The surface of our planet is the result of billions of years of feedback between biota and Earth materials. The chemical weathering of soils and the resulting stream and ocean chemistry bear the signature of the biological world. Physical shaping of the Earth's surface in many regions is a biologically mediated process. Given the pervasiveness of life, it is challenging to disentangle abiotic from biotic processes during field observations, yet it is of paramount importance to quantify these interactions and their feedbacks as the human impact on climate and ecosystems becomes more profound. Here we briefly review the fascinating connection between rocks and life and highlight its significance to science and society.

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