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Geochemist Breathes New Life into ‘Great Oxidation Event’

Chris Junium

Chris Junium

February 8, 2017
 A researcher in the College of Arts and Sciences is providing fresh insights into the “Great Oxidation Event” (GOE), in which oxygen first appeared in the Earth’s atmosphere more than 2.3 billion years ago.

Christopher Junium, assistant professor of Earth Sciences, is part of a team of researchers led by Aubrey Zerkle, a biogeochemist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, which has uncovered evidence of an interaction between nitrogen and oxygen in ancient rocks from South Africa. The discovery not only illuminates how life evolved alongside changes in the chemistry of the Earth’s surface, but also fills in a 400-million-year gap in geochemical records. Read more...