Soda Lakes: A starter to early life on our planet

Scientists have always wondered how life would have started on planet Earth? What was its inducer? What were the external or foreign agents needed? Phosphorus is one such chemical element that made them wonder how it came to be on earth in a large amount that played a pivotal role in boosting life. Fifty years the scientist called it the phosphorus problem. Co-researcher Jonathan Toner, a research assistant professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington, has carried out researches and brought out results.

Results Found

There have many spots on the earth’s varied places where lakes and small water bodies have dried and almost on the verge of drying up. These bodies are called Soda lakes. These spots are filled with water when the nearby water streams flow down from high regions to lower regions. These regions are mostly found at points where there is more amount of carbon dioxide. And we know during the initial days of the earth it was covered with volcanic mounts so volcanic rocks were in large amounts and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacted with these rocks and released phosphorus, this all happens in the medium of water where carbon dioxide is disolved in water.

Importance and Properties Of Phosphorus

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It is vital for food production since it is one of three nutrients – nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. It also cannot be produced nor destroyed. Phosphorus is an essential structural element in DNA and RNA. Both of these genetic molecules have a sugar-phosphate backbone. It is used globally as a fertilizer and plays a vital role in meeting the world’s food requirements. Phosphorus only exists bound to oxygen, which is called phosphate; this is common in nature. Phosphate readily diffuses through soil or water and can be taken up by cells, and as phosphate meets free calcium or iron, they combine to give highly insoluble salts.

“Phosphorus is the least abundant element cosmically relative to its presence in biology,” said Matthew Pasek of the University of South Florida. Phosphorus measurements in soda lakes all around the world, including in California’s Mono and Searles lakes, Kenya’s Lake Magadi, and India’s Lonar Lake, is 50,000 times more than in the sea normally. During the actual season, it is 1 billion times in quantity. Scientists can’t perform experiments in the water body itself as it holds abundant number of flora and fauna. They have planned to conduct the experiment in carbonated water bottles.

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