Mantle redox evolution and the oxidation state of the Archean atmosphere

J. F. Kasting, D. H. Eggler, S. P. Raeburn

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283 Scopus citations


Current models predict that the early atmosphere consisted mostly of CO2, N2, and H2O, along with traces of H2 and CO. Such models are based on the assumption that the redox state of the upper mantle has not changed, so that volcanic gas composition has remained approximately constant with time. It is argued here that this assumption is probably incorrect: the upper mantle was originally more reduced than today, although not as reduced as the metal arrest level, and has become progressively more oxidized as a consequence of the release of reduced volcanic gases and the subduction of hydrated, oxidized seafloor. Mantle redox evolution is intimately linked to the oxidation state of the primitive atmosphere. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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