- © 2010 by the Mineralogical Society of America
The oldest vestiges of crust and marine environments occur only in a few remote areas on Earth today. These rocks are Hadean-Eoarchean in age (∼4.5 to 3.6 billion years old) and represent the only available archive of the mineral environments in which life originated. A mineral inventory of the oldest rocks would thus help to constrain the likeliest minerals involved in the origin of life. Such a survey is important from the perspective of mineral evolution, as the emergence of life and subsequent global changes caused by organisms were responsible for more than half the 4400 known minerals on the modern Earth.