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The History of Fire on Earth: From a World Without Fire to Frequent Occurrences


Drought and hot temperatures are currently affecting most areas of the Earth, making them vulnerable to fires. Interestingly, it turns out that there was a very long period of no fire at all on Earth.

Now we know that Earth is the only planet that we know of that has experienced fire. Even though there are volcanoes that emit hot magma onto the surface of Venus, the hottest planet in the Solar System, fires have never occurred there. Likewise on Mercury, Jupiter, or other planets orbiting our star or other stars.

In fact, in the billions of years of Earth’s history, there has never been a fire. It took billions of years before conditions for fire could occur, and the planet’s first inhabitants lived in a world without fire.



Although volcanoes will produce ‘fire showers’ and there may be strange flames produced by volcanic gas outbursts, this is magma being forced up and sprayed out of the vents, not actual fire.

About 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was likely a thick fog of methane, the result of bacterial life emerging on the planet.

Then, the Great Oxidation Event occurred, when ancient cyanobacteria began producing energy from sunlight, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

Here, oxygen molecules begin to accumulate in the atmosphere for the first time, although their concentration is still not sufficient for combustion to occur.

The Great Oxidation Event, sometimes known as the Oxygen Catastrophe, would likely have caused the Earth to experience a worldwide freeze because this oxygen destabilized the methane, purging it and eliminating the greenhouse effect. The earth became cold and there was no fire.

Quoted from IFL Science, the first fossil records of fire that we have come from the Middle Ordovician period, billions of years later.

When it comes to fire, there is a kind of sweet spot. The oxygen is lower than 13%, and the plant matter will not burn. If the level is higher than 35%, it will burn so well that the forest will not be able to grow and maintain itself.

In the Ordovician period 470 million years ago, the first land plants, mosses and liverworts, produced more oxygen, eventually creating enough oxygen concentrations to cause fires themselves.

Finally, around 420 million years ago, we have the first fossil evidence of the existence of fire on Earth, namely charcoal found in rocks from this period.

However, with oxygen levels still fluctuating wildly, the first large-scale forest fires did not occur until around 383 million years ago. Since then, fires have become a frequent occurrence on Earth.

Watch the Video “Losses Due to Mount Bromo Fire Reach IDR 89.76 Billion”
[Gambas:Video 20detik]


2023-10-28 22:45:34
#Billions #Years #Fire #Earth #Heres #History

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