Publications by David Catling
1) Coming soon (late 2016)! Along with Prof.
Kasting from Penn State
University, I've written the following technical book, aimed at
graduate students and researchers:
2) For the general public:
David C. Catling (2013)
Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press.
reviews of the book.
Answers about astrobiology & the book
Guest blog @Oxford University Press: "Astrobiology:
Cold Asteroid Water on Aristotle
Questions for Thought and Discussion
A Very Short Introduction
Articles by most cited: See David
111. D. C. Catling & J.
Krissansen-Totton. General models for global redox controls on
, and N2
levels over Earth history, in prep., 2016.
110. J. Krissansen-Totton & D.
. The global carbon cycle since the
mid-Cretaceous: Implications for continental and seafloor
weathering, in prep., 2016.
109. S. F. Sholes, M. L. Smith, M. W. Claire, K. J. Zahnle, D.
. Anoxic atmospheres on Mars driven by past
volcanism: Implications for past environments and life, submitted
108. J. Krissansen-Totton & D.
. The search for another Earth-like planet and
life elsewhere. In What is
Life? On Earth and Beyond
. (Ed. A. Losch), Cambridge
Univ. Press, submitted, 2016.
107. S. M. Som, R. Buick, J. W. Hagadorn, T. S. Blake, J. M.
Perreault, J. P. Harnmeijer, D.
, Earth's air pressure 2.7 billion years ago
constrained to less than half of modern levels, Nature
††† We present measurements suggesting the surprising discovery
that the Earth's atmosphere was thinner than today's air by a
factor of two or more. See a university news
commentary at Science magazine
106. G. M. Marion, D. C. Catling
J. K. Crowley, J. S. Kargel, Modeling calcium sulfate chemistries
with application to Mars, Icarus
revised & resubmitted, 2016.
105. R. M. Haberle, D. C.
, M. H. Carr, K. J. Zahnle. Early Mars, in The
and Climate of Mars
(Eds. R. M. Haberle et al.),
Cambridge Univ. Press, 2016, in press.
104. J. D. Toner & D. C.
, Water activities of NaClO4
brines from experimental heat
capacities: Water activity >0.6 below 200 K, Geochimica
103. D. C. Catling
K. J. Zahnle. How impact delivery and erosion control the
existence of ††† planetary atmospheres, in prep.
††† A presentation
outlining this topic was submitted to the 2013 Lunar &
Planetary Sci. Conference, along with a related presentation
102. D. C. Catling
, C. B.
Leovy, S. E. Wood, M. D. Day. Does the Vastitas Borealis Formation
contain oceanic or volcanic† deposits?:† Subsurface sampling using
small craters, in prep., 2016.
101. J. Krissansen-Totton, D. Bergsman, D.
, On detecting biospheres from chemical
disequilibrium in planetary atmospheres, Astrobiology
16, 39-67, 2016.
100. J. Krissansen-Totton, E. Schwieterman, B. Charnay, G. Arney,
T. D. Robinson, V. Meadows, D.
, Is the Pale Blue Dot unique? Optimized
photometric bands for identifying Earth-like planets, Astrophysical
J.,† 817, 31, 2016
†† ††† ††† A nice summary of this paper was blogged in astrobites
99. P. Pogge von Strandmann, E. E.
StŁeken, T. Elliott, S. W. Poulton, C. M. Dehler, D. E. Canfield,
D. C. Catling
isotope evidence for post-glacial oxygenation trends in the
Ediacaran ocean, Nature
, 6:10157, doi: 10.1038/ncomes10157, 2015.
††† ††† A nice discussion of this paper was blogged on Centauri
98. J. D. Toner, D. C. Catling
B. Light, A revised Pitzer model for low-temperature soluble salt
assemblages at the Phoenix site, Mars. Geochim.
, 166, 327-343, 2015. [E-print
C. Catling, Planetary Atmospheres
. In G. Schubert
(2nd Ed.), vol. 10, Elsevier, New
York, 429-472, 2015. [E-print
††† ††† ††† Reviews essentials of planetary atmospheres--mainly
physics with some chemistry.
