The Origin of Life Was Brought to You in Part by Silicate Rocks

  • Christina De La RochaEmail author
  • Daniel J. Conley


Beginning at the beginning sounds like a good call. Or, if not at the beginning, at least at a big beginning. Will the origin of life on Earth do? Silica was more than there. Together silicate minerals, seawater, and hydrothermal heat set in motion a surprisingly simple sequence of chemical reactions that resulted in Earth’s first metabolism, the first major hurdle overcome in the development of life.


Silicate Rock Lost City Geothermal Spring Asteroid Impact Late Heavy Bombardment 
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Further Reading

  1. Arndt NT, Nisbet EG (2012) Processes on the young Earth and the habitats of early life. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 40:521–549Google Scholar
  2. Kleine T, Palme H, Mezger K, Halliday AN (2005) Hf-W chronometry of lunar metals and the age and early differentiation of the Moon. Science 310:1671–1674Google Scholar
  3. Martin W, Baross J, Kelley D, Russell MJ (2008) Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life. Nature Rev Microbiol 6:805–812Google Scholar
  4. Russell MJ, Nitschke W, Branscomb E (2013) The inevitable journey to being. Phil Trans R Soc B. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0254
  5. Sleep NH, Bird DK, Pope EC (2011) Serpentinization and the dawn of life. Phil Trans R Soc B 366: 2857–2869Google Scholar
  6. Sousa FL, Thiergart T, Landan G, Nelson-Sathi S, Pereira IAC, Allen JF, Lane N, Martin WF (2013) Early bioenergetic evolution. Phil Trans R Soc B. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0088
  7. Wilde SA, Valley JW, Peck WH, Graham CM (2001) Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago. Nature 409:175–178Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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