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Sample records for early archean stromatolitic

  1. Controls on development and diversity of Early Archean stromatolites

    PubMed Central

    Allwood, Abigail C.; Grotzinger, John P.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Burch, Ian W.; Anderson, Mark S.; Coleman, Max L.; Kanik, Isik

    2009-01-01

    The ≈3,450-million-year-old Strelley Pool Formation in Western Australia contains a reef-like assembly of laminated sedimentary accretion structures (stromatolites) that have macroscale characteristics suggestive of biological influence. However, direct microscale evidence of biology—namely, organic microbial remains or biosedimentary fabrics—has to date eluded discovery in the extensively-recrystallized rocks. Recently-identified outcrops with relatively good textural preservation record microscale evidence of primary sedimentary processes, including some that indicate probable microbial mat formation. Furthermore, we find relict fabrics and organic layers that covary with stromatolite morphology, linking morphologic diversity to changes in sedimentation, seafloor mineral precipitation, and inferred microbial mat development. Thus, the most direct and compelling signatures of life in the Strelley Pool Formation are those observed at the microscopic scale. By examining spatiotemporal changes in microscale characteristics it is possible not only to recognize the presence of probable microbial mats during stromatolite development, but also to infer aspects of the biological inputs to stromatolite morphogenesis. The persistence of an inferred biological signal through changing environmental circumstances and stromatolite types indicates that benthic microbial populations adapted to shifting environmental conditions in early oceans. PMID:19515817

  2. Early Archean stromatolites: Paleoenvironmental setting and controls on formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.

    1991-01-01

    The earliest record of terrestrial life is contained in thin, silicified sedimentary layers within enormously thick, predominantly volcanic sequences in South Africa and Western Australia. This record includes bacteria-like microfossils, laminated carbonaceous structures resembling flat bacterial mats and stromatolites, and a morphologically diverse assemblage of carbonaceous particles. These structures and particles and their host sediments provide the only direct source of information on the morphology, paleoecology, and biogeochemistry of early life; the nature of interactions between organisms and surface systems on the early earth; and possible settings within which life might have evolved. The three known occurrences of 3.5 to 3.2 billion-year-old stromalites were evaluated in terms of depositional setting and biogenicity.

  3. Gas Production Within Stromatolites Across the Archean: Evidence For Ancient Microbial Metabolisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilmeth, D.; Corsetti, F. A.; Berelson, W.; Beukes, N. J.; Awramik, S. M.; Petryshyn, V. A.

    2017-12-01

    Identifying the presence of specific microbial metabolisms in the Archean is a fundamental goal of deep-time geobiology. Certain fenestral textures within Archean stromatolites provide evidence for the presence of gas, and therefore gas-releasing metabolisms, within ancient microbial mats. Paleoenvironmental analysis indicates many of the stromatolites formed in shallow, agitated aqueous environments, with relatively rapid gas production and lithification of fenestrae. Proposed gases include oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide, and various nitrogen species, produced by appropriate metabolisms. This study charts the presence of gas-related fenestrae in Archean stromatolites over time, and examines the potential for various metabolisms to produce fenestral textures. Fenestral textures are present in Archean stromatolites on at least four separate cratons from 3.5 to 2.5 Ga. Fenestrae are preserved in carbonate and chert microbialites of various morphologies, including laminar, domal, and conical forms. Extensive fenestral textures, with dozens of fenestrae along individual laminae, are especially prevalent in Neoarchean stromatolites (2.8 -2.5 Ga). The volume of gas within Archean microbial mats was estimated by measuring fenestrae in ancient stromatolites and bubbles within modern mats. The time needed for metabolisms to produce appropriate gas volumes was calculated using modern rates obtained from the literature. Given the paleoenvironmental conditions, the longer a metabolism takes to make large amounts of gas, the less likely large bubbles will remain long enough to become preserved. Additionally, limiting reactants were estimated for each metabolism using previous Archean geochemical models. Metabolisms with limited reactants are less likely to produce large amounts of gas. Oxygenic photosynthesis can produce large amounts of gas within minutes, and the necessary reactants (carbon dioxide and water) were readily available in Archean environments