96. J. Krissansen-Totton, R. Buick, D.
. A statistical analysis of the carbon isotope
record from the Archean to Phanerozoic and implications for the
rise of oxygen, Amer. J. Sci
315, 275-316, 2015. [E-print
For complete transparency and to
encourage cooperation in research, the isotope data and computer
source code used in this paper are freely available here
95. J. D. Toner, D. C. Catling
B. Light, Modeling salt precipitation from brines on Mars
evaporation versus freezing origin for soil salts,†
, 250, 451-461, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.12.013
††† We show that salts found in the soil at the landing site of
NASA's Phoenix Mars lander were not formed by evaporation of an
aqueous salty solution but could have formed as a salty liquid
froze. In freezing, a salty solution becomes more and more
concentrated as ice forms, and certain types of salts precipitate,
producing a chemical mixture diagnostic of an origin by freezing.
Thus, the chemistry constrains the past environment, which was
94. E. E. StŁeken, R. Buick, A. Bekker, D. Catling, J. Foriel, B.
M. Guy, J. C. Kah, H. G. Macel, K. P. Montanez, S. W. Poulton, The
evolution of the global selenium cycle: Secular trends in Se
isotopes and abundances, Geochim.
, 162, 109-125.
93. E. Pecoits, M. L. Smith, D.
, P. Philippot, A. Kappler, K. O Konhauser,†
Atmospheric hydrogen peroxide and Eoarchean iron formations, Geobiology
13, 1-14, 2015. doi:10.1111/gbi.12116
. Mars Atmosphere: History and Surface
Interactions. In: T. Spohn,† D. Breuerm, T. V. Johnson (Eds.), Encyclopedia
of the Solar System (3rd Edition)
, Elsevier, 343-357,
2014. [ E-print
]. [This book won the 2015
American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly
in the Cosmology & Astronomy
91. G. M. Marion, D. C. Catling
J. S. Kargel, J. I. Lunine, Modeling nitrogen-gas, -liquid, -solid
chemistries at low temperature (173-298 K), Icarus
90. D. C. Catling
Great Oxidation Event Transition, In Treatise
(2nd. Ed.), edited by H. D. Holland and
K. K. Turekian, vol. 6, Elsevier, Oxford, 177-195, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.01307-3
89. J. D. Toner, D. C. Catling
B. Light, Reanalysis of Wet Chemistry Laboratory data at the
Phoenix Lander site on Mars with implications for the soluble soil
salts, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta
142-168, 2014. [E-print
88. M. L. Smith,
Claire, D. C. Catling
J. Zahnle, The formation of sulfate, nitrate and perchlorate salts
in the martian atmosphere,† Icarus
231, 51-64, 2014. Open
Using a photochemical simulation,
we calculate deposition fluxes of salts formed in the ancient
martian atmosphere by oxidation of volcanic gases. The resulting
sulfate soil concentrations are consistent with observations.
Results also show that pernitric acid forms predominantly in
Mars' atmosphere rather than nitric acid. Purely gas-phase
reactions are insufficient to account for perchlorate in the
soil so that gas-solid reactions (which are currently unknown)
87. T. D. Robinson & D. C.
, Common 0.1 bar tropopause in thick atmospheres
set by pressure-dependent infrared transparency, Nature
,† 7, 12-15, 2014. doi:10.1038/NGEO2020
The minimum air temperature
between the troposphere (the lowest atmospheric layer where
temperature declines with altitude) and stratosphere (where
temperature increases with altitude in an 'inversion') occurs a
pressure of about 0.1 bar on Earth, Titan, Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus and Neptune. We used the physics of radiation to explain
why the tropopause temperature minimum in these very different
atmospheres occurs at the comŚmon pressure near 0.1 bar. Physics
suggests that a tropopause temperature minimum around 0.1 bar
should be a fairly general rule for planets with stratospheric
temperature inversions. This rule could constrain the
atmospheric structure on exoplanets and hence their surface
temperature and habitability. Accompanying
of Washington news story
Also a nice summary of the paper was blogged in astrobites
86. J. D. Toner, D. C. Catling
B. Light, The formation of supercooled brines, viscous liquids,
and low-temperature glasses on Mars, Icarus
233, 36-47, 2014, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.01.018
We report a discovery that
perchlorate salts tend not to crystallize if cooled even at
relatively slow rates but become gradually more viscous and turn
into glass (amorphous, non-crystalline solids). Glasses are
great for preserving microorganisms, so this is relevant for
looking for signs of microbial life on Mars and other cold
85. P. Pogge von Strandmann, C. D. Coath, D.
, S. W. Poulton, T. Elliott, Analysis of mass
dependent and mass independent selenium isotope variability in
black shales, Journal of
Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
, 29, 1648-1659, 2014. doi:10.1039/c4ja00124a
84. K. J. Zahnle & D. C.
, Waiting for oxygen, in Special
Paper 504: Earth's Early Atmosphere and Surface Environment
(Shaw, G. H., ed.),
Geological Society of America Conference Proceedings
2014, 37-48. [E-print
83. Marion, G. M., Kargel, J. S.,
Crowley, J. K., Catling, D. C.
