The Origin of Life

Lateral Growth

One way of understanding how lateral growth can be even less likely than surface nucleation on a growing surface is to consider a simple, mechanical model - where the crystal growth occurs in preferred directions due to the shape of the individual elements.

In the first example vertical growth is difficult to initiate - since elements landing on the top surface tend to fall on their side - which is not a stable position.

Toppled over

In the second example it is horizontal growth that proves problematical - the small, flat elements would rather lay on their sides than follow the crystal structure - and lying on their sides they are liable to dissolve again.

Falling flat |