  4. Archean sedimentary styles and early crustal evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.

    1986-01-01

    The distinctions between and implications of early and late Archean sedimentary styles are presented. Early Archean greenstone belts, such as the Barberton of South Africa and those in the eastern Pilbar Block of Australia are characterized by fresh or slightly reworked pyroclastic debris, orthochemical sediments such as carbonates, evaporites, and silica, and biogenic deposits including cherts and stromatolitic units. Terrigenous deposits are rare, and it is suggested that early Archean sediments were deposited on shallow simatic platforms, with little or no components derived from sialic sources. In contrast, late Archean greenstone belts in the Canadian Shield and the Yilgarn Block of Australia contain coarse terrigenous clastic rocks including conglomerate, sandstone, and shale derived largely from sialic basement. Deposition appears to have taken place in deepwater, tectonically unstable environments. These observations are interpreted to indicate that the early Archean greenstone belts formed as anorogenic, shallow water, simatic platforms, with little or no underlying or adjacent continental crust, an environment similar to modern oceanic islands formed over hot spots.

  5. The extant shore platform stromatolite (SPS) facies association: a glimpse into the Archean?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Alan; Cooper, Andrew; Misra, Saumitra; Bharuth, Vishal; Guastella, Lisa; Botes, Riaan

    2018-04-01

    Shore platform stromatolites (SPS) were first noted at Cape Morgan on the south-east African seaboard. Since then they have been found growing discontinuously in rocky peritidal zones along the entire southern African seaboard. They have also been found on the southwest Australian coast, at Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, and more recently at Harris on the Scottish Hebridean Atlantic coast. In this paper SPS occurrence and SPS potential as analogues for Precambrian fossil stromatolites, as well as potential stromatolite occurrences in shore platform regions on Mars, are assessed. Sub-horizontal surfaces promote stromatolite development, while tufa develops on cliffs and steep rocky surfaces. Tufa and stromatolites are end members of a spectrum dictated by coastal topography. Extant SPS occur on well indurated shore platforms in high wave energy settings, often around or near headlands. They can be associated with boulder beaches, boulder ridges, storm swash terraces, coastal dunes, and peat bogs. In contrast to other extant stromatolites, SPS are produced primarily by mineral precipitation, although minor trapping and binding stromatolites do occur. From a geological perspective, SPS develop in mildly transgressive siliciclastic settings in various climatic and tidal regimes. We suggest that SPS could be preserved in the geological record as micritic lenses on palaeo-shore platform surfaces. SPS share many features with Precambrian stromatolites and are a valid modern analogue despite the widely different atmospheric and oceanic conditions of the Archean. We suggest that terraces associated with former oceanic or lacustrine flooding surfaces on Mars are potential targets in the search for palaeo-SPS on Mars.

  6. Stromatolites

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2013-01-01

    Stromatolites are the rocklike structures produced by "microbial mats"--communities of microorganisms only a few millimeters thick--as they trap, bind, or precipitate minerals. This article provides activities and assessment ideas to help teachers incorporate stromatolites in their classrooms. It relates the study of stromatolites to the…

  7. Earth's early atmosphere as seen from carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of Archean sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Carr, L. P.; Gilmour, I.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1986-01-01

