Co-evolution of geological and biology from a mineralogical perspective
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• Earth's surface harbours at least 5809 known minerals, but when Earth first formed 4.65 billion years ago, it had about 420. Moreover, what is common on the surface today was uncommon then. Many rocks and minerals have come into being while others have become extinct.
• The overall increase in the number and types of minerals through time arose from a sequence of interactive geological and biological events.
• Minerals helped life get a foot hold on Earth. Two billion years later biological processes were key to the forming two thirds of the mineral diversity we have today.
• Bob Hazen's 2008 paper landmark paper introducing the Evolution of Mineral Diversity has grown into a whole branch of research on biological-mineral interactions. A cabinet of rocks and minerals in the Restless Earth Gallery of National Museum of Scotland is devoted to explaining this fundamental concept and was one of the first public displays to do so.
• I will introduce the key components of co-evolution of mineralogy and life, linking theory with examples on display.