Every day, we humans take oxygen for granted and generally don’t give it a second thought. But have you ever wondered what would happen if Earth lost oxygen for just a few seconds? Yeah, you could probably hold your breath for a minute or so, but oxygen does so much more than that. In fact, I’m willing to bet the consequences are worse than you’re expecting.
So when one Quora user asked the question, “what would happen if oxygen were to disappear for five seconds?” we were absolutely shocked by the answers. This is what would happen:
What if the world lost oxygen for 5 seconds?
Everyone at the beach would immediately get sunburns, even though there would be no beach, no sand, and no water.
Molecular oxygen in the air protects our skin against UV light.
The daytime sky would get dark.
Fewer particles to bounce light means a dark, almost black sky.
All pieces of untreated metal would instantly spot weld to each other.
The only thing preventing metal from welding together on contact is a layer of oxidation.
The earth’s crust would crumble.
Oxygen is an important binder in concrete.
Water is 1/3 oxygen. Without it, hydrogen would turn into a gaseous state and expand in volume.
The oceans would evaporate and bleed into space.
Without oxygen, hydrogen is free to float to the upper troposphere and eventually into space.
Now, what if the amount of oxygen DOUBLED?
Paper airplanes would fly further.
We would get better gas mileage.
We would be happier and more alert.
The extra oxygen would improve our cognition, alertness, and physical performance.
But…there would be giant insects.
An insect’s body size is determined by the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere.
Everything in moderation, right?