Learn how life on early Earth triggered the formation of vast deposits of iron, in this video from NOVA: Life’s Rocky Start. See expanses of red, iron-rich rocks in Australia created by early life. When early microbes began photosynthesizing, they released huge amounts of oxygen, which reacted with dissolved iron in the ocean. The resultant iron oxides, or rust, collected and formed huge deposits of iron ore at the bottom of the ocean. In addition to forming iron deposits, oxygen released by early life played a role in the formation of many other minerals found on Earth today.
This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.
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