When Molecules Matter: Phosphorus and Its Sources on the Early Earth

Presenter: Matthew Pasek, University of South Florida
When: April 9, 2019 3PM PDT

Early earth scientists usually view phosphorus as being synonymous with phosphate, with the two terms often being interchangeable. Instead, the ion phosphite may have been more important on the early earth, especially with respect to being a phosphorus source for developing life. Recently, several sources of phosphite have been identified, including lightning, meteoritic corrosion, diagenesis of iron-bearing sediments, and serpentinites. As the phosphite ion is notably more soluble than phosphate, it may have controlled early P availability on the earth. A geochemical justification for phosphite is reviewed in this talk.

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