A team of scientists at the Canadian University of Waterloo has discovered remnants of graphite in a 2.5 billion-year-old sapphire. The gem specimen that contained these remains was found in the city of Manitowoc in Greenland.
NS study, which is now published in the scientific journal Ore Geology Reviews, confirms that there is life out there, more specifically organisms such as cyanobacteria. To reach this conclusion, the group analyzed the isotopic composition of carbon atoms, which typically have 98% of an atomic mass of 12 units (carbon-12). according to Chris Yakymchuk, one of the authors, “preferably consists of lighter carbon atoms in living matter because it takes less energy to integrate itself into cells.”
The authors say that graphite is only found in rocks of similar or older ages, indicating a period when there was little oxygen and only microorganisms on the planet. In this case, sapphire is found only in this rock due to graphite, which changed the chemistry of the rocks at that site, creating favorable conditions for the appearance of the precious stone.
“The graphite inside this sapphire is really unique. It is the first time we have seen evidence of ancient life in rocks with sapphire,” says the expert author. “The presence of graphite also gives us more clues to determine how sapphire formed at this site, which is impossible to do directly based on the color and chemical composition of the sapphire.”
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