    The origin and evolution of the Earth's early atmosphere has long been a topic of great interest but determination of actual compositions over geologic time is a difficult problem. However, recent systematic studies of stromatolite deposits (Precambrian Paleobiology Research Group) has extended our knowledge of Archean ecosystems. It has been shown that many stromatolite deposits have undergone negligible alteration since their time of formation. The discovery of primary fluid inclusions within unaltered 3.5 b.y. old Archiean sediments and the observation that the 3.3 b.y. old Barberton cherts have remained closed to argon loss and have not been subjected to thermal metamorphism suggests that an opportunity exists for the direct measurement of the volatile constituents present at their time of formation. Of primary interest to this study was the possibility that the stromatolites and other Archean sediments might retain a vestige of the atmosphere and thus afford an indication of the variations in carbon dioxide and nitrogen isotopic compositions with time. A suite of essentially unaltered Archean stromatolites and the cherts of different ages and geologic sites have been analyzed for their trapped carbon dioxide and nitrogen compositions by the stepped combustion extraction tech nique utilizing static mass spectrometers for the isotope measurements.

  8. Reconciling atmospheric temperatures in the early Archean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pope, E. C.; Rosing, M.; Bird, D. K.; Albarede, F.

    2012-12-01

    Average surface temperatures of Earth in the Archean remain unresolved despite decades of diverse approaches to the problem. As in the present, early Earth climates were complex systems dependent on many variables. With few constraints on such variables, climate models must be relatively simplistic, and consider only one or two factors that drive Archean climate (e.g. a fainter young sun, a low albedo, the extent and effect of cloud cover, or the presence and abundance of a wide array of greenhouse and icehouse gasses). Compounded on the limitations of modeling is the sparse and often ambiguous Archean rock record. The goal of this study is to compile and reconcile Archean geologic and geochemical features that are in some way controlled by surface temperature and/or atmospheric composition, so that at the very least paleoclimate models can be checked by physical limits. Data used to this end include the oxygen isotope record of chemical sediments and ancient ocean crust, chemical equilibria amongst primary phases in banded iron formations (BIFs), sedimentary features indicative of temperate or glacial environments, and paleosol indicators of atmospheric CO2. Further, we explore the extent to which hydrogen isotopes contribute to the geologic record as a signal for glaciations, continental growth and atmospheric methane levels. Oceanic serpentinites and subduction-related volcanic and hydrothermal environments obtain their hydrogen isotope signature from seawater, and thus may be used to calculate secular variation in δDSEAWATER which may fluctuate significantly due to hydrogen escape, continental growth and large-scale glaciation events. Further, ancient records of low-δD meteoric fluids signal both cooler temperatures and the emergence of large continents (increasing the effects of continental weathering on climate). Selective alteration of δD in Isua rocks to values of -130 to -100‰ post-dates ca. 3.55Ga Ameralik dikes, but may be associated with a poorly

  9. Nonmarine stromatolites and the search for early life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, S. M.

    1991-01-01

    The available evidence permits one to conclude that streams flowed and lakes developed on Mars sometime in the remote past. The lessons learned from the Earth's earliest fossil record suggest that stromatolites might have formed on Mars, speculating that: (1) biopoesis occurred on Mars during its earliest history; (2) life evolved and diversified; (3) life inhabited aqueous environments; and (4) sunlight was an important environmental resource. The most likely place to find stromatolites and possibly microbial fossils on Mars would be in ancient lake and stream deposits. If thermal spring deposits can be identified, then they too are sites for biogeological investigations. Other aspects of this study are presented.

  10. On the photosynthetic potential in the very Early Archean oceans.

    PubMed

    Avila, Daile; Cardenas, Rolando; Martin, Osmel

    2013-02-01

    In this work we apply a mathematical model of photosynthesis to quantify the potential for photosynthetic life in the very Early Archean oceans. We assume the presence of oceanic blockers of ultraviolet radiation, specifically ferrous ions. For this scenario, our results suggest a potential for photosynthetic life greater than or similar to that in later eras/eons, such as the Late Archean and the current Phanerozoic eon.

  11. Investigation of a Modern Incipient Stromatolite from Obsidian Pool Prime, Yellowstone National Park: Implications for Early Lithification in the Formation of Light-Dark Stromatolite Laminae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corsetti, F. A.; Berelson, W.; Pepe-Ranney, C. P.; Mata, S. A.; Spear, J. R.

