The discovery of the extreme antiquity of specific minerals through radiometric dating (e.g., Strutt 1910), coupled with Norman L. Bowen’s recognition of a deterministic evolutionary sequence of silicate minerals in igneous rocks (Bowen 1915, 1928), implies that Earth’s crustal mineralogy has changed dramatically through more than 4.5 billion years of planetary history. Detailed examination of the mineralogical record has led to a growing realization that varied physical, chemical, and biological processes have resulted in a sequential increase in diversification of the mineral kingdom. This diversification has been accompanied by significant changes in the near-surface distribution, compositional...

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