Earth is special to us because of many different things. For one, it’s our home, and the human race wouldn’t have existed without it. And despite there being many things of interest regarding Earth except for its ability to sustain life, pretty much all of them tie into it in one way or another. As part of a study, a team of researcher scientists teamed up to talk about how the Earth’s fingerprint is made out of rare minerals.
Minerals are vital to the development of life
According to the study conducted by Robert Hazen and Jesse Ausubel, there is a group of some 2,550 rare minerals which form Earth’s unique fingerprint. These minerals include the rarest naturally occurring substances on the planet, such as the fingerita (present in El Salvador), amosite, and the ever elusive Sardinian ichnusaite.
It was previously known that every planet able to sustain life is theoretically able to do so thanks to the minerals present on the planet, as life wouldn’t be possible without a number of the chemical properties provided by some of the minerals present on it at its inception.
The conclusion of the study states that every planet that can support life has a unique fingerprint made out of rare minerals without which life wouldn’t have been possible. Additionally, it states like other planets such as Mars have much simpler minerals because of their inability to sustain life.
Even if we do have these minerals that form the fingerprint of our planet, the amounts in which they are found on Earth are unbelievably small. Since the study claims that an ecologically poor planet will be linked to the presence of fewer minerals, some experts are worried about the small quantities of rare minerals found here.
For example, of the 2,550 fingerprint minerals, none can be found in more than five locations all over the planet. For some of them, the amounts in which they appear on earth are so small that they could easily fit inside a thimble.
The examination of these minerals is of utmost importance to the understanding of how life came to be on Earth. For this, the team came up with a classification of the rare minerals, in terms of how they form, how ephemeral they are, how rare their supply is, and even under what conditions they form.
One of these minerals is named after one of the lead authors in the study – hazenite. This mineral occurs naturally as microbes in waters oversaturates with phosphorus excrete it from their cells in order to survive, making the rare mineral basically microbe poop.
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