THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY, WE’VE PLACED OURSELVES AT THE CENTER OF “EVERYTHING”…
And; we have typically been incorrect in that placement.
TO THINK OF THIS BIOLOGICAL UNIVERSE AS ONE OF MANY “BIG BANGS” IS MOST LIKELY CLOSER TO REALITY.
Deduction following the scientific method is no more perfect than any other world-view, but we do have some basic techniques that are understandably clear and reliable when making predictions. Most of this truth is a result of people making an observation, guessing why, and only keeping the guesses which are never wrong; deductions from observable fact.
Mineral evolution is a theory that minerals on planets and moons become increasingly complex as a result of changes in the physical, chemical and biological environment.
Mineral Evolution is built on the next technique… best understood as “what’s on the bottom is the oldest”.
Law of Superposition:
Superposition, or the layer theory, assumes that the old stuff is on the bottom.
Law of superposition in studying what’s in this Earth states that the layers under the ground was left there in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top. This fits into many other categories of study as well.
For example: In our Solar System, the number of mineral species has grown from about a dozen to over 5300 as a result of three (3) processes:
Separation and concentration of elements
Greater ranges of temperature and pressure coupled with the action of volatiles
New chemical pathways provided by living organisms
On Earth, there were three (3) time periods of mineral evolution.
The birth of the Sun and formation of asteroids and planets increased the number of minerals to about 250 different types.
Repeated reworking of the crust and mantle through processes such as partial melting and plate tectonics increased the total to about 1500 types of minerals.
The remaining minerals, more than 2/3 of the total, were the result of chemical changes mediated by living organisms, with the largest increase occurring after the Great Oxygenation Event.
Separation and Concentration process
After the formation of the Solar system, mineral evolution was driven by three primary mechanisms: the separation and concentration of elements; greater ranges of temperature and pressure combined with chemical action of volatiles; and new reaction pathways driven by living organisms.
Cutaway views of some planets, showing the layers.
The highest level in the classification of minerals is based on chemical composition. However, the defining elements for many mineral groups were at first only present in concentrations of parts per million (or less). This left little or no chance for them to come together and form minerals until external influences concentrated them. Processes that separate and concentrate elements include planetary differentiation
Elements which combine in minerals are determined by thermodynamics.
For an element to be added to a crystal (at a given location), it must reduce the energy. Many elements are interchangeable in minerals at higher temperatures (such as olivine).
As a planet cools, minerals became exposed to a greater range of intensive variables such as temperature and pressure, allowing the formation of new phases and more specialized combinations of elements such as clay.
Life has made dramatic changes in the environment. Most dramatic was the Great Oxygenation Event, about 2.4 billion years ago, in which photosynthetic organisms flooded the atmosphere with oxygen. Living organisms also catalyze reactions, creating minerals such as aragonite that are not in equilibrium with their surroundings.
Before the formation of the Solar System, there were about 12 minerals. The estimate for the current number of minerals has been changing rapidly.
In 2008, it was 4300, but as of April 2018 there were 5312 officially recognized mineral species.
The evolutionary history of life on Earth
The evolutionary history of life on Earth traces the processes by which living and fossilorganisms evolved, from the earliest emergence of life to the present.
Earth formed about 4.5 billion years (Ga) ago and evidence suggests life emerged prior to 3.7 Ga. (Although there is some evidence of life as early as 4.1 to 4.28 Ga, it remains controversial due to the possible non-biological fomation of the purported fossils.) The similarities among all known present-day species indicate that they have diverged through the process of evolution from a common ancestor. It is estimated that more than 99 percent of the roughly five billion species that ever lived on Earth are now extinct,
Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10-14 million, of which about 1.9 million have been named and 1.6 million documented in a central database. More recently, in May 2016, scientists estimated that 1 trillion species currently live on Earth, with only one-thousandth of a percent described.
Microbial mats of coexisting bacteria and archaea were the dominant form of life in the early Archean Epoch and many of the major steps in early evolution are thought to have taken place in this environment. The evolution of photosynthesis, around 3.5 Ga, eventually led to a buildup of its waste product, oxygen, in the atmosphere, leading to the great oxygenation event, beginning around 2.4 Ga. The earliest evidence of eukaryotes (complex cells with organelles) dates from 1.85 Ga, and while they may have been present earlier, their diversification accelerated when they started using oxygen in their metabolism.
However the origin and evolution of sexual reproduction remain a puzzle for biologists though it did evolve from a common ancestor that was a single celled eukaryotic species.Bilateria, animals with a front and a back, appeared by 555 Ma (million years ago).
The earliest complex land plants date back to around 850 Ma, from carbon isotopes in Precambrian rocks, while algae-like multicellular land plants are dated back even to about 1 billion years ago, although evidence suggests that microorganisms formed the earliest terrestrial ecosystems, at least 2.7 Ga. Microorganisms are thought to have paved the way for the inception of land plants in the Ordovician. Land plants were so successful that they are thought to have contributed to the Late Devonian extinction event. (The long causal chain implied seems to involve the success of early tree archaeopteris (1) drew down CO2 levels, leading to global cooling and lowered sea levels, (2) roots of archeopteris fostered soil development which increased rock weathering, and the subsequent nutrient run-off may have triggered algal blooms resulting in anoxic events which caused marine-life die-offs. Marine species were the primary victims of the Late Devonian extinction.)
In relativistic physics (which deals with velocities close to the speed of light), it is found that different observers may observe different values for the length, time rates, mass, and many other properties of an object – depending on the observer’s velocity relative to the object.
The most common example is “the twin paradox” in which one twin goes on a trip near the speed of light and comes home younger than the twin who stayed at home. This is not a paradox, because time passes at a slower rate when measured from a frame of reference moving with respect to the object.
In isolation, quantum objects are represented by a wave function which often exists in a superposition or mixture of different states. However, when an observation is made to determine the actual location or state of the object, it always finds the object in a single state, not a “mixture”.
The interaction of the observation process appears to “collapse” the wave function into a single state (like pausing a movie creates a picture)… but in the mechanics of quantum matter our viewing it works as the pause button. Ya; crazy cool, and a little hard to grasp why… but that’s a part of studying our world.
So any interaction between an isolated wave function and the external world results in this wave function to collapse. We call this pause button an observation or measurement, whether (or not) it is part of a deliberate observation process.