Ins and Outs. Long live oxygen, the element that sustains most life on Earth. The eighth element in the periodic table of the elements is a colorless gas that makes up 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Because it’s so ubiquitous. It’s easy not to think of oxygen as an inert or boring gas. In fact. It is the most reactive of the non-metallic elements.
Earth oxidized 2.3 to 2.4 billion years ago. And levels began to rise 2.5 billion years ago. According to a 2007 NASA-funded study No one knows why the lung’s friendly gas has become such an important part of our atmosphere. But it may be that geological changes have caused the oxygen produced by photosynthesis organisms to remain. Instead of being used up in geological reactions. According to the researchers in the study.
- Number of protons in the nucleus (atomic number): 8
- Atomic symbol (on the periodic table of the elements): O
- Atomic weight (average mass of atom): 15.9994
- Density: 0.001492 grams per cubic centimeter
- State at room temperature: gas
- (minus 218.79 degrees Celsius) Melting point: minus 361.82 degrees Fahrenheit
- (minus 182.95 degrees Celsius) Boiling point: minus 297.31 degrees Fahrenheit
- Number of isotopes (atoms of the same element with a different number of neutrons): 11; Three of them are stable
- Most common isotope: O-16 (99.757% natural abundance)
According to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator. Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. But its high potency made it relatively rare in Earth’s atmosphere at first. In the same way modern plants breathe. Cyanobacteria take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen through photosynthesis.
The cyanobacteria were most likely responsible for Earth’s first oxygen. An event known as the Great Oxygenation Event. Photosynthesis occurred in cyanobacteria before large amounts of oxygen accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Natural Geosciences found that 2.95 billion-year-old rocks from South Africa contained oxygen-requiring oxides.
These rocks were in shallow seas, showing that oxygen from photosynthesis first began accumulating in a marine environment about half a billion years before it began accumulating in the atmosphere about 2.5 billion years ago Life now depends largely on oxygen. But the beginning of this element’s accumulation in the atmosphere was nothing but a disaster.
The new atmosphere led to the mass extermination of anaerobic organisms. Which are organisms that do not need oxygen. Anaerobes that could not adapt or survive in the presence of oxygen perished in the New World. Humans first suspected of the existence of oxygen came in 1608. When Dutch inventor Cornelius Drebbel said that heating saltpeter (potassium nitrate) led to the release of gas. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).
The identity of the gas remained a mystery until the 1670s. When three chemists discovered it at the same time. British chemist and priest Joseph Priestley isolated oxygen by exposing mercury oxide to sunlight and collecting the gas from the reaction.
He noted that a candle burns much brighter in this gas. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry. Thanks to the role of oxygen in combustion. Priestley published his results in 1774. Defeating the Swedish scientist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Who had isolated oxygen since 1771. But he did not publish his results The third oxygen was discovered by the French chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier. Who gave it its name. The word originated from the Greek words “oxy” and “gene” Which means “component of acids”.
Oxygen has eight electrons. Two orbiting in the inner shell of the atom and six in the outer shell.The outer shell can hold eight electrons. And this explains the tendency of oxygen to interact with other elements: its outer shell is incomplete. So the electrons are free to be taken or given.
When it is a gas it is colorless. But when it is a liquid it becomes a faint blue color. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to swim in a pool of liquid oxygen. The answer is: cold. Very cold. According to Karl Zorn of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator. Oxygen must have a temperature of minus 297.3 F (183 C) to become a liquid, so frostbite will be a problem.
Too little oxygens will cause problems. As well as too much. Breathing in 80% oxygen for more than 12 hours will cause the lungs to irritate and eventually lead to a fatal fluid buildup. According to the University of Florida and Air Products.
A study published in Physical Review Letters in 2012 found that an oxygens molecule (2O) can survive at 19 million times greater pressure than atmospheric pressure. On the summit of Mount Everest. Humans had the lowest level of oxygens ever measured in their blood 2009. The venous oxygens level of the climbers was 3.28 kPa. Compare this number to a normal range of 12-14 kPa, and the term for mountaineers called “death zone” makes perfect sense. The New England Journal of Medicine published the study.