Sulfite-sulfide-sulfate- carbonate equilibria with applications to
, 2013. [E-print]
82. S. M. Som, J. W. Hagadorn, W. A. Thelen, A. R. Gillespie, D.
, R. Buick, Quantitative discrimination between
geological materials with low density contrast by high resolution
X-ray computer tomography: An example using amygdule
size-distribution in ancient lava flows, Computers
, 54, 231-238, 2013, doi:
81. P. B. Niles, D. C. Catling
G. Berger, E. Chassefiere, B. L. Ehlmann, J. Michalski, R, Morris,
S. W. Ruff, B. Sutter, Carbonates on Mars, Space
, 2013. [E-print]
80. B. L. Ehlmann et al. (incl. D.
), Geochemical consequences of widespread clay
mineral formation in Mars' ancient crust, Space
79. E. E. StŁeken, J. Foriel, B. K. Nelson, R. Buick, D.
. Selenium isotope analysis of organic-rich
shales: Advances in sample preparation and isobaric interference
correction, J. Analytical
78. K. J. Zahnle, D. C. Catling,† M. W. Claire. The
rise of oxygen and the hydrogen hourglass
, in press,
77. D. C. Catling, S. Stroud. The greening of Green Mountain,
Ascension Island, submitted for M. Joachim, M. Silver (eds.) Post-Sustainable:
New Directions in Ecological Design,
New York City, in press, 2013. [preprint]
76. D. C. Catling
long will the Earth remain habitable? Sky
Telescope Special Edition: Astronomy's 60 Greatest Mysteries
75. E. E. StŁeken, D.
, R. Buick, Contributions to Late Archaean
sulphur cycling by life on land, Nature
, 5, 722-725, doi:10.1038/ngeo1585
of Washington News Story
74. T. D. Robinson & D. C.
, An analytic radiative-convective model for
planetary atmospheres, Astrophysical
, 757, 104. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/757/1/104
Because we believe in unselfish cooperation in research, the IDL
(Interactive Data Language) source code used in this paper is
available to everyone here:
††† ††† AN_RC_MOD.pro
73. J. F. Kasting, D. C. Catling
K. J. Zahnle, Atmospheric oxygenation and volcanism, Nature
487, E1, 2012
72. E. Sefton-Nash, D. C.
, S. E. Wood, P. Grindrod, Topographic, spectral
and thermal inertia analysis of interior layered deposits in Iani
Chaos, Mars,† Icarus
221, 20-42, 2012. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.06.036
71. S. M. Som, D. C. Catling
J. P. Harnmeijer, P. M. Polivka, R. Buick. Air density 2.7 billion
years ago limited to less than twice modern levels by fossil
raindrop imprints, Nature
484, 359-362, 2012.† doi:10.1038/nature10890
- We use fossil
impressions in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks
made of volcanic
ash to determine an upper limit on the air density and hence the
barometric pressure at that time. The method use calibration
experiments of drops falling into modern, comparable ash. This is
the first time constraints on the barometric pressure on the early
Earth have been made using direct physical geology. Air pressure
was probably less than ~50-110% of today's value. (University
Washington Press Release
70. M. W. Claire, J. Sheets, M. Cohen, I. Ribas, D.C. Catling
The evolution of solar flux from 2 nm to 160 microns: Quantitative
estimates for planetary studies,
757, 95, 2012. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/757/1/95
69. G. M. Marion,
Kargel, D. C. Catling
I Lunine, Modeling ammonia-ammonium chemistries in the outer
planet regions, Icarus
220, 932-946, 2012. [E-print]
