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Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020 Vol.129 No.6

2020 Vol.129 No.6

External Energy Sources Driving the Emergence and Evolution of Life: Natural Nuclear Reactors and the Sun

A large quantity of external energy is required to synthesize various building blocks of life (BBLs) in order for life to emerge. Solar energy is too weak to drive prebiotic chemical evolution and no energy is supplied at night. Therefore, other sources of energy are needed. Among those external energy sources are natural nuclear reactors, which are thought to have existed ubiquitously in the surface environment of the Hadean Earth. The decay heat of uranium and ionizing radiation from natural nuclear reactors played an important role in promoting prebiotic chemical evolution. Such chemical evolutional reactions are difficult to achieve with solar energy or heat from magma alone. In other words, the initial process towards the emergence of life on the Hadean Earth was probably driven by ionizing radiation. After a natural nuclear reactor and a geyser combined to form a material-energy circulation system, abundant energy allowed various processes of trial and error to proceed toward achieving the emergence of early life. In this way, the functions of metabolism and self-replication were created. The geyser eruptions produced micron-sized droplets, which were released into the atmosphere to form the most primitive cells. Repeated material circulations and geyser eruptions created various combinations of BBLs, including more complex membranes. The wide variety of primitive cells released to the ground eventually led to a new evolutionary path on the Earth’ s surface. The proto cells, away from the powerful and abundant energy supplying natural nuclear reactors, would eventually have acquired new capabilities to utilize solar energy for life to survive. The cover, depicting a natural nuclear reactor in contrast to the Sun, is a scene from the CG movie series “The Whole History of the Earth and Life,” which presents the emergence, coevolution, and future of the Earth and life1).


(Shigenori MARUYAMA)


Notes

1) YouTube; https://www.youtube.com/c/HadeanBioscience (in English) [Cited 2020/10/27].


Special Issue: The Hadean World (Part III): Emergence of Life and Early Evolution

Overview of the Special Issue
 “The Hadean World (Part III): Emergence of Life and Early Evolution”

Shigenori MARUYAMA, Toshikazu EBISUZAKI,
Yukio ISOZAKI and Ken KUROKAWA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 745.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.745

Introduction to the Special Issue
 “The Hadean World (Part III): Emergence of Life and Early Evolution”

Shigenori MARUYAMA, Toshikazu EBISUZAKI,
Yukio ISOZAKI and Ken KUROKAWA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 751.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.751

Unravelling the Origins of Life:
 Hakuba Hot–spring Chemistry of Oldest Microbes and Significance
 of Microbes Surviving in a Hadean–like Environment (Review Article)

Shigenori MARUYAMA, Tomohiko SATO,
Yusuke SAWAKI and Konomi SUDA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 757.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.757

Hadean Primordial Metabolism Pathway Driven by a Nuclear Geyser
 (Review Article)

Toshikazu EBISUZKI, Hidenori NISHIHARA, Ken KUROKAWA,
Hiroshi MORI, Yoichi KAMAGATA, Hideyuki TAMAKI,
Ryosuke NAKAI, Taku OSHIMA, Masahiko HARA,
Teppei SUZUKI and Shigenori MARUYAMA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 779.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.779

Minimal Genomes: How Many Genes Does a Cell Require To Be Viable
 (Review Article)

Tomoya BABA, Shigeyuki KAKIZAWA, Hiroshi MORI,
Yutetsu KURUMA, Ken KUROKAWA and Taku OSHIMA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 805.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.805

Molecular Evolution of [NiFe] Hydrogenase–related Energy Conservation Systems
 (Original Article)

Takashi NARIHIRO, Masaru K. NOBU,
Ling LENG and Hideyuki TAMAKI

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 825.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.825

Radiolytically Driven Chemical Evolution (Review Article)

Ruiqin YI, Albert FAHRENBACH and Yayoi HONGO

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 837.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.837

Chemical Evolution Mediated by Metal Sulfides and the Origin of Iron–sulfur Proteins
 (Review Article)

Kensuke IGARASHI and Shigeyuki KAKIZAWA

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 853.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.853

Exploring Possible Cellular Structures of Ancient Life (Review Article)

Norikazu ICHIHASHI

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 871.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.871

Importance of Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) Bacteria for the Origin of Life
 (Review Article)

Megumi TSURUMAKI, Motofumi SAITO,
Shigenori MARUYAMA and Akio KANAI

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 881.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.881

Importance of Prokaryotes for the Origin of Eukaryotes
 and the Global Environment at 2.4–2.0 Ga (Review Article)

Naota TAKEYAMA, Yuka TAKAHASHI, Shohei NAGATA,
Yusuke SAWAKI, Tomohiko SATO,
Shigenori MARUYAMA and Akio KANAI

Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi), 2020, 129(6), 899.

DOI:10.5026/jgeography.129.899

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