Forces behind earthquakes revealed: Research


It is very difficult to comprehend as to why certain areas are considered to be more earthquake-prone than the others. A team of professionals from the Stony Brook University has developed a numerical model that correlates the occurrence of earthquakes and the strong forces causing them.

The findings showed that stresses on the Earth’s tectonic plates are the principal driving forces of earthquakes. These stresses could result in earthquakes not only at the boundary regions but even in the internal portions of the plates.

“If you take into account the effects of topography and all density variations within the plates – the earth’s crust varies in thickness depending on where you are – if you take all that into account, together with the mantle convection system, you can do a good job explaining what is going on at the surface,” commented William E. Holt, Ph.D., a professor in the Geosciences Department at Stony Brook University.

According to the investigators, a system of plates floats on the Earth’s watery mantle that serves as a convection mechanism. Considering that the continents rest on them, when these plates collide with each other or sink, the plate boundary zones are also shifted in the process. This is apparently one of the reasons why collisions between continents often lead to drastic and powerful earthquakes.

Predicting the motion of plates accurately has been a hard nut to crack for scientists working on global dynamic models. In this analysis, the scientists accessed Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements to gauge the mobility of the planet’s core inside the moving plate boundary zones. A set of global seismometers incorporated in the model may provide an image of the Earth’s density variations in the interior.

The model could also measure the direction of the Earth’s stress field, which are developed from earthquake faults. As per the revelations, large-scale mantle flow patterns seemed to primarily influence the stresses and motion of the plates.

According to the analysts, the global computer model cannot accurately indicate the timing and region where earthquakes will occur in the short term. Nevertheless, the model could provide more insights on earthquake forecasting over long time frames.

The research is published in the journal, Science.

Glacier cores might reveal centuries old weather conditions in eastern Alps

Paolo Gabrielli We know that with passing time the planet has been witnessing a gradual change in weather conditions, which some debate, are getting warmer. Getting an insight into what conditions each region experienced centuries ago might help in deciphering the present day changes in the climate and the causes of the same. A team of scientists from the Ohio State University along with some European colleagues, have began an analysis of ice cores drilled to bedrock from a glacier in the eastern European Alps.

This research might disclose information about past environmental and climatic changes in this region for the several centuries gone by. The team believes that it may even reveal data about as much as the last 1000 years. They are also hoping to unearth bits and pieces about early human activity in the region like atmospheric byproducts of smelting metals.

“This glacier is already changing from the top down in a very irreversible way. It is changing from a ‘cold’ glacier where the ice is stable to a ‘temperate’ glacier where the ice can degrade. The entire glacier may transition to a temperate state within the next decade or so,” remarked expedition leader Paolo Gabrielli, a research scientist at Ohio State’s Byrd Polar Research Center.

Scientists working on this project have retrieved four cores from a glacier which can be found on Mount Ortles. This is a 3,905-meter or 12,812-foot high peak in the northeastern region of Italy. Three of these were 75 meters long, while one was 60 meters. This analysis might also tell more about the climate in the nearby region during the Medieval Warm Period as well as the Little Ice Age.

Other members involved in this research included scientists from the University of Venice, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the University of Innsbruck, the University of Padova, the University of Pavia and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.

Study blames excess mercury influx for the late Permian extinction

University of Calgary Logo The late Permian extinction, which happened over 250 million years ago, is considered to be one of the most massive annihilation events on earth till date. The occurrence is blamed on certain factors like severe climate changes, extreme volcanic activities, and others. However, a recent study has put forth that excessive mercury influx in the eco-system might be one of the basic causes of the extermination.

Apparently, this is the first study which links mercury to the extinction event which wiped out almost all marine life, and a major section of land dwelling ones. It says that the natural buffering system in the ocean was congested with mercury during that period and this accounts for 95 percent of the living species lost at sea. Hamed Sanei, lead author of this study, points out that algae works towards burying mercury in sediments and reduces the harm done to the ocean. But in this case, the amount was too huge to be managed by algae.

“No one had ever looked to see if mercury was a potential culprit. This was a time of the greatest volcanic activity in Earth’s history and we know today that the largest source of mercury comes from volcanic eruptions,” said Dr. Steve Grasby, research scientist at Natural Resources Canada and an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. “We estimate that the mercury released then could have been up to 30 times greater than today’s volcanic activity, making the event truly catastrophic.”

