How was the ozone layer formed? What is it comprised of?

1 Answer
Oct 10, 2017


The high energy ultraviolet light waves (photons) break up #O_2# into single charged Oxygen atoms which combine to form Ozone.


Atmospheric Oxygen is found in a normal staple diatomic molecule #O_2# High energy particles from the sun can collide with the diatomic molecule causing the Oxygen to split into two single charged Oxygen atoms.

The split can leave one Oxygen atom with a charge of -2
This Oxygen ion would have an electron configuration of #1s^22s^22p^6# While the other Oxygen ion would have a charge of +2 . It electron configuration would be # 1s^2 2s^2 2p^4#

The ion with a charge of +2 needs more electrons. When the charged ion collides with a diatomic Oxygen molecule the ion will take electrons from the neutral molecule combining with the molecule. This forms a new very unstable molecule of #O_3# or ozone.

These chemical reactions are very important to life on earth. If the ozone did not exists absorbing the high energy ultraviolet photons the high energy photons would reach the surface of the earth causing damage to living organisms.