Did Life and Plate Tectonics Co-evolve?

Earth is unique in several important ways:

  • It is the only planet where life is known
  • Granite has been discovered nowhere except on Earth
  • Granite now forms the continents of Earth
  • The first minute fragments of rocks (zircons) were formed inside granite 4.4 bya
  • Life appears in the earliest known continental fragments

Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution for Science believes this is no co-incidence. He thinks that the origin of life was a geochemical processes that resulted from interactions of oceans, atmosphere, and rocks and minerals.

This theory, and other aspects of the link between early life and plate tectonics, are explored in a BBC podcast broadcast on 3 Jul 2013 (available here). The programme discusses the question of whether life on Earth could help to create granite and hence be the cause of Plate Tectonics.


Origin of Life research at Hazen’s laboratory

Minik Rosing’s Home Page

For more links see the programme’s page

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