Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review. _Carnegie Science
Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds’ nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.
Based on observations of newly-forming stars, scientists know that the solar system began as a disc of dust and gas surrounding the centrally-growing sun. The gas condensed to solids which accumulated into larger rocky bodies like asteroids and mini-planets. Over a period of 100 million years these mini-planets collided with one another and gradually accumulated into the planets we see today, including the Earth._Oxford University
Analysing a mixture of earth samples and meteorites, scientists from the University of Bristol have shed new light on the sequence of events that led to the creation of the planets Earth and Mars.
Ancient rocks in northeastern Canada could contain chemical traces of life from more than 3.95 billion years ago, a new study suggests. If confirmed, the finding would be among the earliest known signs of life on Earth._Nature News & Comment
Giant ice avalanches caused by catastrophic glacier failures are rare events. The collapse of two neighbouring glaciers within two months – as just witnessed in Tibet – was never seen before. The timely analysis of satellite images enabled scientists to issue a warning prior to the second collapse._ ETH Zurich
A team of scientists have used air bubbles in polar ice from pre-industrial times to measure the sensitivity of the Earth’s land biosphere to changes in temperature._CSIRO
Ancient bacteria from nearly two miles below Earth’s surface: that’s what first drew Tullis Onstott to begin his search for life in the most unlikely of places. The geomicrobiologist had just attended a 1992 U.S. Department of Energy meeting about rocks estimated to be more than 200 million years old—older than most dinosaurs. These prehistoric rocks had been unearthed from a gas exploration well, and they turned out to be teeming with bacteria. _Smithsonian magazine
The earliest example of an organism living on land – an early type of fungus – has been identified. The organism, from 440 million years ago, likely kick-started the process of rot and soil formation, which encouraged the later growth and diversification of life on land. __The University of Cambridge