A thing I learned today: The chlorine in your swimming pool traces its origin to the birth of our planet … and there’s a lot of it missing.
Carl Zimmer reports on new research that has measured our Earth’s chlorine content in full. Early Earth was swimming in the stuff, a caustic atmosphere of sour death that would have made life as we know it impossible. But something happened to a great deal of that chlorine, and current levels don’t match the other planets in our neighborhood. It’s just … gone.
Did impacts with meteorites vaporize enough of our oceans that that missing chlorine could escape? Whatever the reason, be thankful that it’s gone. If not, our oceans would be like the Dead Sea, they wouldn’t hold oxygen, and rain would be a rarity.
And an afternoon at the pool would be quite different on that Earth, wouldn’t it?
Read the full story at New York Times.
Source: The New York Times