Facts About Oxygen

Oxygen, a colorless gas that is oftentimes recognized as Element Number 8 on the Periodic Table of Elements, makes up about 21% of the earth’s atmosphere and is considered the most reactive gas out of the non-metallic elements.

According to a study funded by NASA, oxygen has been present on the earth for around 2.3-2.4 billion years, and it began to appear in our atmosphere at least 2.5 billion years ago. While experts are not completely sure why oxygen abruptly became such an abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere, but many assume it was largely due to geologic changes on Earth.

Oxygen has the atomic number 8, the atomic symbol O, and an atomic weight of 15.9994. As reported by the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. Organisms that use oxygen to breathe, referred to as cyanobacteria, inhale carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen through photosynthesis, as do modern-day plants. It is probable that cyanobacteria caused the initial appearance of oxygen on Earth, which is an occurance referred to as the Great Oxidation Event.

The photosynthesis of cyanobacteria was most likely taking place long before a noteworthy amount of oxygen was accumulated in the earth’s atmosphere. A report published in the journal Nature Geoscience in 2014 stated that oxygen generated from photosynthesis initiated in marine environments about half a billion years ago prior to its initial atmospheric accumulation about 2.5 billion years ago.

While those living on earth today are very dependent on oxygen, the initial accumulation of this element in the atmosphere was considerably disastrous. The atmospheric change led to a mass extinction of organisms that do not require oxygen, known as anaerobes. These anaerobes that did not have the ability to survive in environments with oxygen began to slowly to die off.

The initial indication to humans that oxygen existed in the atmosphere took place in 1608, when a Dutch inventor named Cornelius Drebbel, came to the conclusion that heating potassium nitrate caused the release of a gas. That gas went unidentified until the 1770s, when [[three chemists began to discover it at approximately the same time. Joseph Priestly, an English chemist was able to isolate oxygen by shining sunlight on mercuric oxide and then collecting the gas that was produced as a result of the reaction. Preistly published this discovery in 1774, which led him to be the first scientist to actually publish these findings about oxygen. Oxygen was given its name from the Greek words “oxy” nucleus and “genes,” which together mean “acid-forming.”

While not enough oxygen can be harmful, so can the presence of too much oxygen. For example, around 300 million years ago, the earth faced atmospheric oxygen levels of 35% and insects grew to extreme sizes.

Oxygen is created through the fusion of a carbon-12 and a helium-4 inside the hearts of stars. However, scientists have recently been able to to study the structure of oxygen by looking at its nucleus. And in March of 2014, a physicist at North Carolina State University and his colleagues discovered the nuclear structure of oxygen-16. This is important because it explains the process of nuclei formation in stars.

Another team of researchers placed their focus on oxygen’s role in life on Earth. According to researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, animals on Earth did not begin to appear until long after the Great Oxidation Event, with simple animals making an appearance just around 600 million years ago. While many assume that the existence of oxygen led to the existence of animals, animals were actually not present on Earth during the first notable increase of oxygen levels in the atmosphere. [[On the contrary|Contrarily|On the other hand], it is most commonly believed that something other than the appearance of oxygen led to the first increase in animal life. While it could very well be that increasing levels of oxygen led to varied and diversified ecosystems that are present today, there are still several modern-day animals that have the ability to survive in extremely low-oxygen areas in the ocean.

Whether you’re in search of oxygen or other specialty gases Criogas has a huge selection of products to meet all of the Mexico specialty gas needs. Criogas has a large selection of specialty gases and specialty gas equipment, along with the resources and experts on hand in Mexico to answer your questions and assist your needs. For more information, browse our online catalog or contact us via email at informes@criogas.com or at 01-800-400-CRIO .