Setting the Atmosphere on Fire?

  1. Is it possible? As far as I know you'd need energy from a star nucleus greater than the suns to cause any change in the atmosphere, creating heavier gasses right?

    Could the amount of oxygen in the air going above 30% have any impact other than fires burning longer, or any human combustion?

    Just curious. Ignore the lab coat, maniacal laugh and questionable mustache
     
  2. jcsd
    Earth sciences news on Phys.org
  3. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    O2 is just one side of the Fire Triangle. What are the other 2 requirements for fire?
     
  4. heat and fuel! you only need a spark to ignite the fumes :D
     
  5. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Correct-a-mundo! So to set the atmosphere on fire, you need one tiny spark, and a huge what?
     
  6. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    BTW, just a reminder to everyone that dangerous activities are not allowed discussion topics on the PF. But we are talking non-physical stuff here, so it's sort of okay...
     
  7. Something like this is hypothesized during the KT extinction event 65Ma.

    A 5 mile asteroid collides with earth, forming a 100 mile crater.
    It ejects a large amount of material into low earth orbit.
    As this material re-enters that atmosphere, a trillion or so meteors are formed.
    The meteors burn up as they fall to earth. This heats the
    atmosphere to over 1000F, thereby incinerating the surface of the earth.
    The Dinosaurs that survive the initial impact, earthquakes and tsunami's are
    then cooked in the heat blast which last for several hours.
    A global fire then continues to rage for a few days, burning all the trees and surface plants.

    The dust then obscures the sun and plunges the earth into a global winter
    for a few years. After the dust clears, all the CO2 that is now in the
    atmosphere results in a prolonged period of global warming.

    Fish and turtles survive okay as do small burrowing creatures. Ferns are among
    the first plants to start growing on the land.

    The end of one era and the beginning of another.
     
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