Impact of life on the geological evolution of Earth - Rosing group

We study the effects of life on the evolution of Earth. The composition of the atmosphere and oceans and Earth’s climate are largely controlled by the presence of life. We hypothesize that the presence of continents, features that are unique to Earth are also consequences of the presence of life. This insight can guide our response to environmental crises. 

Fjord view in Greenland. (Photo: M.T. Rosing)





Earth has undergone profound changes during its 4.5 billion years of existence. Some were caused by internal processes (e.g. magmatism), and others by external processes (e.g. changes in Solar luminosity, fall of comets and meteorites). However, metabolism by life, particularly by photosynthetic organisms, seems to rank among the most massive drivers of change. When and how did life emerge on Earth? When and how did the oceans form? When did photosynthesis evolve? How has life impacted the formation of Earth’s continents, and the evolution of the atmosphere and oceans? Can we stimulate life to mitigate global changes in chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans and limit the resulting changes in climate?











Rosing, M.T., 1999. 13C depleted carbon microparticles in >3700-Ma sea-floor sedimentary rocks from West Greenland. Science  283, 674-676.

Rosing, M.T. and Frei, R., 2004. U-rich Archaean sea floor sediments from Greenland - indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis. Earth Planet. Sci.  Let. 217, 237-244.

Rosing, M. T., Bird, D. K., Sleep, N. H., Glassley, W., and Albarede, F., 2006. The rise of continents – An essay on the geologic consequences of photosynthesis. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 232, 99-113.

Rosing, M.T., Bird, D.K., Sleep, N.H. and Bjerrum, C. J., 2010. No paradox under the faint early Sun. Nature 464, 744-747.

Rahbek, C., Borregaard, D.K., Antonelli, A., Colwell, R.K., Holt, B.G., Nogues-Bravo, D., Rasmussen, C.M.Ø., Richardson, K., Rosing, M.T., Whittaker, R.J., Fjeldså, J., 2019. Building mountain biodiversity: Geological and evolutionary processes. Science, 365, 1114-1119. doi: 10.1126/science.aax0151.































List of publications by Minik T. Rosing



Professor Minik T. Rosing. (Foto: Rebekka Knudsen)

Group Leader

Minik T. Rosing

Phone +45 35 32 23 68

Group members

Name Title Phone E-mail
Dietzen, Christiana Postdoc +45 91 33 34 29 E-mail
van Genuchten, Case Postdoc +45 91 33 34 33 E-mail
Dyrberg, Rasmus MSc student E-mail
Steffensen, Tue MSc student E-mail