68. D. Schulze-Makuch et al. (inc. D.
). A two-tiered approach to assessing the
habitability of exoplanets, Astrobiology
- In the future, thousands of
exoplanets will be known, so how will we judge whether they might
be habitable from basic astronomical parameters? This paper
presents some metrics and considerations of what makes a planet
. Oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere. In Encyclopedia
(Eds. M. Gargaud et al.),†
Springer, 1200-1208, 2011. [E-print]
66. G. M. Marion, D. C. Catling
J K. Crowley, J. S. Kargel. Modeling hot spring chemistries with
applications to Martian silica formation,
212, 629-642 doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.01.035
65. K. J. Zahnle, R. S. Freedman, D.
. Is there methane on Mars?, Icarus
- We argue that reports of
rapidly-varying methane on Mars (which has led to much speculation
about biogenic sources) violate basic principles of redox
chemistry.† This led us to uncover hitherto undocumented
interferences in the observations, which cast doubt on the
robustness of the data. [E-print]
64. P. Withers. D. C. Catling
of atmospheric tides on Mars at the season and latitude of the
Phoenix atmospheric entry, Geophys.
., 37, L24204, doi:10.1029/2010GL045382, 2010.
- The first in
atmospheric structure from the polar regions of
Mars. We report on the atmospheric structure that we derive from
accelerometer data obtained during the descent of the Phoenix
Lander to the surface of Mars in 2008.† The temperature profile
of the atmosphere was strongly influenced by thermal tides,
i.e., global oscillations caused by day-night heating of the
atmosphere by the Sun that are also influenced by the
global-scale topography of Mars. [E-print]
63. F. Tian, M. W. Claire, J. D. Haqq-Misra, M. Smith, D. C.
Crisp, D. Catling
Zahnle, J. F. Kasting. Photochemical and climate consequences of
sulfur outgassing on early Mars, Earth†
Planet. Sci. Lett.
- We show that the net effect of
volcanic sulfur gases on early Mars was to cool the planet
because of the formation of reflective sulfate aerosols. That
this is so should be intuitive because sulfate aerosols cool
Earth and Venus by reflecting sunlight. However,† papers
previously published by others had argued that SO2
gas would keep early Mars "warm and wet". Although SO2
is a greenhouse gas, prior studies did not account for the
larger cooling effect of sulfate aerosols.
62. S. P. Kounaves, M. H. Hecht, J. Kapit, R. C. Quinn, D.C.
, B. C. Clark, D. W. Ming, et al., Soluble sulfate
in the Martian soil at the Phoenix landing site, Geophys.
, 37, L09201, 2010. doi:10.1029/2010GL042613
- The first measurement of the
amount of soluble
sulfate in the soil on Mars
61. S. P. Kounaves, S. T. Stroble, R. M. Anderson, Q. Moore, D.
, S. Douglas,
C. P. McKay, D. W. Ming, P. H. Smith, L. K. Tamppari, A. P. Zent,
Discovery of natural perchlorate in the Antarctic Dry Valleys and
its global implications, Environmental
†- The first detection of
perchlorate (ClO4-) salts in the Antarctic
60. G. M. Marion, D. C. Catling
M. W. Claire, K. J. Zahnle. Modeling aqueous perchlorate
chemistries with applications to Mars,
, 2010. [E-print]
59.†† D. C. Catling
W. Claire, K. J. Zahnle, et al.,† Atmospheric origins of
perchlorate on Mars and in the Atacama, J.
, 115, E00E11, doi:10.1029/2009JE003425,
2010. See First
From the Phoenix Mission to Mars Special Issue
- The first photochemical model to
calculate fluxes of atmospheric salts that bulit up the salt
deposits (nitrate and perchlorate) in the Atacama desert of
Chile. Also, we discuss chemical pathways to form perchlorate on
58. S. P. Kounaves et al. (incl. D.
),† The wet chemistry experiments on the 2007
Phoenix Mars Scout Lander Mission: Data analysis and results, J.
, 115, E00E10, doi:10.1029/2009JE003424
††† †† ††† †† - The first direct measurement of soluble soil salts
on Mars made by adding soil on ††† ††† ††† ††† Mars to water and
measuring anions and cations with ion selective electrodes.
57. D. Fisher et al. (incl. D.
), A perchlorate-lubricated brine deformable
bed could facilitate flow of the Mars North Polar Cap: Possible
mechanism for water table recharging, J.
