For The First Time Ever, Evidence of Ancient Life Was Discovered Inside a Ruby

Asia's Tech News Daily

© University of Waterloo The ruby found to contain carbon-12 graphite.

A ruby that formed in Earth’s crust 2.5 billion years ago encases evidence for early life, wriggling around in the planet’s mud.

Trapped within the precious stone, geologists have identified residue of a form of pure carbon called graphite that, they say, is most likely biological in origin, the remains of some ancient microorganism from the time before multicellular life emerged on Earth.

“The graphite inside this ruby is really unique. It’s the first time we’ve seen evidence of ancient life in ruby-bearing rocks,” said geologist Chris Yakymchuk of the University of Waterloo in Canada.

“The presence of graphite also gives us more clues to determine how rubies formed at this location, something that is impossible to do directly based on a ruby’s color and chemical composition.”

Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum – a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. It forms under intense heat and pressure at Earth’s tectonic boundaries, where tectonic subduction and collision create the necessary environment. The stones are imbued with their deep hue by the presence of the rare element chromium – the more chromium, the redder the gem.

Like all minerals, rubies vary in purity and clarity. The formation processes can lead to the presence of impurities, or inclusions, in precious gems. That might make these stones unsuitable for jewelry, but it’s fantastic for science.

For example, a mineral from thousands of kilometers below ground that wouldn’t otherwise survive on the surface was found preserved in a diamond. Surface minerals found in another diamond that formed deep underground led to a better understanding of how tectonic subduction can slurp surface material downwards. (There was also a diamond in another diamond, but that’s just cool.)

Yakymchuk and his team were seeking to better understand corundum formation processes by studying rubies in Greenland, where one of the world’s oldest known deposits of the mineral is located. While studying these samples, they found the graphite inclusion.

Graphite can form abiotically, that is, through chemical and mineral processes; however, it can also be a significant biomarker. One way to discern the difference is by determining the carbon isotope, which are forms of the same element with different numbers of neutrons in the nuclei, and therefore different atomic masses.

Carbon-14, for instance, is the radiocarbon famously used for precise dating of physical artifacts; it forms abiotically in Earth’s atmosphere. The lightest natural isotope of stable carbon on Earth is carbon-12, and it’s this isotope that is found most abundantly on Earth, and that occurs in living organisms.

The team found that the graphite in the ruby was carbon-12, in abundances consistent with an organic origin. And, because we know the age of the gem, this allowed the researchers to narrow down what that organic origin could be, since life on Earth 2.5 billion years ago was extremely limited.

“Living matter preferentially consists of the lighter carbon atoms because they take less energy to incorporate into cells,” Yakymchuk said.

“Based on the increased amount of carbon-12 in this graphite, we concluded that the carbon atoms were once ancient life, most likely dead microorganisms such as cyanobacteria.”

This led to some clues as to how the rubies could have formed at all, too. Corundum doesn’t form in environments that have too much silica.

The presence of graphite suggests the presence of fluid that would have helped transfer silicon dioxide out of the rock, priming the environment for the formation of corundum in the first place.

The research has been published in Ore Geology Reviews.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Soldiers who fired rubber bullets during Troubles not responsible for civilian death, inquest finds

British soldiers on patrol in Londonderry in 1973 – Images Press /Archive Photos Soldiers under investigation over the shooting of a man in Northern Ireland almost 50 years ago were ... Read more »

Biden says US economy 'in strong shape'

© Getty Images The US economy is in a strong position, President Joe Biden has said, thanks to action taken by the government to free up supply chain blockages and ... Read more »

EV industry must work closer with lithium suppliers, executives say

By Ernest Scheyder (Reuters) – Automakers must work closer with lithium producers to guarantee supply of specialized types of the white metal that boost an electric vehicle's range and performance, ... Read more »

Humanitarian flights resume to Ethiopia's Tigray region: UN

© Amanuel SILESHI Humanitarian aid needs have risen in Ethiopia amid a year-long battle between government troops and rebel forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front UN humanitarian flights and ... Read more »

Londoners nonplussed by 'half dead' Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Bemused Londoners have expressed their disappointment after the famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree arrived in London looking ‘scrawny’ and ‘half dead’. The Norwegian ... Read more »

