Shallow puddles may have provided the suitable environment to give rise to the first forms of life of the Earth, more than the oceans.
A study led by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) concludes that cshallow water bodies, of the order of 10 centimeters deep, they could have maintained high concentrations of what many scientists believe is a key ingredient in boosting life on Earth: nitrogen.
In these shallow puddles, nitrogen, in the form of nitrogen oxides, would have had a good chance of accumulating enough to react with other compounds and give rise to the first living organisms. According to the researchers, in the much deeper oceans, nitrogen would have had more difficulties to establish a significant presence that catalyzes life.
"Our general message is that, if you believe that the origin of life requires fixed nitrogen, as many people do, it is difficult for the origin of life to happen in the ocean ", says lead author Sukrit Ranjan, a postdoctoral fellow in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. "It's much easier for that to happen in a puddle."
Ranjan and his colleagues have published their results in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.