Food for thought: Penrose v Ellis (2)
Purely inorganic reactions of silica, metal carbonates, and metal hydroxides can produce self-organized complex structures that mimic the texture of biominerals, the morphology of primitive organisms, and that catalyze prebiotic reactions. To date, these fascinating structures have only been synthesized using model solutions. We report that mineral self-assembly can be also obtained from natural alkaline silica-rich water deriving from serpentinization. Specifically, we demonstrate three main types of mineral self-assembly: (i) nanocrystalline biomorphs of barium carbonate and silica, (ii) mesocrystals and crystal aggregates of calcium carbonate with complex biomimetic textures, and (iii) osmosis-driven metal silicate hydrate membranes that form compartmentalized, hollow structures. Our results suggest that silica-induced mineral self-assembly could have been a common phenomenon in alkaline environments of early Earth and Earth-like planets.
Living organisms and their biochemical products affect the crystallization of minerals, such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate, forming hybrid (organic-inorganic) composite materials, called biominerals, with shapes and textures significantly different from their purely inorganic counterparts (1, 2). These properties were thought to be solely life-originated and are the rationale behind the use of morphology for detection of the oldest remnants of life on this planet and elsewhere (3–5). This view was challenged by the discovery that silica severely affects the crystallization of some carbonates inducing self-assembled inorganic-inorganic composite materials named “biomorphs” (6) that mimic the morphology and chemical signature of the putative microfossils found in Archean cherts (7–9) and the textures of some calcitic biominerals (10). This phenomenon of self-assembly occurs when carbonate minerals precipitate from silica-rich solutions under alkaline conditions…
…the conditions that produce nucleic acid precursors also create the starting materials needed to make natural amino acids and lipids. That suggests a single set of [light activated] reactions could have given rise to most of life’s building blocks simultaneously.
One difference between the creation of rock and the light-induced Creation of life is that rocks do not contain signs of life. Also, the speed of light on contact with water can be linked to the Creation of all energy-dependent biodiversity on Earth via conserved molecular mechanisms. The mechanisms link the anti-entropic virucidal energy of sunlight to the physiology of reproduction in all living genera via nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled feedback loops. Virus-driven energy theft, for comparison, links mutations to all pathology.