Another theory about this annihilation suggests that it was a result of carbon dioxide and some more toxins. This is said to have happened when volcanic eruptions burned though coal beds. The team involved in this study also points out that these emissions have to be much more than the man-made production of the chemicals we witness today, considering the damage that has been done.

The findings of this study have been published in the journal, Geology.

Climate change may occur quicker than current estimates predict

University Of Florida Logo

Though scientists and researchers may be at loggerheads over the exact causes affecting the climatic shifts all over the globe, we seem to be heading for immense changes on this front anyway. According to University of Florida ecologist Edward Schuur and a team of experts, climate change may be approaching quicker than we think.

Apparently, models crafted to estimate global warming may actually have underestimated the magnitude of carbon emissions expected to be emitted by permafrost over the following century. The effect of such soil on the climate is now calculated to be 2.5 times higher than anticipated so far.

“We’re talking about carbon that’s in soil, just like in your garden where there’s compost containing carbon slowly breaking down, but in permafrost it’s almost stopped because the soil is frozen,” explained University of Florida ecologist Edward Schuur. “As that soil warms up, that carbon can be broken down by bacteria and fungi, and as they metabolize, they are releasing carbon and methane, greenhouse gases that cause warmer temperatures.”

“We know the models are not yet giving us the right answer — it’s going to take time and development to make those better, and that process is not finished yet,” Schuur added. “It’s an interesting exercise in watching how scientists, who are very cautious in their training, make hypotheses about what our future will look like. The numbers are significant, and they appear like they are plausible and they are large enough for significant concern, because if climate change goes 20 or 30 percent faster that we had predicted already, that’s a pretty big boost.”

The supposed problem with previous reckonings is said to stem from the older estimate of the distribution of organic carbon in the permafrost zone. Going by the new research, experts are of the opinion that the amount of carbon emissions will be 1.7 to 5.2 times greater than preceding models imply, under the condition that Arctic temperatures rise by 13.5° Fahrenheit.

This research predicting the looming climate change has been published in the journal Nature.

Oxygen levels apparently low on the core of Earth


We all know that Earth is more of a water body than anything else, however scientists have been clueless of its core constituents since long. As an important finding on this front, experts from the Carnegie Institution for Science have disclosed that Earth’s core is apparently deficient in oxygen.

This revelation is important in understanding how the Earth was first formulated by means of accumulated dust and chunks of matter. Also, the core primarily consists of iron, but other light elements such as sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, oxygen, silicon and carbon are also prevalent in small amounts.

“We can’t sample the core directly, so we have to learn about it through improved laboratory experiments combined with modeling and seismic data,” quoted Fei, from Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory.

According to the team, as the depth in the interior of the planet elevated, the pressure and heat levels also spiked. This resulted in substances acting differently than they usually do at the surface region. The center of the globe is a liquid core enveloping a solid inner core. These light elements played a vital role in the movement of the fluid in the liquid outer core, that supposedly produced the Earth’s magnetic field.

The team undertook shock-wave experiments on substances existing at the core such as iron, sulfur and oxygen. These materials were given a shock to transform them into a liquid after which the scientists made important calculations. They gauged the density and speed of sound transiting through the liquid conditioned to mimic the status of the liquid outer core.

The researchers then pitted the observations with their data and affirmed that oxygen is apparently not a principal light element constituent of the Earth’s outer core. This was essentially because the trials with oxygen-rich substances did not appear to be in sync with geological observations.

This analysis highlighted an important avenue to comprehend the vitality of light elements in the outer core. It is published in the journal, Nature.

Ghost mountains in Antarctica explored

Rifting Process

Comprehending the origin of the Gamburtsevs mountains has been the principal objective of the International Polar Year Expedition. As a major step towards exploring these ghostly mountains, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have unraveled extreme processes that led to the development of the Gamburtsevs mountains, a million years ago .

