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Origin of life: Pumice rafts “floating laboratories for early life”?

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New Island and Pumice Raft in the Tongas
NASA image of pumice raft

If you believe it.

In “Volcanic rock rafts ‘could have been cradles of life, ‘” (BBC News , September 2, 2011), Mark Kinver reports

Researchers say the buoyant rock pumice has the right properties to have provided the conditions for early life to emerge more than 3.5bn years ago.

“During its life cycle, pumice is potentially exposed to – among other things – lightning associated with volcanic eruptions, oily hydrocarbons and metals produced by hydrothermal vents, and ultraviolet light from the Sun as it floats on water,” explained co-author Professor Martin Brasier from the University of Oxford.

Okay, but …

“All these conditions have the potential to host, or even generate, the kind of chemical processes that we think created the first living cells.”

But what happened to white smokers, black smokers, clay world, diamond world … is there a sodium world yet? Hang on, there soon will be.

Someone has said that talking to origin of life scientists is like giving a bobcat a prostate exam.

It’s nobody’s fault. Origin of life probably isn’t a solvable problem.

Fazale Rana weighs in on 'Pumice rafts' origin of life; podcast; http://c450913.r13.cf2.rackcdn.com/snf20110906fr.mp3 bornagain77
Semi OT: for a much more serious look at the Origin of Life 'problem', here is more on a new paper from Stephen Meyer and Paul Nelson; Ends and Means: More on Meyer and Nelson in BIO-Complexity http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/09/ends_and_means050391.html bornagain77
This reminds me of the game Balderdash in which players write authentic-sounding definitions and descriptions for terms to see who can fool the other players. You could "float" some new OOL scenario that was purely invented and I bet the office water cooler/vending machine abiogenesis believer would be gloating over it within a week. Everyone reads that "the buoyant rock pumice has the right properties to have provided the conditions for early life to emerge," but no one asks how they know what those properties and conditions were. ScottAndrews

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