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Evidence of this type led them to look into the possibility that a single magma might produce rocks of varying mineral content. Bowen discovered that as magma cools in the laboratory, certain minerals crystallize first.
Most people are not aware of the many processes that take place in lava before it erupts and as it solidifies, processes that can have a tremendous influence on daughter to parent ratios.
Bowen also demonstrated that if a mineral remained in the melt after it had crystallized, it would react with the remaining melt and produce the next mineral in the sequence shown in Figure 3.6.
For this reason, this arrangement of minerals became known as Bowen's reaction series.
Most scientists today believe that life has existed on the earth for billions of years.
This belief in long ages for the earth and the existence of life is derived largely from radiometric dating.