The team investigated the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains that lied beneath 3km of ice during the International Polar Year from 2007 to 2009 by accessing two twin-engines loaded with ice-invading radars, gravity meters and magnetometers. The researchers discovered drastic processes that occurred a billion years ago which synthesized and conserved a root beneath the mountains and the East Antarctic rift system.

A multitude of years back, even before plants and animals lived on Earth, many continents apparently crashed into one another and trampled the primitive rocks of the mountain range entirely. This incident seemingly led to the formation of a thick crustal root running deep beneath the mountain range. As time passed by, these primal mountains were no more but the cold dense root stayed back.

Co-author, Dr Carol Finn from US Geological Survey opined, “Resolving the contradiction of the Gamburtsev high elevation and youthful Alpine topography but location on the East Antarctic craton by piecing together the billion year history of the region was exciting and challenging. We are accustomed to thinking that mountain building relates to a single tectonic event, rather than sequences of events. The lesson we learned about multiple events forming the Gamburtsevs may inform studies of the history of other mountain belts.”

Nearly 250-100 million years ago, in the era of dinosaurs, rifting appeared to cause the supercontinent Gondawa which included Antarctica, to disintegrate leading the old crustal root to warm. This reformed crustal root, along with the East Antarctic Rift paved the path to further reformation of these mountains.

Moreover, rivers and glaciers designed deep valleys and elevated the peaks which created the exquisite landscape of the Gamburtsevs. They are often reminiscent of the European Alps. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet which was formed almost 34 million years ago and occupies nearly 10 million square km of Earth supposedly safeguarded the mountains from erosion.

The analysis is published in the journal, Nature.

Ocean temperatures possibly forecast wildfires


Rainforests are one of the prized possessions of the ecosystem, but wildfires seem to be a constant menace to them. Unraveling a solution for this, scientists from the University of California Irvine and NASA have put forth that minute temperature alterations observed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans could be an efficient way of predicting the occurrence of wildfires in South American rainforests.

Wildfires have spread all through Brazil’s tropical rainforests, which was once a rare incidence. Now, owing to clear cutting and agricultural burns, this situation has become adverse. These measures will apparently help the fire health officials issue burn permits and also aid in attempts to stem climate change.

“This work has very clear implications for conserving tropical forests. During the 21st century, there are expectations that drought may intensify, and forests may become even more vulnerable. Understanding in advance whether you’re going to have an exceptionally bad year will become critically important for managing them,” commented co-author James Randerson, UCI Earth system science professor.


The team conducted an extensive analysis across central South America to gauge the variation in water temperatures, duration and intensity of wildfires. They found that even a quarter degree elevation in the Atlantic temperature and 1 degree in the Pacific, seemingly correlated to disastrous blazes all around the Amazon in the following year.

These changes though very subtle, can supposedly have a major impact on tropical forest ecosystems. Fluctuating ocean temperatures influence atmospheric winds and clouds that possibly decrease rainfall in the continent.

In order to test the theory, the scientists forecasted South America’s 2010 fire episodes by utilizing water temperature readings. They later checked the real data and surprisingly found the results to be highly accurate. Last year witnessed drastic temperature increases in both the oceans and drier conditions on land after a few months.

The team is now working towards foreseeing the 2012 fire season and plans to reveal the findings soon. They also intend to use this prediction technique for forests in Siberia, Indonesia and West Africa.

The report is published in the journal, Science.

NASA and Japan unfold enhanced topographic map of Earth

Mt Whitney

Those wishing to view Earth’s all new look can look forward to this report. NASA and Japan have released an enhanced version of the most complete digital topographic map of Earth.

The map is a result of minute measurements from NASA’a Terra spacecraft. It is named as the global digital elevation model that is designed from images gathered by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, instrument aboard Terra.

The map exhibits stereo-pair images that are created by integrating 2 slightly offset two-dimensional images to produce the three-dimensional influence of depth. The first version of the map was revealed in 2009.

This updated version comprises additional 260,000 stereo pair images to widen the range. It is inclusive of features that improve spatial resolution, increased horizontal and vertical accuracy, practical coverage of water bodies and the capacity to spot small lakes too.

