he rock is a deep rusty red, shot through with gray stripes. It rises above shrubby tundra, part of a hummocky terrain that slopes down to the Hudson Bay in northern Quebec, as it has for a very long time—maybe almost as long as the planet itself. This is a rare spot on Earth, one of a few where rocks this old survive. Plate tectonics and the relentless recycling of crust have repeatedly chewed up our planet’s surface. Only a few zones in deep continental interiors have escaped this fate, in places like Greenland and Western Australia. Scientists who specialize in finding signs of the origins of life make pilgrimages to these primeval sites. Life wrote its first chapters in these rocks. And scientists hope to read them.