    2016-12-01

    Stromatolites have been defined multiple ways, but the presence of lamination is common to all definitions. Despite this commonality, the origin of the lamination in many ancient stromatolites remains vague. Lamination styles vary, but sub-mm light-dark couplets are common in many ancient stromatolites. Here, we investigate an actively forming incipient stromatolite from Obsidian Pool Prime (OPP), a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, to better understand the formation of light-dark couplets similar to many ancient stromatolites in texture and structure. In the OPP stromatolites, a dense network of layer-parallel bundles of cyanobacterial filaments (a dark layer) is followed by an open network of layer-perpendicular or random filaments (a light layer) that reflect a diurnal cycle in the leading edge of the microbial mat that coats the stromatolite's surface. Silica crust encases the cyanobacterial filaments maintaining the integrity of the lamination. Bubbles formed via oxygenic photosynthesis are commonly trapped within the light layers, indicating that lithification occurs rapidly before the bubbles can collapse. The filamentous, non-heterocystous stromatoite-building cyanobacterium from OPP is most closely related to a stromatolite-building cyanobacterium from a hot spring in Japan. Once built, "tenants" from multiple microbial phyla move into the structure, mixing and mingling to produce a complicated integrated biogeochemical signal that may be difficult to untangle in ancient examples. While the cyanobacterial response to the diurnal cycle has been previously implicated in the formation of light-dark couplets, the OPP example highlights the importance of early lithification in maintaining the fabric. Thus, the presence of light-dark couplets and bubble structures may indicate very early lithification and therefore a certain degree of mineral saturation in the ancient ocean or other aquatic system, and that bubble structures, if present, may be evidence

  12. Morphological record of oxygenic photosynthesis in conical stromatolites.

    PubMed

    Bosak, Tanja; Liang, Biqing; Sim, Min Sub; Petroff, Alexander P

    2009-07-07

    Conical stromatolites are thought to be robust indicators of the presence of photosynthetic and phototactic microbes in aquatic environments as early as 3.5 billion years ago. However, phototaxis alone cannot explain the ubiquity of disrupted, curled, and contorted laminae in the crests of many Mesoproterozoic, Paleoproterozoic, and some Archean conical stromatolites. Here, we demonstrate that cyanobacterial production of oxygen in the tips of modern conical aggregates creates contorted laminae and submillimeter-to-millimeter-scale enmeshed bubbles. Similarly sized fossil bubbles and contorted laminae may be present only in the crestal zones of some conical stromatolites 2.7 billion years old or younger. This implies not only that cyanobacteria built Proterozoic conical stromatolites but also that fossil bubbles may constrain the timing of the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis.

  13. Archean komatiite volcanism controlled by the evolution of early continents.

    PubMed

    Mole, David R; Fiorentini, Marco L; Thebaud, Nicolas; Cassidy, Kevin F; McCuaig, T Campbell; Kirkland, Christopher L; Romano, Sandra S; Doublier, Michael P; Belousova, Elena A; Barnes, Stephen J; Miller, John

    2014-07-15

    The generation and evolution of Earth's continental crust has played a fundamental role in the development of the planet. Its formation modified the composition of the mantle, contributed to the establishment of the atmosphere, and led to the creation of ecological niches important for early life. Here we show that in the Archean, the formation and stabilization of continents also controlled the location, geochemistry, and volcanology of the hottest preserved lavas on Earth: komatiites. These magmas typically represent 50-30% partial melting of the mantle and subsequently record important information on the thermal and chemical evolution of the Archean-Proterozoic Earth. As a result, it is vital to constrain and understand the processes that govern their localization and emplacement. Here, we combined Lu-Hf isotopes and U-Pb geochronology to map the four-dimensional evolution of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, and reveal the progressive development of an Archean microcontinent. Our results show that in the early Earth, relatively small crustal blocks, analogous to modern microplates, progressively amalgamated to form larger continental masses, and eventually the first cratons. This cratonization process drove the hottest and most voluminous komatiite eruptions to the edge of established continental blocks. The dynamic evolution of the early continents thus directly influenced the addition of deep mantle material to the Archean crust, oceans, and atmosphere, while also providing a fundamental control on the distribution of major magmatic ore deposits.

