• Crucial role of the magnetic field in the evolution of life

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      https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/pram/015/01/0033-0043

    • Keywords

       

      Ozone; geomagnetic field; nitric oxide; trapped particles; ozone sink

    • Abstract

       

      The formation of a steady ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere is the most significant event in the evolutionary cycle of the earth which, in turn, has been responsible for the development of life with an oxygen metabolism. In addition to protecting biological life from exposure to ultraviolet radiation the ozone layer has also been responsible for maintaining the water and oxygen balance in the atmosphere. It is argued that the magnetic field of the earth is really responsible for the formation of this steady ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere. Because of the earth’s magnetic field and associated trapped charge particle belts and the magnetosphere, the earth’s atmosphere does not directly interact with the interplanetary space. Without such a shielding, the free oxygen atoms could have been depleted considerably causing a severe depletion in the ozone concentration to start with. The impact of charged particles from galactic and solar cosmic rays over the entire earth’s atmosphere and the consequent production of NOx would have given rise to a major ozone sink, if earth were devoid of a magnetic field. The net result would have been the absence of a steady ozone layer and the absence of life with an oxygen metabolism, as in the case of the atmospheres of Venus and Mars, if the earth did not have a magnetic field.

    • Author Affiliations

       

      U R Rao1

      1. ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore - 560 058, India
    • Dates

       
  • Pramana – Journal of Physics | News

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