We should be grateful for the roughly 21% oxygens in the atmosphere. 300 million years ago. When oxygen levels reached 35%. Insects managed to get so big. Imagine a dragonfly with wings as long as an eagle’s.
At the core of stars. Oxygen is formed by the fusion of a carbon-12 nucleus and a helium-4 nucleus (also known as an alpha particle). Only recently were scientists able to look at the oxygen nucleus and reveal its structure.
In March 2014. University of North Carolina physicist Dean Lee and colleagues reported that they had discovered the nuclear structure of oxygen-16. The most common isotope of oxygen. Both in its basic state (the state in which electrons are at the lowest possible energy level) and in its first excited state (the energy level the first).
Why do we care about something like this? Well. Let’s understand how cores are formed in stars – is to understand how the building blocks are held together in the universe. Lee and his colleagues discovered that the carbon-12 nucleus. With its six protons and neutrons. Is actually three clusters. Each containing two protons and two neutrons. If carbon-12 contains three alpha clusters. The researchers conclude that oxygen-16 has four. Since it has eight protons and eight neutrons. Using supercomputer simulations and digital structures. The scientists were able to work out how the particles are arranged in the oxygen-16 nucleus.They found that there are four alpha clusters of the basic state of oxygen-16. Carefully arranged in a tetrahedron.
“Alpha clusters are like wrinkled spheres, and these wrinkled spheres like to touch each other by some surface interaction,” he told Live Science. The tetrahedral structures allow the clusters to be tight and precise. But there was another quantum puzzle that needed to be solved. The base state of oxygen-16 and the first stimulated state share an unusual feature.
They each have the same spin – a value that tells how the particle spins, and the same valence, a way of determining symmetry. Imagine left and right reflection in the entire universe, but you must keep the subatomic particles the same. When particles with positive valence look at themselves in the inverse universe they will remain the same. Particles with negative valence would have to flip, lest they end up in reverse like reading a text in a mirror.
“The mystery was why the least two states of oxygen-16 have zero spin and positive valence,” Lee says, given that these two states are different. We got our answer through simulations: In the stimulated state, oxygen-16 rearranges the nucleus to look like an Absolutely base case.
Alpha particles are arranged on a square or square plane, instead of a tetrahedral arrangement. “The internal structure of the two of them was different,” Lee adds. The completely different arrangement explains how spin and valence stay the same — nuclei take different paths to reach the same result.”
The oxygen-16 atom still has some quantum interactions that require solving, as well as finer details to be discovered. “There are a lot of interesting things going on inside little things like nuclei. And there are stories about how it happened that we are beginning to understand.” Lee’s work investigates the formation of oxygen in stars; There is other research focusing on the role of oxygen in life on Earth. Shortly after the Great Oxygenation Event 2.4 billion years ago, it is possible that oxygen levels may have reached or exceeded oxygen levels now before they collapsed,
said Daniel Mills, a doctoral candidate at the Northern Center for Earth Evolution at the University of Southern Denmark: “Animal life did not appear Even after a long time, with the appearance of the simplest animals about 600 million years ago.” Despite theories that the emergence of oxygen paved the way for the emergence of animals, the story is much more complex.
Mill and colleagues reported in February 2014 in the journal PNAS that modern sea sponges can breathe and thrive in an environment where the oxygen content is between 0.5 and 4 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere now. The sponge appears to be the most similar living animal to the first animals on Earth, Mills said.
Findings that sponges don’t need high levels of oxygen to live show that something else led to the origins of the first life on Earth, even though a higher level of oxygen was necessary to reach the diversity of life we see today, Mills said: “Even in modern times, some animals, such as nematodes, thrive in the low-oxygen environment of the ocean,” he added. There is more to evolution than just oxygen abundance.”