Tracing the oxygen isotope composition of the upper Earth's atmosphere using cosmic spherules

Andreas Pack*, Andres Höweling, Dominik C. Hezel, Maren T. Stefanak, Anne Katrin Beck, Stefan T.M. Peters, Sukanya Sengupta, Daniel Herwartz, Luigi Folco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Molten I-Type cosmic spherules formed by heating, oxidation and melting of extraterrestrial Fe,Ni metal alloys. The entire oxygen in these spherules sources from the atmosphere. Therefore, I-Type cosmic spherules are suitable tracers for the isotopic composition of the upper atmosphere at altitudes between 80 and 115 km. Here we present data on I-Type cosmic spherules collected in Antarctica. Their composition is compared with the composition of tropospheric O 2. Our data suggest that the Earth's atmospheric O 2 is isotopically homogenous up to the thermosphere. This makes fossil I-Type micrometeorites ideal proxies for ancient atmospheric CO 2 levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15702
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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© Author(s) 2017.

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