Archaeological Chemistry- III by Lambert J.B. (ed.)

By Lambert J.B. (ed.)

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1997, ibid. 20 1 The Deep Past: A Story of Ceaseless Change year insolation cycle. At the other extreme, while sunspot cycles are periodic, solar flares (storms on the Sun’s surface) appear to be randomly variable. Variations in circulation rates can also be due to interactions between cycles, for example, their coevolution as described above. Throughput and circulation rates also vary when energy and materials leak from or are diverted from one cycle into another. For example, much water is removed from the hydrologic cycle when tectonic plates slide over each other.

45 Proterozoic Eon (2500–542 Mya) Eukaryotes, Colonies, Sex, Multicellularity The rise in atmospheric oxygen around the beginning of the Proterozoic can be further explained, perhaps, by the ‘supercontinent effect’.

A contrasting example of circular causation is the process which has occasionally led to an ‘icehouse Earth’: an initial disturbance which cools the Earth enough to increase its area of surface ice can trigger ‘runaway’ cooling when the newly formed ice reflects rather than absorbs solar energy, and that of course leads to further cooling and more surface ice. 3 Ga) when the Earth, including the oceans to a depth of at least a kilometre, has been largely frozen. It is thought that, following an initial period of cooling triggered by declining CO2 levels or increasing oxygen levels, glaciers and sea ice, which reflect solar energy back into space, expanded to the point where further cooling followed.

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