Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Life (Basel, Switzerland)
A preliminary list of plausible near-surface minerals present during Earth's Hadean Eon (>4.0 Ga) should be expanded to include: (1) phases that might have formed by precipitation of organic crystals prior to the rise of predation by cellular life; (2) minerals associated with large bolide impacts, especially through the generation of hydrothermal systems in circumferential fracture zones; and (3) local formation of minerals with relatively oxidized transition metals through abiological redox processes, such as photo-oxidation. Additional mineral diversity arises from the occurrence of some mineral species that form more than one 'natural kind', each with distinct chemical and morphological characteristics that arise by different paragenetic processes. Rare minerals, for example those containing essential B, Mo, or P, are not necessary for the origins of life. Rather, many common minerals incorporate those and other elements as trace and minor constituents. A rich variety of chemically reactive sites were thus available at the exposed surfaces of common Hadean rock-forming minerals.