  14. Archean komatiite volcanism controlled by the evolution of early continents

    PubMed Central

    Mole, David R.; Fiorentini, Marco L.; Thebaud, Nicolas; Cassidy, Kevin F.; McCuaig, T. Campbell; Kirkland, Christopher L.; Romano, Sandra S.; Doublier, Michael P.; Belousova, Elena A.; Barnes, Stephen J.; Miller, John

    2014-01-01

    The generation and evolution of Earth’s continental crust has played a fundamental role in the development of the planet. Its formation modified the composition of the mantle, contributed to the establishment of the atmosphere, and led to the creation of ecological niches important for early life. Here we show that in the Archean, the formation and stabilization of continents also controlled the location, geochemistry, and volcanology of the hottest preserved lavas on Earth: komatiites. These magmas typically represent 50–30% partial melting of the mantle and subsequently record important information on the thermal and chemical evolution of the Archean–Proterozoic Earth. As a result, it is vital to constrain and understand the processes that govern their localization and emplacement. Here, we combined Lu-Hf isotopes and U-Pb geochronology to map the four-dimensional evolution of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, and reveal the progressive development of an Archean microcontinent. Our results show that in the early Earth, relatively small crustal blocks, analogous to modern microplates, progressively amalgamated to form larger continental masses, and eventually the first cratons. This cratonization process drove the hottest and most voluminous komatiite eruptions to the edge of established continental blocks. The dynamic evolution of the early continents thus directly influenced the addition of deep mantle material to the Archean crust, oceans, and atmosphere, while also providing a fundamental control on the distribution of major magmatic ore deposits. PMID:24958873

  15. The formation of magnetite in the early Archean oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y. L.

    2017-12-01

    Banded iron formations are iron- and silica-rich chemical sedimentary rocks that were deposited throughout much of the Precambrian. It is generally accepted that biological oxidation of dissolved Fe(II) led to the precipitation of a ferric oxyhydroxide phase, such as ferrihydrite, in the marine photic zone. Upon burial, ferrihydrite was either transformed into hematite through dehydration or it was reduced to magnetite via biological or abiological Fe(III) reduction coupled to the oxidation of buried microbial biomass. However, it has always been intriguing as to why the oldest BIFs are characteristically magnetite-rich, while BIFs formed after the Neoarchean are dominated by hematite. Here, we propose that some magnetite in early Archean BIF could have precipitated directly from seawater through the reaction of settling ferrihydrite and hot, Fe(II)-rich hydrothermal fluids that vented directly into the photic zone. We conducted experiments that showed the reaction of Fe(II) with biogenic ferric iron mats under strict anoxic conditions led to the formation of a metastable green rust phase that within hours transformed into magnetite at relatively high temperatures. At lower temperatures magnetite does not form. Our model further posits that with the progressive cooling of the Earth's oceans through Archean, the above reaction shut off, and magnetite was subsequently restricted to reactions associated with diagenesis and metamorphism.

  16. Archean Pb Isotope Evolution: Implications for the Early Earth.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vervoort, J. D.; Thorpe, R.; Albarede, F.; Blichert-Toft, J.

    2008-12-01

    .728 Ga (Normetal) to 2.70 Ga (Noranda). The Pb isotopic compositions from these galenas, when normalized to a common age of 2.7 Ga, define a highly linear array in 207Pb/204Pb vs. 206Pb/204Pb. This array is nearly coincident with the 2.7 Ga geochron with a slope that corresponds to an age of ~4.4 Ga and with an extraordinary large range of 207Pb/204Pb, about the same magnitude as modern MORB. These data have important implications for the evolution of the Archean mantle. First, the slope of the Abitibi Pb-Pb array and its coincidence with the 2.7 Ga geochron suggests widespread U-Pb differentiation within the first hundred million years of Earth's history. This may have been due to either core formation or silicate/melt differentiation due to widespread melting of the mantle (e.g., formation of a magma ocean). Second, variations in μ in the Abitibi mantle and the subsequent Pb isotopic heterogeneities, whatever their cause, have not been significantly changed from 4.4 until 2.7 Ga. This implies that changes in μ in the Abitibi mantle source between 4.4 and 2.7 Ga, such as would be caused by crust extraction or recycling of older crust into this region of the mantle, were insufficient to destroy the original μ variations created at 4.4 Ga. Therefore, it appears that this portion of the mantle had essentially remained isolated and undisturbed from the early Hadean until the late Archean.

  17. Calcification and Silicification: Fossilization Potential of Cyanobacteria from Stromatolites of Niuafo‘ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and Implications for the Early Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Kazmierczak, Józef; Łukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo‘ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si‘i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo‘ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains. Key Words: Stromatolites—Cyanobacteria—Calcification—Silicification—Niuafo‘ou (Tonga)—Archean. Astrobiology 12, 535–548. PMID:22794297

  18. Archean Microbial Mat Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tice, Michael M.; Thornton, Daniel C. O.; Pope, Michael C.; Olszewski, Thomas D.; Gong, Jian

    2011-05-01

    Much of the Archean record of microbial communities consists of fossil mats and stromatolites. Critical physical emergent properties governing the evolution of large-scale (centimeters to meters) topographic relief on the mat landscape are (a) mat surface roughness relative to the laminar sublayer and (b) cohesion. These properties can be estimated for fossil samples under many circumstances. A preliminary analysis of Archean mat cohesion suggests that mats growing in shallow marine environments from throughout this time had cohesions similar to those of modern shallow marine mats. There may have been a significant increase in mat strength at the end of the Archean.

  19. The formation of magnetite in the early Archean oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Yi-Liang; Konhauser, Kurt O.; Zhai, Mingguo

    2017-05-01

    Banded iron formations (BIFs) are iron- and silica-rich chemical sedimentary rocks that were deposited throughout much of the Precambrian. The biological oxidation of dissolved Fe(II) led to the precipitation of a ferric oxyhydroxide phase, such as ferrihydrite, in the marine photic zone. Upon burial, ferrihydrite was either transformed into hematite through dehydration or it was reduced to magnetite via biological or abiological Fe(III) reduction coupled to the oxidation of buried microbial biomass. However, it has always been intriguing as to why the oldest BIFs are characteristically magnetite-rich, while BIFs formed after the Neoarchean are dominated by hematite. Here, we propose that some magnetite in early Archean BIF could have precipitated directly from seawater through the reaction of settling ferrihydrite and hot, Fe(II)-rich hydrothermal fluids that existed in the deeper waters. We conducted experiments that showed the reaction of Fe(II) with biogenic ferric iron mats under strict anoxic conditions lead to the formation of a metastable green rust phase that within hours transformed into magnetite. Our model further posits that with the progressive cooling and oxidation of the Earth's oceans, the above reaction shuts off, and magnetite was subsequently restricted to reactions associated with diagenesis and metamorphism.

  20. The early Earth -- A perspective on the Archean

    SciT

    Hamilton, W.B.

