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Fixation of Nitrogen in the Prebiotic Atmosphere

Yung, Y. L. and McElroy, M. B. (1979) Fixation of Nitrogen in the Prebiotic Atmosphere. Science, 203 (4384). pp. 1002-1004. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.203.4384.1002.

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Reactions between nitrogen and water in the air surrounding lightning discharges can provide an important source of nitric oxide even under conditions where oxygen is a minor atmospheric constituent. Estimates are given for the associated source of soluble nitrite and nitrate. It is shown that lightning and subsequent atmospheric chemistry can provide a source of nitrate for the primitive ocean as large as 106 tons of nitrogen per year, sufficient to fill the ocean to its present level of nitrate in less than 10^6 years.

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Yung, Y. L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 1979 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 4 August 1978; revised 13 November 1978. We thank S. C. Wofsy for helpful discussions. Supported by NSF contract NSF-ATM-75-22723 to Harvard University and NASA grant NSG 7376 to the California Institute of Technology. Contribution 3109 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences3109
Issue or Number:4384
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140922-144610992
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Official Citation:Fixation of Nitrogen in the Prebiotic Atmosphere Y. L. Yung and M. B. McElroy Science, New Series, Vol. 203, No. 4384 (Mar. 9, 1979), pp. 1002-1004 Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49910
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Sep 2014 22:00
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:49

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