, 115, E00E12, doi:10.1029/2009JE003405
56. C. Stoker, A. Zent, D. C.
et al., Habitability of the Phoenix Landing Site,
J. Geophys. Res.
E00E20, 2010. doi:10.1029/2009JE003421
55. Renno, N. O., B. J. Boss, D.
, et al., Possible physical and thermodynamical
evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site, J.
54. Smith, P. H., L. Tamppari, R. E. D. Arvidson, D. S. Bass, D.
Blaney, W. V. Boynton, A. Carswell, D.
et al., H2O
at the Phoenix landing site
325, 58-61, 2009.
M. H. Hecht et al.
(incl. D. C. Catling
perchlorate and soluble chemistry of† martian soil: Findings
from the Phoenix Mars Lander
325, 64-67, 2009.
W. V. Boynton
et al. (incl. D. C. Catling
carbonate at the Phoenix landing site
325, 61-64, 2009.
51. D. C. Catling
and K. J. Zahnle, The escape of planetary atmospheres, Scientific
, 300, 36-43, May 2009. [E-print]
50.† G. M.† Marion, J. S. Kargel and D.
. Br/Cl partitioning in chloride minerals in
the Burns Formation on Mars, Icarus
200, 436-445, 2009.
49. D. C. Catling
, Atmospheric Evolution of Mars. In: V.
Gornitz (ed.) Encyclopedia
Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments
Dordrecht, 2009, pp.† 66-75, [preprint]
In celebration of† the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth in
48. D. C. Catling
Revisiting Darwin's Voyage, in Darwin:
For the Love of Science
, A. Kelly, M. Kelly, B.
Dolan, J. Hodge, M. Waithe, A. C. Grayling, K.† Ward, G. Dyson,
and D. C. Catling. Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, 2009,
pp. 240-251. [preprint]
47. Smith, P. H., L. Tamppari, R. E.
D. Arvidson, D. S. Bass, D. Blaney, W. V. Boynton, A. Carswell, D.
et al., The Phoenix mission to Mars, J.
, 13, E00A18,† doi:10.1029/2008JE003083
Describes the first space probe
to successfully land in the "arctic" equivalent of the planet
46.† P. A. Taylor, D. C. Catling
M. Daly, C. S. Dickinson, H. O. Gunnlaugsson, A-M. Harri, C. F.
Lange, Temperature, pressure and wind instrumentation on the
Phoenix meteorological package, J.
113, EA0A10, doi:10.1029/2007JE003015
45.† G. M.† Marion, J. S. Kargel and D.
. Modeling ferrous-ferric iron chemistry with
application to Martian surface geochemistry, Geochimica
et Cosmochimica Acta
72, 242-266, 2008. [E-print]
44. D. C. Catling
Where did the oxygen in our atmosphere come from? In: The
Great Mysteries of the Natural World
, M. J. Benton
(Ed.), Thames and Hudson, London, pp.69-71, 2008. [E-print]
43. E. Sefton-Nash and D. C.
. Hematitic concretions at Meridiani Planum, Mars:
Their growth timescale and possible relationship with iron
sulfates, Earth Plan. Sci.
,† 269, 366-376, 2008. [E-print]
42. K. J. Zahnle, R. M Haberle, D.
, J. F. Kasting. Photochemical instability of
the ancient Martian atmosphere, J.
, 113, E11004, doi:10.1029/2008JE003160, 2008. [E-print]
41.† D. C. Catling
Earth's early atmosphere, Catalyst:
Secondary Science Review,
18, 16-18, 2008.† (an article
aimed at secondary school students) [E-print]
, Mars: Ancient fingerprints in the clay, Nature
448, 31-32, 2007. [E-print]†
39. D. C. Catling, M. W.
Claire, and K. J. Zahnle, Anaerobic methanotrophy and the rise of
oxygen, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc.
