The Paradox of Mantle Redox

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Science  06 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5723, pp. 807-808
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110532

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Reduction and oxidation (redox) reactions play an important role in geological systems, such as Earth's mantle. In her Perspective, McCammon reviews recent advances toward understanding the oxidation state of the upper and the lower mantle. Apparently contradictory observations can be understood when one takes into account the ability of the most abundant minerals to take up iron in different oxidation states. The results shed light on how Earth's mantle became oxidized and may provide clues to the early history of our planet, including the rise of atmospheric oxygen.

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