|Pumice rafts on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini|
Incidentally, these conditions match exactly those in experiments designed to see how complex organic molecules such as DNA could have been synthesised on the early Earth. The tiny chambers inside the pumice would have acted like miniaturised flasks, test tubes and beakers, creating a vast and constantly replenished laboratory, building life molecule by molecule. We know that pumice rafts do exist today. Vast outcrops have been found on beaches of the volcanic Greek island Santorini.
|Pumice from near the Strelley Pool|
Life was thriving between sandstone grains in water pools in Western Australia around 3.4 billion years ago. The team believes that pumice rafts could contain micro fossils which could be over 3.5 billion years old. Samples of pumice were found near to the Strelley Pool where the oldest known fossils on Earth were found.
The team are going to conduct more research into ancient pumice rafts to investigate further this highly plausible theory.