Biogeochemical systems are a product of the interacting evolutions of biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. They began with the appearance of life on Earth. But the appearance of objects we would unhesitatingly pronounce to be living is itself presumably only the end stage of a transitional process whose nature and antecedents are important parts of the story. If we include prebiotic chemistry, the process may have started in the space between the stars. That follows from the discovery by X-ray astronomers of interstellar hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, and the other important polyatomic organic molecules listed in Table 1.


Solar Wind Solar Nebula Banded Iron Formation Sedimentary Sulfate Biogeochemical Consequence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Preston Cloud
    • 1
  1. 1.Mount Holyoke CollegeU.S. Geological Survey and University of CaliforniaSouth HadleyUSA

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