A 365, 1867-1888, 2007. [E-print]†
37. D. Catling
Review, Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins
by Robert M. Hazen,† American
92, 1543, 2007. [E-print]
, and R. Buick. Introduction to Special Issue:
Oxygen and Life in the Precambrian, Geobiology
vol. 4, 225-226, 2006. [E-print]
35. K. J. Zahnle, M. W. Claire, and
, The loss of mass-independent fractionation in
sulfur due to a Paleoproterozoic collapse of atmospheric methane,
, vol. 4,
271-283, 2006. [E-print]
- A 1D numerical photochemical model is used to study the
atmospheric photochemistry of oxygen, methane, and sulphur
after the advent of oxygenic photosynthesis. We show that
collapse of atmospheric methane in the early Proterozoic aeon
to levels of† ~10s of ppmv provides the best explanation of
the disappearance of mass-independent fractionation in sulphur
34. M. W. Claire, D.C. Catling
and K. J. Zahnle, Biogeochemical modeling of the rise in
atmospheric oxygen. Geobiology
vol. 4, 239-269, 2006. [E-print
- Here we present analytical and numerical computations for
how the Earth's early atmosphere transitioned to an O2-rich
state about 2.4. billion years ago. Understanding this
transition is important for life on Earth because the rise of
O2 allowed a stratospheric ozone layer to develop
and allowed a greater variety of oxygen-dependent eukaryotic
33. Mix, L., et al., The
astrobiology primer: An outline of general knowledge - Version 1,
2006. Astrobiology 6,†
32. Marion G. M., Catling D. C.,
S., Modeling gas hydrate equilibria in electrolyte solutions. CALPHAD
Computer Coupling of Phase Diagrams and Thermochemistry,
30, 248-259, 2006.
31. G. T. Delory, W. M. Farrell, S.
Atreya, N. O. Renno, A-S. Wong, S. A. Cummer, D. D. Sentman, J. R.
Marshall, S. C. R. Rafkin and D.
C. Catling, Oxidant enhancement in Martian dust devils
and storms: Storm electric fields and electron dissociative
6, 453-454, 2006.
30. S. K. Atreya, A-S Wong, N. O.
Renno, W. M. Farrell, G. T. Delory, D. D. Sentman, S. A. Cummer,
J. R. Marshall, S. C. R. Rafkin, D.
C. Catling, Oxidant enhancement in Martian dust devils
and storms: Implications for life and habitability, Astrobiology,
6, 439-450, 2006.
Catling, Comment on "A Hydrogen-rich Early Earth
Atmosphere". Science 311,
- Here I commented on a paper by Tian et al., noting that
Earth's early thermosphere, under the high extreme ultraviolet
flux of the early Sun, would have been hot enough for hydrogen
to escape readily so that hydrogen would not accumulate to
high abundance. My back-of-envelope calculations are supported
by independent detailed calculations of early Earth's
Kulikov et al. (2006) Space Sci. Rev.,
, S. E. Wood, C. Leovy, D. R. Montgomery, H.
Greenberg, C. R. Glein, J. M. Moore, Light-toned layered deposits
in Juventae Chasma, Mars, Icarus
181, 26-51, 2006.[E-print]
- This paper discusses the origin of enigmatic sulfate
deposits, as large as mountains, in a deep chasm on Mars.
Using spacecraft data, we made a new geomorphic map of
Juventae Chasma and the deposits in its interior.
and M. Claire, How Earth's atmosphere evolved to
an oxic state: A status report, Earth
Planet. Sci. Lett.
, 237, 1-20, 2005. [E-print]
- A review of the how the level of molecular oxygen (O2)
in the Earth's atmosphere has changed over the last 4 billion
years and what caused the changes, to the best of our
25. D C. Catling
studies on Mars. Nature 436
42-43, 2005. [E-print]
††† ††† Invited commentary on the results of the Mars Exploration
24. D. W. Beaty, S. M. Clifford, L.
E. Borg, D. Catling et
al., Key science questions from the Second Conference on Early
Mars: Geologic, hydrologic, climate evolution, and the
implications for life, Astrobiology
, 5, 663-689, 2005.
, C.R. Glein, K.J. Zahnle, and C. P. McKay. Why O2
is required by complex life on habitable planets and the concept
of planetary "oxygenation time",† Astrobiology
5, 415-438, 2005. [E-print]
on this paper by Norm Sleep.
- We explain how O2 provides the highest feasible
energy release per electron transfer for carbon-based
life, a universal property set by the limits of the periodic
table. We also calculate theoretical biomass spectra for
anaerobic (non-O2-using) life, which shows why such
life does not grow large and complex. The upshot is that the
evolution of water-splitting metabolism (photosynthesis) and
subsequent atmospheric evolution are the important factors for
determining the distribution of complex life on planets
elsewhere in our galaxy and in the universe.
