Special Issue "Conditions on the Early Earth >3.5Gy: Limitations for the Sources/Stability of Prebiotic Compounds and the Prebiotic/Biotic Transition"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019
Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Bada
Our understanding of the possible environments on early Earth (and elsewhere) that might have been associated with prebiotic chemistry and the transition to primitive biotic chemistry are ambiguous. The use of the term “plausible geochemical conditions” is often used in papers dealing with various aspects of prebiotic chemistry and its increase in complexity to primitive biotic chemistry. However, the meaning of the term is poorly constrained and can mean different things to various researchers. One example is “the warm little pond” concept. For “warm little ponds” to have existed on the early Earth exposed land areas above sea level would have needed to be present. Moreover, they would have needed to be stable enough for simple prebiotic compounds derived from whatever sources to accumulate, interact and produce more complex molecules. If exposed areas above sea level were scarce, short-lived or even nonexistent, were "warm little pond(s)" indeed a plausible environment on the early Earth?
Another central issue is what were the chemical components of any water bodies on the early Earth. Minerals on the early Earth would have been in the reduced form and, as a result any soluble products of mineral weathering, would have also been reduced. As noted by Saito et al. [Inorganica Chim. Acta, 356, 308-318 (2003)], “in an ancient ocean dominated by high fluxes and concentrations of iron, the relative availability of trace metals would have been similar to that of a sulfidic system, Fe>Mn, Ni, Co>>Cd, Zn, Cu as a result of the formation of dissolved sulfide complexes. “How the presence or absence of these dissolved components affected prebiotic syntheses and prebiotic compound stability needs to be addressed.
For this Special Issue, submissions should focus on the following topics concerned with the Earth >3.5 Ga:
- Exposed land areas above sea level and their stability
- Seawater composition
- Fresh water occurrence, amounts and composition
- Inventory of Minerals
- Could non-aqueous solvents have existed under natural geologic conditions?
- Environments favorable for prebiotic synthesis and survival
- Extraterrestrial supply of prebiotic compounds
- Geochemically compatible scenarios for the prebiotic to biotic transition.
Note: Prebiotic synthesis manuscripts by themselves will not be considered unless they are associated with a realistic, justifiable geochemically compatible scenario.
Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Bada
Manuscript Submission Information
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