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Category:
Natural Sciences

Lecturer:
Dr. Dominic Papineau, London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, UK

Place:
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Lecture Hall, Königstuhl 17

Host:
Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life (HIFOL)

Description:
The oldest sedimentary rocks on Earth preserve a record of early biological evolution that might also have occurred on early Mars. However, this problem is very challenging due to the high level of metamorphism and alteration of these ancient rocks. However, the combined elemental, isotopic, and molecular compositions of graphite and its associated key minerals can yield a solid case for a biological origin. I will discuss our recent findings of graphite with apatite and microfossils in the Nuvvuagittuq iron formation from Canada, which is older than 3.77 billion years old. We are also testing a new model involving chemically-oscillating reactions in the formation of these rocks and as an approach to search for the remains of extra-terrestrial life.

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