Living organisms and the life of minerals

Now we know that living organisms and the life of minerals form a very close relationship. The activity of living organisms on earth is associated primarily with a very thin film, which we call the biosphere. Its influence is unlikely to be particularly high in the atmosphere, although some scientists have found living germ microbes in the air at an altitude of two kilometers. Air currents carry spores and fungi tens of kilometers in height. No deeper than two thousand meters penetrates life into the depths of the hard earth's shell. Only in the seas and oceans does the area of its activity expand wider, where we find organic life from the very surface of the waters to the greatest depths. It should be assumed that some living organisms withstand changes and fluctuations in conditions much greater than those that survive the very surface of the earth. For example, in the polar regions of our planet, powerful multiplying colonies of one bacterium are observed. These colonies grow so much that they give rise to soil cover on a continuous mass of polar ice. Along the banks of the boiling pools of the famous Yellowstone Park in the United States, some types of algae grow, which at temperatures close to 70 0C, not only live, but also precipitate siliceous tuff.

Now we know that living organisms and the life of minerals form a very close relationship

The limits of life are much wider than we think: so, for bacteria and molds or their spores, life is kept in the range from +180 0 to -253 0—!

But in soil, the role of organic life is especially pronounced. In one gram of soil cover, the number of living bacteria varies between two and five billion.

A huge amount of earthworms, moles or termites invariably loosens the soil, facilitating the penetration of air gases. Indeed, in the soils of Central Asia, the number of large living creatures (beetles, ants, flies, spiders, etc.) per hectare exceeds 24 million!

Not only this microscopic life with its mighty activity reveals grandiose pictures of the formation and life of minerals. And more complex creatures, through their lives and their deaths, participate in chemical processes. We are well aware of how whole islands arise due to the life of polyps. Geology opens up the era when coral reefs thousands of kilometers long appeared, accumulating calcium carbonate from sea waters in the complex chemical life of coastal areas.

Where currents collide in the oceans, conditions are often suddenly created in which the life of fish and other living organisms becomes impossible. These underwater cemeteries give rise to accumulations of phosphoric acid, and deposits of the phosphorite mineral in various rock deposits tell us that this process is not only going on now, but it was going on earlier, in the distant geological past.

Some living organisms participate in the formation of minerals by their lives, developing new stable compounds from the chemical elements of the earth, whether in the form of calcareous shells of phosphate skeletons of animals or flint shells. Other living organisms participate in the formation of minerals only after their death, when the processes of decay and decay of organic matter begin. In both cases, living organisms are the largest geological figures, and inevitably the whole nature of the minerals on the earthís surface will depend, as it is now, on the history of the development of the organic world.