THE HINDU Indian subcontinent’s collision with Asia boosted oxygen in world’s oceans


  • This record is an enormous contribution to the field of global climate studies.
  • When the landmass that is now the Indian subcontinent slammed into Asia about 50 million years ago, the oxygen in the world’s oceans increased, altering the conditions for life.
  • The collision was already known to have changed the configuration of the continents, the landscape, global climate and more.


  • In addition to being the most abundant gas in the atmosphere, nitrogen is key to all life on Earth.
  • Every organism on Earth requires “fixed” nitrogen – sometimes called “biologically available nitrogen.”
  • Oxygen controls the distribution of marine organisms, with oxygen-poor waters being bad for most ocean life.
  • Many past climate warming events caused decrease in ocean oxygen that limited the habitats of sea creatures, from microscopic plankton to the fish and whales that feed on them.
  • The collision of India with Asia closed off an ancient sea called the Tethys, disturbing the continental shelves and their connections with the open ocean.
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