NewsLightning strikes and volcanic eruptions: Sorbonne University's intriguing new theory on life's inception on Earth

Lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions: Sorbonne University's intriguing new theory on life's inception on Earth

Volcanoes and the lightning they generate could have been the cause of the emergence of life on Earth - claim scientists from the Sorbonne.
Volcanoes and the lightning they generate could have been the cause of the emergence of life on Earth - claim scientists from the Sorbonne.
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8:38 AM EST, February 9, 2024

The key events postulated to have catalyzed the emergence of human life transpired millions of years ago, likely in areas in present-day Turkey, Peru, and Italy. French scientists from Sorbonne speculate that atmospheric discharges and volcanic phenomena might have instigated the production of vast amounts of nitrogen. This production, in turn, could have contributed to the genesis of life on Earth, the only planet known to host life so far.

Nitrogen, a fundamental element on our planet, reacts with oxygen to form nitrogen oxide when lightning strikes during a storm.

The researchers propose that releasing this compound into the ground could have formed fertile soil, thus creating an optimal environment for the evolution of the first microorganisms.

Nevertheless, there remains no geological evidence supporting this theory to date. Notwithstanding, scientists have identified substantial amounts of nitrates in volcanic deposits attributed to colossal eruptions. Additionally, it is recognized that this element and its compounds substantially affect living organisms.

Implications of Sorbonne scientists' landmark discovery: "Life may have been created this way"

The presence of nitrates in the soil could have potentially driven the inception and evolution of life. Slimane Bekki, the lead author of the study and an atmospheric science specialist at Sorbonne, posits that volcanic lightning was the main catalyst behind the origination of human life.

Bekki and a team of scientists carried out field studies in southern Peru, central Turkey, and along the Naples coastline in Italy - regions renowned for their ancient volcanic activity. Here, they discovered abundant nitrates in the soil derived from the atmosphere. Moving forward, the scientists will continue their quest to discover the missing link in this theory. The answer to the quintessential question - how life was created - might surface with time.

This is not an isolated hypothesis. Previously, Japanese scientists proposed that the spark that kindled the emergence of the rudimentary organisms on our planet was an extraterrestrial object, such as a meteoroid, asteroid, or comet. The compounds within this cosmic entity might have catalyzed the formation of the first DNA structures.

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