our ability to decipher the isotope records. A unique “early Earth” UV lamp coupled to a custom-built photocell will enable direct production of isotope signals under Earth-like conditions, with time-dependent sampling. Groundbreaking analytical methodologies will vastly increase the global geochemical database. The experimental results and data will provide ground-truth for next-generation atmospheric models that will constrain atmospheric composition and its feedbacks with the Earth-biosphere-climate system during key points in our planetary history.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Andrew J. Rushby, Martin Johnson, Benjamin J.W. Mills, Andrew J. Watson, Mark W. Claire
Long-Term Planetary Habitability and the Carbonate-Silicate Cycle
published pages: 469-480, ISSN: 1531-1074, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2017.1693
Astrobiology 18/5 2019-09-02
2017 Steven F. Sholes, Megan L. Smith, Mark W. Claire, Kevin J. Zahnle, David C. Catling
Anoxic atmospheres on Mars driven by volcanism: Implications for past environments and life
published pages: 46-62, ISSN: 0019-1035, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.02.022
Icarus 290 2019-09-02
2017 C. Mettam, A.L. Zerkle, M.W. Claire, G. Izon, C.J. Junium, R.J. Twitchett
High-frequency fluctuations in redox conditions during the latest Permian mass extinction
published pages: 210-223, ISSN: 0031-0182, DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.06.014
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 485 2019-09-02
2018 Elizabeth A. Oberlin, Mark W. Claire, and Samuel P. Kounaves
Evaluation of the Tindouf Basin Region in Southern Morocco as an Analogue Site for Soil Geochemistry on Noachian Mars
published pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1531-1074, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2016.1557
Astrobiology Vol. 18, No. 10 2019-09-02
2016 J. K. Harris, C. R. Cousins, M. W. Claire
Spectral identification and quantification of salts in the Atacama Desert
published pages: 100050I, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1117/12.2241520
Earth Resources and Environmental Remote Sensing/GIS Applications VII Vol. 10005 2019-09-02
2017 Aubrey L. Zerkle, Simon W. Poulton, Robert J. Newton, Colin Mettam, Mark W. Claire, Andrey Bekker, Christopher K. Junium
Onset of the aerobic nitrogen cycle during the Great Oxidation Event
published pages: 465-467, ISSN: 0028-0836, DOI: 10.1038/nature20826
Nature 542/7642 2019-09-02
2019 Elizabeth A. Jaramillo, Samuel H. Royle, Mark W. Claire, Samuel P. Kounaves, Mark A. Sephton
Indigenous Organic‐Oxidized Fluid Interactions in the Tissint Mars Meteorite
published pages: 3090-3098, ISSN: 1944-8007, DOI: 10.1029/2018gl081335
Geophysical Research Letters banner Volume 46, Issue 6 2019-09-02
2017 Gareth Izon, Aubrey L. Zerkle, Kenneth H. Williford, James Farquhar, Simon W. Poulton, Mark W. Claire
Biological regulation of atmospheric chemistry en route to planetary oxygenation
published pages: E2571-E2579, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1618798114
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114/13 2019-02-28
2016 Giada Arney, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, Victoria S. Meadows, Eric T. Wolf, Edward Schwieterman, Benjamin Charnay, Mark Claire, Eric Hébrard, Melissa G. Trainer
The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth
published pages: 873-899, ISSN: 1531-1074, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1422
Astrobiology 16/11 2019-02-28
2018 C. L. Blättler, M. W. Claire, A. R. Prave, K. Kirsimäe, J. A. Higgins, P. V. Medvedev, A. E. Romashkin, D. V. Rychanchik, A. L. Zerkle, K. Paiste, T. Kreitsmann, I. L. Millar, J. A. Hayles, H. Bao, A. V. Turchyn, M. R. Warke, A. Lepland
Two-billion-year-old evaporites capture Earth’s great oxidation
published pages: 320-323, ISSN: 0036-8075, DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2687
Science 360/6386 2019-02-28
2018 Fernando Gázquez, Mark W. Claire
Triple oxygen isotope analysis of nitrate using isotope exchange cavity ringdown laser spectroscopy
published pages: 1949-1961, ISSN: 0951-4198, DOI: 10.1002/rcm.8268
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 32/22 2019-02-28

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