Life exists only in the biosphere; organisms are found only in the thin outer layer of the Earth’s crust, and are always separated from the surrounding inert matter by a clear and firm boundary (…). In its life, its death, and its decomposition an organism circulates its atoms through the biosphere over and over again, but living matter is always generated from life itself. A considerable portion of the atoms in the Earth’s surface are united in life, and these are in perpetual motion. Millions of diverse compounds are constantly being created, in a process that has been continuing, essentially unchained, since the early Archean, four billion years ago.
The Biosphere Vladimir I. Vernadsky