- See also "Why
would also breathe oxygen", Forbes Magazine.
- Of solar system planets with atmospheres, the Earth is the
sunniest in terms of flux reaching its surface. Earth also has
an anomalous atmosphere, chemically and dynamically. The
chemistry is in a low entropy state, pushed far from
thermodynamic equilibrium by surface gas fluxes. Dynamically,
the Earth has the most unpredictable weather (e.g., compare
Jupiter's Great Red Spot) and the slowest jets. In this paper,
I discuss how life and entropy production have roles in
producing Earth's weird atmosphere, which in turn allows life
21. G. M. Marion, J. S. Kargel, D.
Catling, S. D. Jakubowski. Effects of pressure on aqueous
chemical equilibria at subzero temperatures with applications to
Europa, Geochim. Cosmochim.
20. D. C. Catling
Science: On Earth, as it is on Mars? Nature
"News and Views" piece that gives recent thinking on
Martian hematite concretions (nicknamed "blueberries")
that were discovered by the Opportunity Mars rover. The
write-up discusses similar (but different!) phenomena on
Earth, in Utah.
19. W. M. Farrell, P. H. Smith, G.
T. Delory, G. B. Hillard, J. R. Marshall, D.
et al., Electric and magnetic signatures of dust
devils from the 2000-2001 MATADOR desert tests, J. Geophys.
, M. W. Claire, K. J. Zahnle, Understanding the
evolution of atmospheric redox state from the Archaean to the
Proterozoic, In: Reimold, W.U. and Hofmann, A. (Eds.), Abstract
volume, Field Forum on
Processes on the Early Earth
, Kaapvaal Craton, S. Africa,
July 4-9, 2004, p.17-19.† [E-print]
- Here, we presented a quantitative model of the rise of
oxygen around 2.4 billion years ago.† We showed how the rise
of O2 occurred when the flux of organic carbon
burial (which is the source of O2) exceeded the
geothermal flux of reductants (such as reduced volcanic and
metamorphic gases that react with oxygen, as well as
hydrothermal cations such as ferrous iron). We also showed
that as† O2 rises, ultraviolet shielding of the
troposphere by ozone causes a positive feedback on the
increase in atmospheric oxygen.† See the subsequent paper by
Claire et al. (2006) for full details.
17. D. M. Tratt, M. H. Hecht, D.
, E. C. Samulon, and P. Smith, In situ measurement
of dust devil dynamics: Toward a strategy for Mars J. Geophys.
., 108, doi:10.1029/2003JE002161, 2003. [E-print]
16. J. F. Kasting and D. C.
, Evolution of a habitable planet, Annual Reviews
of Astronomy and Astrophysics
, 41, 429-463, 2003.[E-print]
- In this
paper, we review why Earth's climate has remained
conducive to life on Earth for the past 3.5 billion years.
15. D. C. Catling
and J. M
Moore, The nature of coarse-grained crystalline hematite and its
implications for the early environment of Mars, Icarus
165, 277-300, 2003.[E-print]
hematite is a mineral that has been found in certain
locations on Mars, in particular at the landing site of
Mars Exploration Rover called
that landed in 2004. In this paper, before we knew about
the Opportunity findings, we discussed† the possible
environments in which gray hematite might have formed on
14. G. M. Marion, D. C. Catling
, and J. S. Kargel, Modeling aqueous ferrous iron chemistry at
low temperatures with application to Mars, Geochem. Cosmochem.
, 67, 4251-4266, 2003. [E-print]
13.† D. Catling
and K. Zahnle, Evolution of atmospheric oxygen, in Encyclopedia
(Ed. J. Holton, J. Curry, J.
Pyle), Academic Press, 754-761, 2003. [E-print]
D. C. Catling
, K. J. Zahnle,
and C. P. McKay, What caused the second rise of O2 in the late
Proterozoic? Methane, sulfate, and irreversible oxidation, Astrobiology
2, 569, 2002.† [E-print
- In this conference paper, we presented an idea -- completely
new at the time -- that methane could have been at high levels
(10s or 100s of ppmv) during the middle Proterozoic. We argued
that CH4 could have still been an important
greenhouse gas if there had been a large (biogenic) CH4
flux from the large areas of anoxic seafloor in the
Proterozoic. We also noted how this could drive a second rise
of atmospheric O2 in the Neoproterozoic because of
decomposition of methane in the upper atmosphere and
associated hydrogen escape to space. Finally, we noted that a
lot of sedimentary sulfide should have been subducted in the
Proterozoic (because of large areas of euxinia), which would
also oxidize the surface environment over time.
