Summary of main achievements (August 2014-January 2017)

Our project is based on the interaction of two main research lines:

1) The fundamental understanding of the phenomenon of mineral self-assembly and,

2) Its relevance to reveal the transition from non-life to life during the Early Earth.

We have made the following progress in both fields:

  • Successful field trips to Aqua de Ney alkaline waters (California), Oman ophiolites and their alkaline springs, Dallol hydrothermal system in Ethiopia, and alkaline lakes in the Southern Rift Valley in Kenya.
  • Demonstration of the chemical coupling responsible for the self-organization of silica biomorphs. Published in Nature Communication.
  • Demonstration of the geochemical plausibility of mineral self-organization. Published in Science Advances, 2017.
  • Demonstration of the ability of silica self-assembled mineral membranes to catalyze prebiotic reactions and to do it selectively. Published in Biochemistry.
  • Generation of a complete morphogram of silica biomorphs as a function of pH and supersaturation. Submitted to Geobios
  • Structural characterization and precipitation kinetics of chemical gardens. Published in two papers, one in PCCP and another in ChemPhysChem.
  • Demonstration that the crystal structure of carbonate is not key for biomorphic self-assembly. Paper submitted to Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  • First studies of Archean rocks revealing the mineral phase of 3.8 crystal casts. Submitted to Journal of Applied Crystallography.
  • Obtaining a new project derived from ERC-PROMETHEUS selected to be funded by the National Government.
  • Open a research line within PROMETHEUS project oriented to the impact of crystals and crystallography in the history of art and humanities.
  • Starting the design of a show on PROMETHEUS project to be played by the students of the project as an outreach activity.

More details about the project and its achievements can be found within this website.

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