Thermodynamic Equilibria in Prebiological Atmospheres

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Science  11 Dec 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3650, pp. 1461-1464
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3650.1461


The concentrations of a large number of compounds of biological interest which would be present in the atmosphere at thermodynamic equilibrium were computed under many combinations of temperature, pressure, and elemental composition. These computations revealed a possible mechanism for the abiological formation of asphaltic tar and an oxidative threshold at which all but the simplest compounds disappear.