Oxygen Cycle

What is the oxygen cycle

The oxygen cycle is the circulation of the element oxygen inside and on the Earth's surface through chemical, physical, geological and biological processes.

The importance of the oxygen cycle lies in how essential this element is for life on the planet.

The transformation process of its journey is defined as a biogeochemical cycle. In this sense, oxygen undergoes physical, chemical, geological and biological mutations in the process.

Characteristics of the oxygen cycle

Oxygen, as a chemical element, is found in abundance and in various chemical combinations in nature. As such, its most common forms are oxygen gas (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water (H2O). As such, the oxygen cycle is characterized by being a combination of the cycles: oxygen as oxygen gas, carbon as carbon dioxide, and water in its different states of aggregation.

The oxygen cycle manifests itself in two types of processes: slow or geological cycle and fast or biological cycle.

Slow or geological cycles are those that are part of the Earth's geological process, such as the hydrological cycle.

The hydrological cycle is the journey made by two oxygen molecules together with a hydrogen molecule through the surface and the interior of the Earth, through the stages of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration and runoff.

On the other hand, rapid or biological cycles are those that constitute part of the biological processes of living beings.

Examples of rapid or biological oxygen cycles are respiration that manifests itself in two steps: the absorption of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide. Likewise, photosynthesis is also part of the biological cycles of oxygen, which is summarized in the same two steps as respiration, but absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

See also:

  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Carbon cycle
  • Water cycle (with images)
  • Oxygen

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