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Old 08-26-2019, 04:26 PM
eburacum45 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Old York
Posts: 2,884
I can't believe that so much wrong information has been posted in this thread.
Ask yourself- if we burnt the entire Amazon rain forest, how much oxygen would disappear from the atmosphere?
20%? No.
The answer is much less than 1%.
Most of the oxygen in our atmosphere is fossil oxygen. It was created long ago by photosynthetic organisms that are long dead and buried; the reduced carbon that this process created is buried deep underground, some as coal and oil, but most in the form of kerogen distributed in rocks. Even if you combusted the entire living biosphere of Earth the atmosphere would only lose a percent or two of oxygen partial pressure.

Sure, with a dead (burnt) biosphere, the oxygen constituent of the atmosphere would go down slowly, as the dead rocks of the atmosphere absorb it; but this would take hundreds of thousands of years.This is because the Earth's crust and ocean is already pretty well oxygenated, so it can't absorb much more without some sort of geological turnover.

This is supposed to be the Straight Dope, people - try to get it right!