'Southern India saw highest rainfall in November since 1901'

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: Peninsular India recorded the highest ever rainfall in November since 1901, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday while noting ... Read more »

Sangeet to Reception, all you should know about Vicky Kaushal & Katrina Kaif's royal wedding

© Provided by Pinkvilla Bollywood wedding season is going on in full flow and one of the most anticipated royal weddings is of Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif. According to ... Read more »

US reports first confirmed case of Omicron variant

© Provided by Al Jazeera Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it was ‘just a matter of time’ before the first case ... Read more »

Maximum temperature plunges by five degrees in Chandigarh

© Provided by Hindustan Times Chandigarh logged a maximum temperature of 19.8°C, down from 24.9°C recorded on Tuesday. (HT Photo) With a western disturbance active in the region, the day ... Read more »

Avoid blanket internet ban, says Parliament panel

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel, headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, has expressed concern over lack of government data on the number of ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin speaks out about Rust tragedy in his first interview, claims he ‘didn't pull the trigger'

© Provided by Pinkvilla   Alec Baldwin claims he did not pull the trigger on the gun that murdered Halyna Hutchins, the first time we’ve heard him make the new ... Read more »

Army launches inquiry into startling NFL game flyover by Fort Campbell pilots

The Army has launched an inquiry into the planning and execution of a helicopter flyover of Nashville’s Nissan Stadium before an NFL game on Nov. 14, Army Times has learned. ... Read more »

Spotify Wrapped 2021: Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift & Olivia Rodrigo bag top spots in year end streaming chart

© Provided by Pinkvilla Spotify has just released its highly anticipated Spotify Wrapped 2021 which celebrates the most streamed artists and music of the year. This year, Bad Bunny has ... Read more »

HP Police awarded with ‘President's Colour', 8th in country to achieve feat

© Provided by Hindustan Times Himachal governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar during the ‘President’s Colour Award’ ceremony in Shimla on Wednesday. (Deepak Sansta/Hindustan Times) The ‘President’s Colour Award’ ceremony was organised ... Read more »

Mamata Banerjee meets Sharad Pawar, says ‘no UPA now'

© Provided by The Times of India MUMBAI: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee targeted the Congress on Wednesday saying “what is UPA, there is no UPA now” amid signs ... Read more »

Covid claims one life, infects 234 more in Jammu and Kashmir

© Provided by Hindustan Times A healthcare worker carries vaccines to be administered to shepherds in Kashmir’s Tosamaidan. (AP file photo) Jammu and Kashmir reported 234 fresh Covid infections and ... Read more »

Alleged illegal detention: Give notice to youth before arrest: HC to Chandigarh Police

© Provided by Hindustan Times The family alleged that Chandigarh Police picked up Nitin in connection with an armed loot and tortured him. (Getty Images/iStockphoto) The Punjab and Haryana high ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15 Promo: Shamita Shetty faints after ugly spat with Devoleena Bhattacharjee, Karan Kundrra helps

© Provided by Pinkvilla Bigg Boss 15 is coming up with new twists and turns every day. Since the entry of VIPs Rashami Desai, Devoleena Bhattacharjee, Abhijeet Bichukale, Rakhi Sawant, ... Read more »

Ex couple Aamir Khan & Kiran Rao reunite to celebrate son Azad's birthday; See Inside Pics

© Provided by Pinkvilla Aamir Khan’s youngest son Azad recently turned a year older. On the special occasion, the Laal Singh Chaddha star reunited with his ex-wife Kiran Rao. On ... Read more »

Chandigarh admn approves draft construction and demolition waste policy

© Provided by Hindustan Times Under the Chandigarh Construction and Demolition Waste Management Policy, dumping of malba at public or non-designated places will invite a heavy penalty. (HT File Photo) ... Read more »

More than 14K Manitoba kids age 5-11 have first COVID-19 vaccine, another 14K booked

© Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press There are approximately 125,000 children age five to 11 in Manitoba. The 14,101 that have received first doses represent 11.3 per cent of that ... Read more »

Chandigarh: Ward 25 has a stinking neighbourhood

© Provided by Hindustan Times The residents also complain of irregular garbage collection, especially from second and third floors, and poor sanitation in general in Ward 25 of Chandigarh MC. ... Read more »

