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Computer model suggests: Plate tectonics drove Cambrian Explosion


From ScienceDaily:

While a number of theories have been put forward to explain this landmark period, the most credible is that it was fuelled by a significant rise in oxygen levels which allowed a wide variety of animals to thrive.

The new study suggests that such a rise in oxygen levels was the result of extraordinary changes in global plate tectonics.

During the formation of the supercontinent ‘Gondwana’, there was a major increase in continental arc volcanism — chains of volcanoes often thousands of miles long formed where continental and oceanic tectonic plates collided. This in turn led to increased ‘degassing’ of CO2 from ancient, subducted sedimentary rocks.

This, the team calculated, led to an increase in atmospheric CO2 and warming of the planet, which in turn amplified the weathering of continental rocks, which supplied the nutrient phosphorus to the ocean to drive photosynthesis and oxygen production…

Williams added: “What is particularly compelling about this research is that not only does the model predict a rise in oxygen to levels estimated to be necessary to support the large, mobile, predatory animal life of the Cambrian, but the model predictions also show strong agreement with existing geochemical evidence.”

“It is remarkable to think that our oldest animal ancestors — and therefore all of us — may owe our existence, in part, to an unusual episode of plate tectonics over half a billion years ago” said Professor Lenton. Paper. (open access) – Joshua J. Williams, Benjamin J. W. Mills, Timothy M. Lenton. A tectonically driven Ediacaran oxygenation event. Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10286-x More.

Note: “It is remarkable to think that our oldest animal ancestors — and therefore all of us — may owe our existence, in part, to an unusual episode of plate tectonics over half a billion years ago” Is this a philosophical statement of some kind?

There is a rich vein of causes of the Cambrian explosion. Here is a handful:

Extreme fluctuation in oxygen levels

Cambrian animals remade the environment by generating oxygen

Did a low oxygen level delay complex life on Earth?

There was only a small oxygen jump

Animals didn’t “arise” from oxygenation, they created it, researchers say

Theory on how animals evolved challenged: Some need almost no oxygen

New study: Oxygenic photosynthesis goes back three billion years

Enough O2 long before animals?

Life exploded after slow O2 rise?

So the Cambrian really WAS an explosion then?


Researchers: Cambrian explosion was not an explosion after all (When in doubt, insist that nothing happened.)

oh, and The Great Unconformity.

I find it hard to believe that the computer model made the suggestion mentioned in the title. I also find it hard to believe that their model did anything other than reflect their ideas and their selected model parameters. I suspect they did not know enough about the starting conditions, nor the relevant interactions among all the parameters to produce reliable results. They are apparently attempting to combine plate tectonics, climate, geological and biosphere models in one. Given the difficulties modelling Earth's climate, despite millions of dollars spent trying, it seems unlikely that any one research team can successfully model all the above without fudging the results by carefully selecting model parameters and initial conditions. Mind you, I haven't read the paper, so I am clearly prejudiced. Fasteddious
Per the YeC Moshe Emes series I suspect relates to between day 3 formation of the original single continent and first vegetation, and life forms, until early the 1656 anno mundi 'Mabul' impacts year caused plate tectonics to go into high gear, .. Pearlman
I remember hearing that there was another "explosion" as the supercontinents broke up, creating vast areas of shallow ocean and new living space. Brother Brian
So oxygen somehow has the latent ability within itself to generate the massive amounts of information that would be needed to explain the Cambrian explosion? So, following their line of logic, since the information in life is far more complex that anything man has ever encoded in computers, computer programmers should be secluded in pure oxygen environments before writing their computer programs. :) That's ludicrous. Oxygen no way. Now coffee on the other hand! :) bornagain77
1. The thick crust layer on Venus doomed Venus to be lifeless. It was never even close. 2. The Amazing, Incredible, Highly Improbable collision between Proto-Moon and Proto-Earth occurred in PRECISELY the right way to transfer perhaps HALF of Proto-Earth's original crust to the new Production Moon, while at the same time DOUBLING the size of Earth's iron core by transferring ALL of Proto-Moon's core to Earth. This gave us our wondrously protective van Allen Belts. Venus and Mars ain't got no van Allen Belts because they ain't got proper iron cores, thereby dooming them to eternal lifelessness. The Designer was/is not only REALLY good at Designing stuff. The Designer is also REALLY REALLY good at running the production systems needed to get those designs out of the lab and into production. vmahuna

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