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Oxxxygen in amber

Neil has remarked th at even water diffuses out of amber since
contained insects are dessicated.  Trye enough, but that  probably
happened when the amber was still liquid.  The point of the O2
anaylses is that  while the resin is setting to form amber the
contained gases were in equilibrium with the atmosphere.  Amber
h as been used a great deal for th is kind of researc.  Well-
cured amber is probably sufficiently impervious for no changes to
occur.  The very fact that O2 levels are NOT in equ ilibrium with
modern atmosphere is proof enough of that.  The one thing that
could cause an O2 shift away from the o riginal value would be
bacterial or alga activity continuing for a short time after 
formation within the  spaces.  This seems never to have been
considered by the amber O2 people.  It would only take acouple
of days of continuing activity after the  amber set enough to
become i mpermeable for continuing biological activity to shift
the ratios of gases.   Bacterial activity would lead to lower
values, while algal activity (in sunlight)  woul l ead to higher.

>From: David Brez Carlisle
bk090@Freenet Carleton.CA