“This updated version of the ASTER global digital elevation model provides civilian users with the highest-resolution global topography data available. These data can be used for a broad range of applications, from planning highways and protecting lands with cultural or environmental significance, to searching for natural resources,” remarked Mike Abrams, ASTER science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The information from ASTER apparently covered 99% of Earth’s land and moves through 83 degrees north latitude to 83 degrees south. Every elevation measurement point in the data is approximately 30 meters apart.

NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are heading towards developing a system to share and incorporate Earth observation data by using varied techniques and devices to keep a check and predict environmental changes globally.

The map is available globally for free viewing.

Low solar ultraviolet activity supposedly causes cold winters

UV Rays The sun seems to be the driving force behind many environmental occurrences on the Earth. A new research by professionals from the Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, has revealed that cold winters engulfing regions over the northern hemisphere such as the UK could be attributed to low UV release from the sun.

Contrarily, if the UV output is high over the years, then the influence is opposite. One of the key findings of the analysis is that the 11-year solar phase is apparently much larger than initially assumed. A reactive satellite equipment revealed this data and by using a climate model, the team recreated the effects of solar variability that was seemingly found in climate records.

When the UV activity is low, abnormal chilled air seems to develop near the tropics in the stratosphere around 50km above. This appears to attain a balance as the air flows towards the east over the mid latitude. This sequence tends to burrow itself down the surface, thus surrounding northern Europe with easterly winds and cold winters.

Adam Scaife, one of the Met Office scientists involved in the research commented, “We’ve been able to reproduce a consistent climate pattern, confirm how it works, and quantify it using a computer model based on the laws of physics. This isn’t the sole driver of winter climate over our region, but it is a significant factor and understanding it is important for seasonal to decadal forecasting.”

On the other hand, when UV production is above normal, the effect seemingly brings warm air and moderate winters to Europe. The analysts believe that though UV levels will not predict everyday weather, they may help in gauging winter conditions upfront.

The research is published in the Nature Geoscience.

Comets may have provided water to fill up Earth’s oceans

Comet 103P/Hartley 2 Ever wondered where the tons of water existing on Earth originally come from? Well, in a bid to answer this question, experts from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research have revealed that comets could have provided water to Earth.

The findings are a result of observations by ESA’s space observatory Herschel in Germany. The team first located the 103P/Hartley 2 as the first comet whose water had approximately the same ratio of deuterium to hydrogen as the water on Earth.

“Current theories came to the result that less than ten percent of Earth’s water originated from comet,” remarked Dr. Paul Hartogh from MPS, who led the new study.

The scientists believe that the cosmic water supplier deuterium is the principal clue whose ratio with hydrogen is nearly 1:6400 on Earth. So far, the analysts found that 6 comets seem to have higher concentrations of deuterium. These comets have apparently originated from portions of huge planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The investigators believe that either the Hartley 2 must have originated in higher proximity to the Sun than initially assumed or it could be a Trojan that came near Jupiter and was not able to combat its gravitational force.

The measurements show that the comet constitutes 1 deuterium atom to every 6200 hydrogen atoms. Since this ratio is very close to the one found in Earth, comets like Hartley 2 can be suspected to have delivered water to Earth.

2011 Arctic ozone loss is record-breaking, says research

Ozone Map The ozone layer absorbs the harmful U.V rays of the sun, this research seems to remind us of its importance. A new study conducted by NASA has shed light on the unparalleled depletion of the ozone layer over the Arctic last winter and spring due to abnormally long phases of very low temperatures in the stratosphere.

The research essentially finds the level of ozone lost in Arctic in the year 2011. When the temperature drops to extremely low temperatures, it spurs certain reactions that transform atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into certain forms that tend to harm ozone. Such processes seem to occur in the Arctic each winter.

As part of the investigation of the 2011 Arctic ozone loss, the team examined an extensive set of measurements. These were inclusive of the daily global observations of gases and clouds that are present in fewer proportions from NASA’s Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft. They analyzed ozone calculated by instrumental balloons, meteorological information and atmospheric samples too.

The investigators found that at specific altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic stayed for more than 30 days in 2011 than any other such period before, causing the extraordinary ozone loss. More research is required to detect the causes behind this phenomenon.

“Day-to-day temperatures in the 2010-11 Arctic winter did not reach lower values than in previous cold Arctic winters. The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time. This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently,” shared lead author Gloria Manney of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.

