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Discovery

Researcher Says Life Evolved Between the Mica Sheets

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AFM images showing two yellow molecules on a blue mica surface.

Biological molecules tend to bind well to mica. This atomic force microscope (AFM) image shows two yellow molecules on a blue mica surface, with a damaged purple-red area on the right where some of the top (blue) layer of mica peeled off.

Credit: Helen Greenwood Hansma, UC Santa Barbara


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Photo showing water with air bubbles and bands of organic crud and dirt between mica layers.

Photo of mica from an abandoned mica mine, with water between some layers, showing edges of mica sheets (black arrows), air bubbles in the water (red arrows) and brown bands of organic crud and dirt.

Credit: Helen Greenwood Hansma, UC Santa Barbara


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Photo of Hansma with her grandchild.

Helen Greenwood Hansma, who became a grandmother during all this, poses with her grandchild.

Credit: Scott Hansma


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