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Thread: What happens to the air in the exosphere?

  1. #1 What happens to the air in the exosphere? 
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    Sorry about my ignorance, but what happens to the air in the exosphere?

    Are they being disperse to the outer space? And if it so, what reactions keep producing air on earth?

    And if the air is not being dispersed into outer space, what substance or reaction prevent its dispersion?

    Thank you in advance, waiting for your answers!


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  3. #2  
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    I'll try a simple explanation. The exosphere is an extreme thin upper layer of the atmosphere. Many molecules which are stable lower in the atmosphere photo-dissociate into their respective atoms. For example water, might break down into free hydrogen and oxygen. Some of those particles can reach escape velocity; this is a function of temperature and molecular weight. Lighter particles can reach higher speeds for the same energy, and thus are more likely to escape than heavier atoms. The earth has lost some of its hydrogen through this process. Interaction of ions with our magnetosphere is important as well.


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  4. #3 Re: What happens to the air in the exosphere? 
    Geo
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    Quote Originally Posted by kadombing
    What reactions keep producing air on earth?
    Outgassing from the mantle created the atmosphere. It's evolved over time and biological processes to a geat extent determine the concentrations of nitrogen and oxygen today.

    By measuring isotope ratios contained in gases in mantle rocks, concentrated and brought to the surface along mid-ocean ridges, geochemists were surprised to find that 80% of the atmosphere was outgassed during Earth's first 1 million years, the rest was outgassed slowly over the next 4.5 billion years!

    This early atmosphere - except for the abundance of water - was similar to that of Venus or Mars. Carbon Dioxide played a crucial role in the evolution of the original atmosphere, along with the strength of the sun.

    The atmosphere changed abruptly between 2.1 and 2.0Ga with the rise to ~ 20% oxygen, which created ozone, protecting DNA.

    The evolution of the atmosphere was influenced by life and vice versa.

    So, think of the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle etc. Recycling, rather than production, today.
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  5. #4 Re: What happens to the air in the exosphere? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Quote Originally Posted by kadombing
    What reactions keep producing air on earth?
    Outgassing from the mantle created the atmosphere. It's evolved over time and biological processes to a geat extent determine the concentrations of nitrogen and oxygen today.

    By measuring isotope ratios contained in gases in mantle rocks, concentrated and brought to the surface along mid-ocean ridges, geochemists were surprised to find that 80% of the atmosphere was outgassed during Earth's first 1 million years, the rest was outgassed slowly over the next 4.5 billion years!

    This early atmosphere - except for the abundance of water - was similar to that of Venus or Mars. Carbon Dioxide played a crucial role in the evolution of the original atmosphere, along with the strength of the sun.

    The atmosphere changed abruptly between 2.1 and 2.0Ga with the rise to ~ 20% oxygen, which created ozone, protecting DNA.

    The evolution of the atmosphere was influenced by life and vice versa.

    So, think of the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle etc. Recycling, rather than production, today.
    And the presence of a magnetic field!
    I'm sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right question.

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    "From observations upon living glaciers, and from the known nature of ice, we may learn to recognize the track of a glacier as readily and unmistakably as we would the familiar foot-prints of an animal." G. F. Wright 1891 (108-109)

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