Furthermore, the 2011 Arctic ozone loss seemingly took place over an area that is substantially smaller then the Antarctic ozone holes. Though the total amount of ozone present in Arctic appeared to be more than two folds of that normally observed in Antarctic spring, the amount lost was relative to that in earlier Antarctic ozone holes. This is possibly because the ozone levels at the onset of Arctic winter are usually longer than those at the start of Antarctic winter.

The capacity to quantify polar ozone loss and related processes ought to be sustained to help predict future ozone loss in changed weather. The analysis is published in the journal Nature.

Pumice rocks could have been a cradle for life, say Oxford scientists

Pumice Raft Santorini Beach

Recently we saw a team examining the influences of amino acids and sugars in the origin of life on earth. Now, as per the Oxford University and University of Western Australia scientists, floating rafts of volcanic pumice may have had a substantial role to play in the development of life on earth.

The scientists suggest that pumice seems to have a specific set of attributes that would have apparently transformed it into an essential residing place for primal organisms on the Earth.

Professor Martin Brasier of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences who led the work with David Wacey of the University of Western Australia, commented, “Not only does pumice float as rafts but it has the highest surface-area-to-volume ratio of any type of rock, is exposed to a variety of conditions, and has the remarkable ability to adsorb metals, organics and phosphates as well as hosting organic catalysts, such as zeolites. Taken together these properties suggest that it could have made an ideal ‘floating laboratory’ for the development of the earliest micro-organisms.”

As per the view of the analysts, it is pumice’s unique lifecycle that must have caused it to be involved in the origin of life. The cycle starts with the pumice erupting from a volcano, followed by floating in rafts at surface level before venturing into the tidal zone. Finally, it is known to bleach for extended periods along the shore.

In this life span, pumice would have possibly encountered a host of things like lightning, oily hydrocarbons and metals created by hydrothermal vents and UV rays from the sun when it floats on water. Brasier believes that these circumstances are deemed to have the capacity to allow chemical processes that formulated the first living cells.

As per David Wacey, there are chances that particular beaches might have provided a cradle for life. This hypothesis can be checked by inspecting early fossil records for evidence of primitive pumice rafts. They also seek to conduct trials on the rocks to gauge if they form new compounds and substances when they face exposure to phases of heat and UV rays.

The report is titled ‘Pumice as a Remarkable Substrate for the Origin of Life’, and is published in the September issue of Astrobiology.

Many species shifting northwards apparently due to climate change

Fritillary Butterfly Every species has to adapt to the surrounding it lives in and climate is a vital component of any environment. More recently, a research conducted by the University of York scientists, has revealed that varied species apparently respond to weather alterations nearly 3 folds more than initially known.

The analysis unfolds that species have transited near the poles towards the northern hemisphere and also shifted to cooler places at higher altitudes 2 times than before. These alterations in life of creatures is similar to plants and animal migrating farther from the Equator at around 20 cm per hour during specific duration of the day on a regular basis. The team examined over 2000 cases from the animal and plant kingdom that seemingly traveled to heightened areas at 12.2m per decade and some at 17.6km per decade.

Project leader Chris Thomas, Professor of Conservation Biology at York, shared, “These changes are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the Equator at around 20 cm per hour, for every hour of the day, for every day of the year. This has been going on for the last 40 years and is set to continue for at least the rest of this century. ”

This study unfolds global warming as an essential reason for migration towards polar regions. A link between the distributions of species and the proportion of climate change in the area has supposedly come to light. The animals seemingly wish to encounter the same climate they were usually exposed to, prior to global warming. This is why they seem to have moved to higher altitudes.

An array of other changes was also found like certain distinct species appeared to have faced transition quite slowly while some others have not transited at all. Few others backed off when they were deemed to increase their population. Contrarily, specific types of species have presumably accelerated to varied areas, perhaps they may be vulnerable to a particular factor of climate change or due to other environmental factors.

