Geologist Fabrício Caxito, a Federal University of Minas Gerais graduate, is trying to link the rise of the planet’s first mountain ranges with the emergence of complex life. His master’s and doctorate in geology from the same institution allowed him to explore the world, a dream he had as a boy. During his doctorate, he completed a sandwich fellowship at the University of Quebec, Canada, and was a post-doc at the University of Western Australia.
Convinced of the interdisciplinary approach to solving fundamental scientific questions, Caxito pursued a degree in philosophy to supplement his education. In his spare time, he learns to play musical instruments and writes fiction, having already published two titles in Portuguese and English.
The first great mountain ranges on the planet, similar to the Himalayas today, emerged around 550 million years ago, coinciding with the first fossil records of animals. Could these two processes have influenced each other?
This hypothesis will be tested through the chemical analysis of rocks deposited on the ocean floor at this time, searching for signs of elements that acted as nutrients for primitive life. These nutrients were derived from the erosion of the mountains and delivered to the sea. Additionally, the process of mountain erosion consumes carbon dioxide, the main cause of the greenhouse effect, leading to a milder climate and greater oxygenation of water, which also contributes to the proliferation of life.
Dating the age of the rocks that make up these ancient mountain ranges will provide insights into the amount and rates of nutrient and oxygen delivery to marine waters at this time and how they influenced the emergence of animal life.