Scientist in a lab coat is pictured injecting something into a small glass vial on a lab bench

Scientists discover ancient source of oxygen that may have fueled life on early Earth

The powerful earthquake that shook the Earth about 3.8 billion years ago ripped apart the crust, allowing chemical reactions to unfold deep within the fractured rock.These responses are caused by seismic activity, water and near-boiling temperaturea new study suggests, may have provided oxygen for some of the world’s earliest life forms.

This oxygen is packaged in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which contains two hydrogen atom Two oxygen atoms are bound together, according to research published Monday (August 8) in the journal Nature Communications (opens in new tab)Perhaps best known as a preservative, hydrogen peroxide is of course toxic to organisms, but once broken down it remains a useful source of oxygen enzyme Or through reactions that take place at high temperatures, Jon Thieling, senior author of the study and senior lecturer in geochemistry and geomicrobiology at Newcastle University, UK, told Live Science.

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