Shallow lake in Canada that may point to the 'origin of life on earth' (photos)

2024-02-17 17:52:43 / MISTERE&KURIOZITETE ALFA PRESS

Shallow lake in Canada that may point to the 'origin of life on earth'

In this volcanic panorama without flora or fauna in the Canadian province of British Columbia, several shallow bodies of water with the right mix of chemical and physical conditions are seen, enough to convince experts that it could serve as a model of 'the origin of life on our planet.'

The shallow saline lakes in the volcanic soil — known as 'Last Chance Lake' — resemble ancient carbon-rich lakes that were the cradle of life, says co-author David Catling, a professor of geosciences at the University of Washington.

"We could be looking for certain conditions that function as the building blocks of life in nature. We think this is a promising place for the origin of life," said Catling.

Their attention was focused here after a paper in the 1990s revealed large amounts of phosphates.

And when they came to check they found that the shallow Last Chance Lake at an elevation of about 1,000 meters has the highest phosphate levels of any body of water on earth.

Last Chance Lake's water was also filled not only with phosphates but also with the mineral dolomite, which helps accumulate phosphorus in the environment and create the conditions that researchers believe led to the birth of life on Earth, Haas says.

"We're working with the idea that this type of environment was favorable for life on land," he said, adding that Last Chance Lake is not 4 billion years old but only 10,000. The site is therefore a natural analogue environment that provides scientists with an understanding of what the primitive earth looked like.

"We have reason to believe that such lakes emerged on earth 4 billion years ago as Last Chance Lake rests on layers that create soda water, which is a prerequisite for high phosphate levels."

Soda itself is formed by the interaction of water with volcanic rock. It is found everywhere in the world but is very rare in salty waters, such as the lakes in question.

Such bodies of water have been the focus of scientists before as a possible origin of life, as in the 1800s, Charles Darwin theorized the "warm little pool" of phosphate lakes where the first molecules may have formed. of life.

But if life really arose in soda lakes or at the bottom of the oceans, such knowledge remains only theoretical./CNN/

Shallow lake in Canada that may point to the 'origin of life on earth'

Soda itself is formed by the interaction of water with volcanic rock. It is found everywhere in the world but is very rare in salty waters, such as the lakes in question.

Shallow lake in Canada that may point to the 'origin of life on earth'

"We could be looking for certain conditions that function as the building blocks of life in nature. We think this is a promising place for the origin of life," said Catling.