Intelligent Design News Origin Of Life

Origin of life: Deep fluids played a role, in early Earth?

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Diamond on coal/RTimages, Fotolia

From ScienceDaily:

In an article published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, Sverjensky and his team demonstrate that in addition to the carbon dioxide and methane already documented deep in subduction zones, there exists a rich variety of organic carbon species that could spark the formation of diamonds and perhaps even become food for microbial life.

“It is a very exciting possibility that these deep fluids might transport building blocks for life into the shallow Earth,” said Sverjensky, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “This may be a key to the origin of life itself.”

Sverjensky’s theoretical model, called the Deep Earth Water model, allowed the team to determine the chemical makeup of fluids in Earth’s mantle, expelled from descending tectonic plates. Some of the fluids, those in equilibrium with mantle peridotite minerals, contained the expected carbon dioxide and methane. But others, those in equilibrium with diamonds and eclogitic minerals, contained dissolved organic carbon species including a vinegar-like acetic acid.

These high concentrations of dissolved carbon species, previously unknown at great depth in Earth, suggest they are helping to ferry large amounts of carbon from the subduction zone into the overlying mantle wedge where they are likely to alter the mantle and affect the cycling of elements back into Earth’s atmosphere.

However exotic, deep Earth is hardly the only proposed origin venue. See, for example, Origin of life: Could it all have come together in one very special place?

See also: Complex life may only be even possible in 10 percent of galaxies?

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Abstract Supercritical aqueous fluids link subducting plates and the return of carbon to Earth’s surface in the deep carbon cycle. The amount of carbon in the fluids and the identities of the dissolved carbon species are not known, which leaves the deep carbon budget poorly constrained. Traditional models, which assume that carbon exists in deep fluids as dissolved gas molecules, cannot predict the solubility and ionic speciation of carbon in its silicate rock environment. Recent advances enable these limitations to be overcome when evaluating the deep carbon cycle. Here we use the Deep Earth Water theoretical model to calculate carbon speciation and solubility in fluids under upper mantle conditions. We find that fluids in equilibrium with mantle peridotite minerals generally contain carbon in a dissolved gas molecule form. However, fluids in equilibrium with diamonds and eclogitic minerals in the subducting slab contain abundant dissolved organic and inorganic ionic carbon species. The high concentrations of dissolved carbon species provide a mechanism to transport large amounts of carbon out of the subduction zone, where the ionic carbon species may influence the oxidation state of the mantle wedge. Our results also identify novel mechanisms that can lead to diamond formation and the variability of carbon isotopic composition via precipitation of the dissolved organic carbon species in the subduction-zone fluids. (paywall)

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6 Replies to “Origin of life: Deep fluids played a role, in early Earth?

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    In chapter 2 (The Origin of Innovation) of Wagner’s new book (The Arrival of the Fittest) he explains his ocean vent OOL scenario.

    Although he hypothesizes “multitudes” of life forms emerging then only one kind surviving:

    “This is not the same as saying that life originated only once. Given the powers of self-organization, I would not be surprised if life arose many times, in hydrothermal vents, in warm ponds, or who knows where else. Among a multitude of faint lights that flickered on and off throughout the earliest history of the planet, some held steady, while others shone more and more brightly. But only one of them became bright enough to spawn all of today’s life. This is not a matter of opinion. It has to be true, for a single reason: standards. More accurately, universal standards.”

    Questions for the Wagner fans or others – would it have been possible for multiple first lifes to survive, and then have multiple life “forms” today? Also, what would keep new life forms from emerging or what has kept them from emerging?