12. M. R. Patel, J. C. Zarnecki, and
D. C. Catling
, Ultraviolet radiation on the surface of Mars
and the Beagle 2
sensor, Planetary and Space Science
, 2, 569, 2002.
11. D. C. Catling
, K. J.
Zahnle, and C. P. McKay, Biogenic methane, hydrogen escape, and
the irreversible oxidation of early Earth, Science
839-843, 2001. [E-print]
- In this paper, we advanced a theory to answer the question
of why the Earth's atmosphere became oxygen-rich about 2.4-2.2
billion years ago. This transition was an important event in
Earth's history because all complex life forms (animals and
multicellular plants) rely on molecular oxygen (O2).
Consequently, understanding the rise of oxygen is critical for
understanding biological evolution on our planet.
10.† J. C. Bridges, D. C.
, J. M. Saxton, T. D. Swindle, I. C. Lyon and M. M.
Grady, Alteration assemblages in Martian meteorites: Implications
for near-surface processes, in Chronology
Evolution of Mars
, Kluwer Academic, New York, 2001,
9. C. S., Cockell, D. C. Catling
W. L. Davis, K. Snook, R. L. Kepner, and P. Lee, and McKay, C. P.,
The ultraviolet environment of Mars: Biological implications past,
present, and future. Icarus
, 146, 343-459, 2000. [E-print]
8. J. K. Reynolds, D. Catling
R. C. Blue, N. I. Maluf, and T. Kenny, Packaging a piezoresistive
pressure sensor to measure low absolute pressures over a wide
sub-zero temperature range, Sensors and Actuators
142-149, 2000. [E-print]
7. D. C. Catling
. A chemical
model for evaporites on early Mars: Possible sedimentary tracers
of the early climate and implications for exploration, J.
., 104, 16,453-16,470, 1999. [E-print.]
6. S. Smrekar, D. Catling
R. Lorenz, J. Magalhaes, M. Meyer, J. Moersch, P. Morgan, J.
Murphy, B. Murray, M. Presley-Holloway, A. Yen, and A. Zent, Deep
Space 2: The Mars Microprobe Mission, J. Geophys. Res.
104, 27013-27030, 1999. [E-print]
5. C. S. Cockell, D. C. Catling
and H. F. Waites. Insects at low-pressures: Applications to
artificial ecosystems and implications for global windborne
distribution, Life Support and Biosphere Sci., 6, 161-167,
prior to 1999
4. D. C. Catling
sensitivity silicon capacitive sensors for measuring medium vacuum
gas pressures, Sensors and Actuators
, A64, 157-164, 1998.
3. R. M. Haberle and† D. C.
, A micro-meteorological mission for global network
science on Mars: Rationale and measurement requirements, Planet.
44, 1361-1384, 1996. [E-print.]
- This article was about a concept that Bob Haberle and I†
came up with for measuring the global climate system on Mars
using a network of miniature, automated weather stations.
Later, along with other scientists and engineers, we developed
a detailed NASA mission concept called "Pascal"
to do this. Pascal is yet to fly, but such a mission will be
an essential precursor for a future human mission.†
2. M. M. Joshi, S. R. Lewis, P. L.
Read and D. C. Catling
. Western boundary currents in the
Martian atmosphere: Numerical simulations and observational
evidence, J. Geophys. Res.
† 100, 5485-5500, 1995. [E-print.]
1. M. M. Joshi, S. R. Lewis, P. L.
Read and D. C. Catling. Western boundary currents in the
atmosphere of Mars, Nature, 367, 548-551, 1994.
- Western boundary currents are important fluid flows† in the
climate system on Earth. The Gulf Stream in the north Atlantic
ocean helps keep western Europe warm and the East African Jet
in the atmosphere plays an important role in the Asian
monsoon. In this paper, we pointed out how western boundary
currents are a significant feature of the atmosphere of Mars.[E-print.]
by subject, coauthor, etc.:† David
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