Watford vs Chelsea temporarily suspended due to medical emergency after fan suffers cardiac arrest

© PA Watford v Chelsea fan dec 21 Chelsea’s game with Watford was paused after a supporter suffered a cardiac arrest in the crowd. Play was stopped after around 13 ... Read more »

Nova Scotia restricts out-of-province sports-related travel for kids 11 and younger

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s government on Wednesday said children aged 11 and younger could no longer travel out of province for events related to sports and culture, citing rising COVID-19 ... Read more »

Enquiry made: Spurs in pre-January approach to sign £43.2m-valued star who Poch wanted in 2016

As per Calciomercato, an update has emerged on Tottenham Hotspur’s on-and-off again links to Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Lorenzo Insigne in action vs England The ... Read more »

Imagine him & Wilson: PIF could land dream NUFC deal for £30m gem who "has everything" - opinion

© Provided by Football FanCast barbosa-flamengo-newcastle-howe-pif An update has emerged on Flamengo gem Gabriel Barbosa, regarding Newcastle United’s interest in his services. What’s the talk? According to 90min, the Magpies ... Read more »

Omicron arrives in US: CDC finds first case in California

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Wednesday. The case was identified by ... Read more »

Marcos Alonso alerted medical staff to emergency in the stands - fan is now stable

Watford vs Chelsea was halted after 14 minutes due to a medical emergency in the stands. © GiveMeSport Marcos Alonso Watford player Adam Masina had gone down injured at Vicarage ... Read more »

RFK Bridge suspect allegedly told driver to ‘ram the cars!'

The teen passenger in a stolen car that fled cops on the RFK Bridge this week directed the driver to “Ram the cars!” — leading to a state trooper getting ... Read more »

Arrest made nearly a year after remains found near Van Duzer corridor rest area

Two individuals have been arrested nearly a year after remains were found near a Lincoln County rest area. Shawna Browning and Lauren Harrison were arrested in Detroit, Michigan, and charged ... Read more »

UK police investigating antisemitic hate crime in London

LONDON (AP) — British police said Wednesday they are investigating a video which appeared to show a group of men spitting at a bus full of Jewish people celebrating Hanukkah ... Read more »

Japan escalates Omicron emergency as airlines halt reservations, 2nd case found

Japan reacts to the new coronavirus Omicron variant By Sakura Murakami and Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's flag airlines halted new reservations on Wednesday and the government widened a travel ... Read more »

Accused teen gunman charged with murder as an adult in Michigan high school shooting

Accused Michigan high school shooter Ethan Crumbley was hit Wednesday with adult first-degree murder, terrorism and assault charges, prosecutors said. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a press conference ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin cries as he says he 'didn't pull the trigger' of gun that shot cinematographer

Alec Baldwin broke down in tears as he said he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the gun that fatally shot a cinematographer on set of his movie Rust. Halyna Hutchins, ... Read more »

If you're taking on student debt to get rich in a professional program, you'll owe more than you earn for years after graduation

© Provided by Business Insider Medical school student. Getty Images The WSJ found 76% of professional programs leave grads with more debt than earnings after 2 years on the job. ... Read more »

‘Something will happen, I presume' — Trump appears to predict Chinese action against Taiwan after Olympics

© GB News Former president Donald Trump appears during an interview with GB News’ Nigel Farage – GB News Former president Donald Trump appears to be predicting that China will ... Read more »

Accuser who testified Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her for years says she was on a flight with Prince Andrew and met Trump

© REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg Defense lawyer Laura Menninger questions witness “Jane” during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New ... Read more »

ITV Coronation Street: Curtis' dad is played by a famous serial soap star

There’s a shock in store for Corrie’s Curtis Delamere tonight as his dad Neville shows up on the street. Curtis (played by Sam Retford) has been lying to fiancé Emma ... Read more »

Oxford school shooting: Gunman identified and charged with terrorism and murder

© AP A well wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan – AP Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has announced ... Read more »

AWS wants to make it easier to get to grips with machine learning

Getting to grips with Machine Learning (ML) technology could soon be much easier thanks to a new service from Amazon Web Services. The company has launched Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab, ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic