Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Mildly Reducing Atmosphere

  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_995-3


A mildly reducing atmosphere is an atmosphere containing small but significant amounts of reduced gases, for example, H2, CH4, NH3, H2S, or CO, and not containing a counterbalancing excess of oxidized species such as O2. Many believe that the prebiotic Earth’s atmosphere may have been mildly reducing due to mantle outgassing prior to the advent of biological oxygenic photosynthesis. In general, reducing atmospheres appear to be more favorable for the abiotic synthesis of organic compounds.

See Also


Organic Compound Bioorganic Chemistry Chemical Evolution Oxygenic Photosynthesis Prebiotic Chemistry 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geophysical LaboratoryCarnegie Institution of WashingtonWashingtonUSA