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Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.

Exploratour - The Archean Age

Earth's ocean.
Click on image for full size
Corel Photography

As the temperature started to cool down, eventually the ocean began to form. As as soon as the temperature fell to about room temperature, then rain could begin. The presence of running water influenced the rest of the gases in the atmosphere, which began to dissolve into the forming ocean.

The formation of the early ocean played a large part in shaping what gases remained in the atmosphere and what gases were carried into the water, to become dissolved into the ocean and surface reservoirs. Scientists think that the Earth's secondary atmosphere may have come to be dominated by N2 because it alone of all the gases comprising the secondary atmosphere does not readily dissolve in water.

Meanwhile, about this time, it is thought that life may have begun on Earth. The early ocean became the repository of many of the waste products of the activity of early life on Earth. Such waste products included iron in the form of pyrite. Pyrite was the result of early bacteria making food for itself along sulphur pathways.



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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA