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McKinley, JP ; Stevens, TO ; Westall, F

Microfossils and paleoenvironments in deep subsurface basalt samples

Geomicrobiology Journal 17 (1) 43-54

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

Secondary minerals near and within fractures in Columbia River basalts contain objects the size and shape of bacteria. These bacteriomorphs are most commonly rods or ellipses but also include cocci and diplococci forms, vibrioids and club-shaped rods, and associated pairs of objects that suggest cellular division by binary fission. Secondary minerals associated with, enclosing, and making up bacteriomorphs include iron oxyhydroxides, sulfides, and smectites containing ferrous iron. The secondary minerals are intimately intermixed with kerogen. Moreover ; bacteriomorphs in the pyrite consist of kerogen. Careful consideration of mineral associations, the occurrence of organic carbon, and the spatial context of bacteriomorphs indicate that they are microfossils. The association of microfossils with minerals formed in reducing environments suggests an ancient ecosystem dominated at least. in part by sulfate-reducing bacteria, similar to communities within these basalts today.