LIFE CONFINED IN A RUBY
Life is a spark of being on this planet amidst death. Life is not mere existence or a necessity, but rather a story, a plan; one that is not only defined by its beginning, but also by its journey towards the end.
One of the greatest mysteries of the universe is the genesis of life. Scientists are examining this through a variety of methods in order to establish the beginning of life. While astronomy has given us the notion of infinite space, it has also done much to undermine what is known as the anthropomorphic view of creation. Geology, on the other hand, has given us an almost infinite sense of time while also helping to restore the value of man as the highest product so far, in the long history of the earth. When it comes to the age of life, we question how ancient our planet Earth is. It can be estimated that the earliest life forms existed on our planet approximately 4.5 billion years ago. The earliest life on Earth was rather simple, unlike humans, plants and various animals that we see today. The spark of potential new life, even from an earlier generation, creates elation and havoc, especially when unearthed during the reigns of COVID-19.
A Group of scientists exploring the geology of the precious stones in Greenland, a nation noted for having the world's oldest reserves of rubies, came across a ruby formed in the earth’s crust 2.5 billion years ago. This exquisite stone was estimated to harbour graphite, a mineral that is entirely composed of carbon. This carbon, according to analysis, is a relic of early life set in the stone.
All You Need To Know About Ruby Formation And It's Value
The term ruby comes from the Latin word ‘ruber,’ which means "red." Rubies are a kind of corundum, which is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide. It is formed in Earth's tectonic boundaries, under extreme heat and pressure where tectonic subduction and collision produce the appropriate conditions. The presence of the uncommon element, chromium, gives the stones their deep hue — the more the chromium, the redder the ruby. Now, these gemstones, like other minerals, differ in purity and clarity. Toxins may appear on these invaluable stones as flaws, as a result of the formation processes. Although this makes these stones inappropriate for jewelry, it is ideal for science.
Rubies also find root in religious culture and are listed four times in the Bible, titled the most precious of the 12 stones created by God. They were also considered the most valuable jewel by Hindus, who named them 'Ratnaraj,' which means 'king of the precious gems,' and later 'ratnanayaka,' meaning 'leader of all precious stones.' Which made sense when these stones were said to have many healing benefits as well. In his profoundly influential book The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, the famous gem explorer, George Frederick Kunz wrote, "Rubies were thought to be sovereign remedies for haemorrhages of all kinds, as well as for all inflammatory diseases; they were also believed to exercise a calming influence and to remove anger and discord." In fact, it does not seem bizarre at all that the aim of healing has become a haven for life.
Here's What No One Tells You About Discovery Of Life In The Ruby
Chris Yakymchuk, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo, oversaw the research team which found this ruby. They set out to explore the geology of rubies in order to gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the formation of rubies. The geologist stated in the interview that the graphite inside the ruby was really unique. It was also the first time that evidence of ancient life was uncovered in ruby-bearing rocks. The presence of graphite also provided them with further clues as to how rubies were generated at that location, which was impossible to accomplish directly just on the appearance and chemical composition of the ruby.
Graphite, like diamond, is an allotrope of carbon. It can form abiotically, through chemical and mineral processes and acts as a significant biomarker. Some graphite in the 3.7-billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks of the Isua Supracrustal Belt, Western Greenland, was deficient in Carbon-13 and was regarded as evidence for early life. However, it remained unclear if this graphite was primary or precipitated from metamorphic or igneous fluids. The geochemistry and structure of 13C-depleted graphite in the Isua schists were studied.
Furthermore, the graphite grains in the schist had deformed crystal structures and chaotic stacking of the graphene sheets. The observed morphologies were compatible with pyrolysis and pressurisation of structurally diverse organic substances during metamorphism, a process of rock formation. It was so established that the graphite found in the Isua metasediments constituted remnants of early life that flourished in the waters at least 3.7 billion years ago.
Let’s go back to the graphite found in the ruby. The team was able to discover carbon-12, the lightest natural isotope of stable carbon on earth, in abundances suggestive of an organic origin, just as the graphite of the Isua belt. As the researchers knew the age of the gem, they were able to narrow down what the biological origin may have been, as life on earth 2.5 billion years ago was incredibly restricted. Furthermore, the scientist concluded that the increased amount of carbon-12 in the graphite was the remains of an old bacterium, most likely dead organisms such as cyanobacteria.
During the study, Chris Yakymchuk and his team not only found this graphite to be associated with ancient life in the stone but discovered it to be likely the reason for its own existence throughout the centuries. The existence of graphite suggested the presence of fluid, which would aid in the removal of silicon dioxide from the rock, thereby preparing the environment for the development of the corundum in the first place. That is to say, the graphite altered the chemistry of the surrounding rocks, allowing ruby growth to occur. According to the team’s models published in the journal Ore Geology Reviews, without the graphite, it wouldn’t have been possible for rubies to form in the part of Greenland where they were studied.
Life as we know it, from the beginning to the present has proven to be nothing short of unpredictable. The fact that life was found in a ruby is an ironically symmetrical parallel to the lives that are presently ending due to a virus. This is ominous enough to believe that nothing is impossible when it comes to Earth’s plan. Although, it's not a way to view our future or imagine our holy existence, it all boils down to the truth that change is the epitome of the living- be it life in a pandemic which appears to be nearing an end, thanks to our incredible doctors, or the discovery of life limited to a ruby.