Silica-induced mineral self-organization in a lifeless planet

DIPC Seminars

Juan Manuel Garcia-Ruiz
Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC- Universidad de Granada)
Hybrid Seminar, Donostia International Physics Center
Ricardo Diaz Muino
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Silica-induced mineral self-organization in a lifeless planet

According to the latest information provided by Hadean zircons, water condensed on the Earth's surface shortly after the solidification of its earliest ultramafic crust. The thermally driven interaction between water and ultramafic minerals (serpentinization) created an alkaline, silica-rich hydrosphere, and a reduced atmosphere, leading to the formation of complex organic compounds. I propose that this global geochemical scenario also triggered the formation of self-assembled silica-based mineral structures that could have played an important role in the transition from inorganic geochemistry to organic chemistry and ultimately to the origin of life itself. I will discuss in the talk i) the fundamentals of silica-induced mineral self-assembly, ii) its geochemical plausibility, and iii) its role in the problem of detecting primitive life and catalyzing prebiotic chemistry.
- Criado, J., Bizarri, B., Garcia-Ruiz, J.M., Saladino, R. & di Mauro, E. The role of borosilicate reactor in the Miller-Urey experiment. Scientific Reports2021, 11:21009.
- Garcia-Ruiz, J. M., Van Zuilen, M. A. & Bach, W. Mineral self-organization on a lifeless planet. Phys. Life Rev. 2020, 34-35: 62-80.
- Garcia-Ruiz, J. M.; Nakouzi, E.; Kotopoulou, E.; Tamborrino, L.; Steinbock, O., Biomimetic mineral self- organization from silica-rich spring waters. Science Advances 2017, 3 (3), e1602285.
- Garcia-Ruiz, J. M.; Melero-Garcia, E.; Hyde, S. T., Morphogenesis of Self-Assembled Nanocrystalline Materials of Barium Carbonate and Silica. Science 2009, 323 (5912), 362-365.