The analysts found that the high brown fritillary butterfly in Britain, ought to have gone towards the north near Scotland considering that warm climate was the only influential variable. However this was not the case as their habitat seems to be somewhat lost. On this end, the comma butterfly has shifted 220km near the northern portions in a span of 20 years. Similar changes seem to have come forward in other clans like Cetti’s warbler and the Cirl bunting. All these alterations were observed through a meta-analysis spread across Europe and North America. Various kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, spiders other invertebrates and plants were referred in the research.

Scientists believe that extinction risk seems to increase with climate change at least for 10% of the global species. The findings are published in the scientific journal Science.

Scientists unleash the possibilities of early oxygen in the oceans

Early Presence Of Oxygen

Oxygen which is the only savior of life on Earth seems to have a breathtaking past too. As per MIT researchers, oxygen may have first made its appearance on Earth through the oxygen oases in the oceans. They found that minute aerobic organisms might have survived undersea by the prevalence of oxygen in small amounts.

The investigators found that yeast which does not rely on oxygen for its survival seemingly produces basic oxygen-dependent compounds by just mild inhalations of the gas. The outcomes show that yeast’s ancestral natives could have been functioning in a similar way. They could be utilizing tiny proportions of oxygen before the gas found place in the atmosphere.

“The time at which oxygen became an integral factor in cellular metabolism was a pivotal point in Earth history. The fact that you could have oxygen-dependent biosynthesis very early on in the Earth’s history has significant implications,” shared Professor of Geobiology Roger Summons.

Fossilized steroids were initially considered to be indicators of early oxygen on Earth. But many geologists do not agree to the above stance as appropriate conclusions on existence of oxygen in similarly aged rocks couldn’t be drawn. The analysts believe that oxygen may have been present on Earth in traces. This was apparently sufficient for aerobic and sterol producing organisms to feed on.

To evaluate the theory, the team observed the modern yeast. The latter is known to normally use oxygen with sugars to manufacture its primary sterol namely ergosterol. It can also live without oxygen but only if the source of its sterol is available. To determine yeast’s lowest level of oxygen consumption, they set up an experiment. They wished to locate the time when yeast shifts from anaerobic to aerobic activity. The clan grew yeast cells inclusive of varied ingredients like ergosterol along with glucose labeled with carbon-13. It came to light that without oxygen, yeast satisfactorily consumed sterol existing in the medium. However, none of them were taken up from the start.

Nevertheless, when minute proportions of oxygen were introduced into the setting, yeast switched over to use oxygen with glucose to synthesize its own sterols. The prevalence of carbon-13 distinguishes biosynthesized sterol from the one attained by the living medium. The researchers found that yeast seemingly makes steroids by using minuscule and nanomolar concentrations of oxygen. This affirms the hypothesis that oxygen along with its producers and consumers prevailed long before it showed up in the atmosphere. The scientists conclude that though all sorts of biological reactions tend to happen in the absence of oxygen, the possibility of its presence cannot be ruled out. There may have been rigorous oxygen cycles taking place in certain areas, while other regions it might be thoroughly absent.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers explore the origin of life on earth

Natural Enantiomer RNA Percursor As more theories unravel the origin of life on earth, it seems to get all the more mystifying. More recently, a research conducted by University of California scientists has unfolded that a combined effect of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids provides a potential pathway to the building blocks of life.

The analysis shows that predecessors to RNA could have developed on earth before their life started. Biological molecules, such as RNA and proteins, are formulated in either an innate or unnatural form, known as enantiomers. A closer examination of chemical reactions reveals that only the natural form of the required RNA precursors can be produced by inclusion of simple amino acids.

“These amino acids changed how the reactions work and allowed only the naturally occurring RNA precursors to be generated in a stable form. In the end, we showed that an amazingly simple result emerged from some very complex and interconnected chemistry,” commented Jason E. Hein, researcher at Scripps Research Institute and chemistry professor with UC Merced.

As per the analysts, the natural enantiomer of the RNA precursor molecules forms a crystal structure that can be seen with the naked eye. The crystal looks firm and does not chemically break down. They can survive till the right condition arrives for them to convert into RNA. This analysis delivers an insight into the creation of natural RNA precursors on the earth a multitude of decades ago.

This study is known as ‘A Route to Enantiopure RNA Precursors from Nearly Racemic Starting Materials.’ It is published online in the journal Nature Chemistry.