“There was a lot of debate as to what the oxygen content was 800 million or more years ago,” said Blamey in a statement. “We’ve come up with a direct method of analyzing the content of those trapped fossil gasses in the atmosphere and found that the oxygen level was approximately half of what it is today.”
To get a nice healthy wiff of that nearly billion-year-old atmosphere, the team placed halite crystals from southwest Australia in a vacuum chamber and crushed them, releasing the actual air that circulated during this bygone era in our planet’s history.
“It’s a direct measurement of the atmosphere of that time, not an interpretation,” emphasized study co-author Uwe Brand.
Modern science is amazing.