Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stone Evolution - A Stoney Volition?


I find more and more these winter days I am caught ('captivated'?) between the concept of 'a rock wall and a hard drive'. Reading a bit more about my mac computer, and the interconnection it has with a certain stone material has made me want to get my hands on even more information.

I have discovered that a 'mineral', (the stuff that makes up rock) which is a homogeneous, naturally occurring, inorganic solid crystalline substance with a specific chemical composition, may not be as 'inorganic' as first presumed. A quartz crystal, for instance in a grain of sand, is a mineral, and is crystalline because it has atoms in a regular microscopic arrangement. While life is organized in DNA molecules, various minerals grow by following a crystallized molecular organization.

Silica (SiO2) otherwise known as silicon dioxide, a very special, hard, glassy mineral found in such materials as rock, sand and opal is surprisingly not that uncommon, but in a refined form it is used worldwide in the manufacture of transistors, solar cells, rectifiers, silicones and in micro chips. It is not a stretch to say that this particular mineral transmuted itself into a 'livelier' form of existence associated with the complex digital activity of high-tech computers.

Now there is evidence that certain minerals have 'developed' in other ways too.

New research shows that minerals on Earth have evolved alongside living organisms – and the diversity of minerals on our planet can also be linked to the processes of life. Evolution isn't just for living organisms.

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution say that the mineral kingdom co-evolved with life, and that up to two thirds of the more than 4,000 known types of minerals on Earth can be directly or indirectly linked to biological activity. Robert Hazen and his colleagues found "both the variety and relative abundances of minerals have changed dramatically over the more than 4.5 billion years of the Earth's history." Unique to Earth, volcanic activity, interaction with water and plate tectonics helped create new kinds of physical and chemical environments where new minerals formed over many years, thereby boosting mineral diversity to more than a thousand types.( other less evolved planets in our solar system have far fewer mineral species)


I envision a scenario where a very long time ago, strange primitive rock types began crawling their way out of the same 'primeval soup' that living proteins did, oozing up from the very same amino acids where the earliest forms of life are suspected to have appeared. Was this of their own free will? I suspect so, but unlike us, I think the stones may have some sort of plan.


2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed this post. Strangely, I thik about things like this sometimes.

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  2. When you have time, you might enjoy some posts on my old blog (5 years ago), Walls and Cairns I got into a discussion about some traditional cultures' views of rocks. Just skip the top post. The relevant ones are further down.

    A quote: "When a medicine man says that he talks with the sacred stones, it is because, of all the substance in the ground, these are the ones which most often appear in dreams and are able to communicate with men."

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