  2. 2
    HeKS says:

    Hey ppolish,

    I’m reading Wagner’s book too. It’s interesting so far. The first chapter almost seems like it could be written by an ID proponent. Regarding OOL stuff, Wagner seems incredibly sanguine, jumping from positive claim to positive claim, with only the occasional caveat. Of course, in discussing Miller’s experiment, he doesn’t even address the fact that Miller wasn’t using an “atmosphere” of gases that would have been present on the early earth, or the lengths he had to go to preserve the organic molecules produced by passing a spark through that atmosphere.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    keiths claims the book is an ID killer. Claims we’ll be hearing a lot from him from the book. I bet I’ve quoted more from the book here at UD than keiths has.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note to carbon:
    The delicate balance at which carbon is synthesized in stars is truly a work of art. Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), a famed astrophysicist, is the scientist who established the nucleo-synthesis of heavier elements within stars as mathematically valid in 1946. Hoyle is said to have converted from staunch atheism into being a Theist/Deist after discovering the precise balance at which carbon is synthesized in stars. Years after Sir Fred discovered the stunning precision with which carbon is synthesized in stars he stated this:

    “I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.”
    Sir Fred Hoyle – “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12

    Also of note to ‘deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars’,,,

    Bucky Balls – Andy Gion
    Excerpt: Buckyballs (C60; Carbon 60) are the roundest and most symmetrical large molecule known to man. Buckministerfullerine continues to astonish with one amazing property after another. C60 is the third major form of pure carbon; graphite and diamond are the other two. Buckyballs were discovered in 1985,,,
    http://www.3rd1000.com/bucky/bucky.htm

    Sun’s Almost Perfectly Round Shape Baffles Scientists – (Aug. 16, 2012) —
    Excerpt: The sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest and narrow diameters would be much less than the width of a human hair.,,, They also found that the solar flattening is remarkably constant over time and too small to agree with that predicted from its surface rotation.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....150801.htm

    supplemental notes:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? … I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. –
    Sir Fred Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.

    The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Life Just Got Finer – March 15, 2013
    Excerpt: In new lattice calculations done at the Juelich Supercomputer Centre [in Germany] the physicists found that just a slight variation in the light quark mass will change the energy of the Hoyle state, and this in turn would affect the production of carbon and oxygen in such a way that life as we know it wouldn’t exist.
    “The Hoyle state of carbon is key,” Lee says. “If the Hoyle state energy was at 479 keV [479,000 electron volts] or more above the three alpha particles [helium-4 nuclei], then the amount of carbon produced would be too low for carbon-based life. “The same holds true for oxygen,” he adds. “If the Hoyle state energy were instead within 279 keV of the three alphas, then there would be plenty of carbon. But the stars would burn their helium into carbon much earlier in their life cycle. As a consequence, the stars would not be hot enough to produce sufficient oxygen for life. In our lattice simulations, we find that more than a 2 or 3 percent change in the light quark mass would lead to problems with the abundance of either carbon or oxygen in the universe.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70091.html

    Michael Denton -Atheist Fred Hoyle’s conversion from atheism to being a Deist/Theist (6:38 minute mark)- video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ADT9L5MBPak#t=398

    One Thing Comet Probe Hubbub Has Right: Water Is Vital to Life Chemistry – Daniel Bakken – November 13, 2014
    Excerpt: Silicon is chemically similar to carbon, another abundant element in the universe, and by far the best option besides carbon to build complex molecules life requires.3 It fails, however, when compared to carbon. Silicon forms very strong bonds with oxygen, as exemplified in granite, for example. Carbon’s bonds to oxygen are gentler, making it much more bio-friendly. Silicon molecules don’t hold together well enough to form long molecules analogous to proteins.4 For these and other reasons, most serious origin-of-life researchers do not feel silicon could work.5 Besides, carbon is common in the galaxy, more so than silicon, its closest competitor.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91091.html

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    BA77, I never knew Sir Fred “converted”, thought he was always an Atheist. Learn something new every post from you:)

    OT, neat new alignments discovered. Even a Multiverse can’t account for all the fine tunes of this Universe.
    http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1438/

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    Yes, HeKS, take out the obligatory insults against “Creationists” and that first chapter does read as if written by an IDer:)

    But Wagner will invoke Darwin many times later in book. I’m glad you’re reading it, and your insights/review will be interesting I’m sure.

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