Two billion years ago, Earth was shaped by the explosion of ocean life. Large quantities of plankton were transformed into a lubricant and allowed for rocks to be stacked on top of one another.

  •  A dramatic increase in the world’s oxygens 2.3 billion years ago led to an explosion of marine life such as plankton
  • About 2 billion years ago, there was an abundance of plankton within the oceans.
  • The plankton went to seafloor and became graphite after they died.
  • The graphite became a lubricant for the breakage of rocks into slabs, allowing the slabs to stack on top of each other
  • These massive mountain ranges were formed, like the famous Himalayas

New research reveals that two billion year ago there was an explosion in ocean life which helped create the mountain ranges of Earth. This includes the famous Himalayas.

The University of Aberdeen scientists discovered that the seas had been flooded with nutrients about 2.5 billion years before oxygen levels rose dramatically. They then produced cyanobacteria (or plankton).

Once large numbers of plankton were gone, the material formed graphite on the ocean floor. This graphite played an important role in lubricating and preventing the fragmentation of rock into small pieces.

These giant slabs were able to stack on top of one another to create mountains in the following millions of years.

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An explosion of ocean life two billion years ago helped form the mountains on Earth, including the iconic Himalayas (pictured), a new study reveals

New research reveals that two billion years ago, an explosion in ocean life helped to form mountains such as the Himalayas.

The research was led by Professor John Parnell. He stated in a statement that while mountains are essential to the landscape, big mountain chains were formed only half way through Earth’s history (about two billion years ago).

“The geological record of this period contains evidence that the oceans had an abundant amount of organic material, and when these died they were kept as graphite in salt.

Mountain formation is often associated with the colliding of tectonic plates, causing large slabs of rock and to be thrust high into the sky. However, the study mentions plankton in the key role of creating these natural structures.

Around 2.3 billion year ago, The Great Oxidation Event occurred. This was when both the Earth’s surface and the shallow ocean experienced an initial increase in oxygen. Large amounts of cyanobacteria were formed and oxygen was released into the oceans.

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen found that after a dramatic rise in oxygen about 2.3 billion years ago, an abundance of nutrients filled the seas that resulted in cyanobacteria, or plankton

University of Aberdeen scientists discovered that plankton, also known as cyanobacteria (or plankton), was formed by an oversupply of nutrients.

Once the large amounts of plankton died, they fell to the ocean floor and formed graphite, which played a crucial role in lubricating the breakage of rocks into slabs

After the plankton had died in large numbers, the graphite formed on the ocean floor. This was crucial for lubricating rock fragmentation and forming slabs.

After the plankton had died, the carbon-rich materials fell to the seafloor and were transformed into graphite which acted as an natural lubricant.

Nature published a study that showed plankton had undergone several development before reaching the point of death.

It includes developing and growing larger sheaths (or a cover) that increases the mass of cellular Carbon.

“A Peak in Orogenesis during Palaeoproterozoic at 2 Ga [2 billion]The study reveals that the area is marked by an abundance of orogens (34), a long preserved orogen duration (34) and high rates of metamorphism.

According to team, this led to the creation of high mountain ranges on Earth for the first time. The highest were formed between 1.95 and 1.65 billion years ago.

The team notes that this sparked a the first widespread formation of high mountains on Earth, with the most appearing 1.95 to 1.65 billion years ago

This led to the formation of the highest mountains in the world, most of which were formed 1.95 billion years ago.

Parnell stated that while it is well-known that tectonic processes are lubricated over time, his research has shown that the abundance of carbon in oceans played an important role in crustal thickening and the creation of the Earth’s mountain ranges.

“We can see evidence of this in the northwest region of Scotland where we can still find the roots of ancient mountains as well as the slippery graphite which helped to build them, such places Harris, Tiree, and Gairloch.

“Ultimately our research shows that the secret to the formation and maintenance of mountains is life. It also demonstrates that Earth’s biosphere and Earth’s are interconnected in many ways we didn’t know.