Life Helps Make Almost Half of All Minerals on Earth

“Each one of those kinds of pyrite is telling us something different about our planet, its origin, about life, and how it’s changed through time,” said Hazen.

For that reason, the new papers classify minerals by “kind,” a term that Hazen and Morrison define as a combination of the mineral species with its mechanism of origin (think volcanic pyrite versus microbial pyrite). Using machine learning analysis, they scoured data from thousands of scientific papers and identified 10,556 distinct mineral kinds.

Morrison and Hazen also identified 57 processes that individually or in combination created all known minerals. These processes included various types of weathering, chemical precipitations, metamorphic transformation inside the mantle, lightning

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