Contact: Robert Hazen
Caption: The magnesium silicate forsterite was one of the most abundant minerals in the Hadean Eon, and it played a major role in Earth's near-surface processes. The green color of this mineral (which is also known as the semi-precious gemstone peridot, the birthstone of August) is caused by small amounts iron. The iron can react with seawater to promote chemical reactions that may have played a role in life's origins.
Credit: Robert Downs, University of Arizona, Ruff Project
Usage Restrictions: With credit
Related news release: Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life?