    1993-04-01

    Dominant models of Archean tectonics and magmatism involve plate-tectonic mechanisms. Common tenets of geochemistry (e.g., model ages) and petrology visualize a cold-accreted Earth in which primitive mantle gradually fractionated to produce crust during and since Archean time. These popular assumptions appear to be incompatible with cosmologic and planetologic evidence and with Archean geology. All current quantitative and semiquantitative theories agree that the Earth was largely or entirely melted (likely superheated) by giant impacts, including the Mars-size impact which splashed out the Moon, and by separation of the core. The Earth at [approximately]4.5 Ga was a violently convecting anhydrous molten ball.more » Both this history and solar-system position indicate the bulk Earth to be more refractory than chondrite. The outer part of whatever sold shell developed was repeatedly recycled by impacts before 3.9 Ga. Water and CO[sub 2] were added by impactors after the Moon-forming event; the mantle is not a source of primordial volatiles, but rather is a sink that has depleted the hydrosphere. Voluminous liquidus ultramafic lava (komatiite) indicates that much Archean upper mantle was above its solidus. Only komatiitic and basaltic magma entered Archean crust from the mantle. Variably hydrous contamination, secondary melting, and fractionation in the crust produced intermediate and felsic melts. Magmatism was concurrent over vast tracts. Within at least the small sample of Archean crust that has not been recycled into the mantle, heat loss was primarily by voluminous, dispersed magmatism, not, as in the modern Earth, primarily through spreading windows through the crust. Only in Proterozoic time did plate-tectonic mechanisms become prevalent.« less

  1. Archean microfossils: a reappraisal of early life on Earth.

    PubMed

    Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kazmierczak, Józef

    2003-11-01

    The oldest fossils found thus far on Earth are c. 3.49- and 3.46-billion-year-old filamentous and coccoidal microbial remains in rocks of the Pilbara craton, Western Australia, and c. 3.4-billion-year-old rocks from the Barberton region, South Africa. Their biogenicity was recently questioned and they were reinterpreted as contaminants, mineral artefacts or inorganic carbon aggregates. Morphological, geochemical and isotopic data imply, however, that life was relatively widespread and advanced in the Archean, between 3.5 and 2.5 billion years ago, with metabolic pathways analogous to those of recent prokaryotic organisms, including cyanobacteria, and probably even eukaryotes at the terminal Archean.

  2. Prokaryotic algae associated with Australian proterozoic stromatolites.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Licari, G. R.; Cloud, P.

    1972-01-01

    The most favorable sites in which to study the associations between stromatolites and the algae responsible for them are places where a variety of stromatolites of possibly early diagenetic or primary silica occupy a layer of substantial thickness of little metamorphosed ancient sediments. One such place is in northwestern Queensland, Australia. Five cases of association between stromatolites and blue-green algal nannofossils were observed within a 100-m sequence of carbonate rocks in that area.

  3. Microfossils of the Early Archean Apex chert - New evidence of the antiquity of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1993-01-01

    Eleven taxa (including eight heretofore undescribed species) of cellularly preserved filamentous microbes, among the oldest fossils known, have been discovered in a bedded chert unit of the Early Archean Apex Basalt of northwestern Western Australia. This prokaryotic assemblage establishes that trichomic cyanobacteriumlike microorganisms were extant and morphologically diverse at least as early as about 3465 million years ago and suggests that oxygen-producing photoautotrophy may have already evolved by this early stage in biotic history.

  4. Early Archean serpentine mud volcanoes at Isua, Greenland, as a niche for early life

    PubMed Central

    Pons, Marie-Laure; Quitté, Ghylaine; Fujii, Toshiyuki; Rosing, Minik T.; Reynard, Bruno; Moynier, Frederic; Douchet, Chantal; Albarède, Francis

    2011-01-01

    The Isua Supracrustal Belt, Greenland, of Early Archean age (3.81–3.70 Ga) represents the oldest crustal segment on Earth. Its complex lithology comprises an ophiolite-like unit and volcanic rocks reminiscent of boninites, which tie Isua supracrustals to an island arc environment. We here present zinc (Zn) isotope compositions measured on serpentinites and other rocks from the Isua supracrustal sequence and on serpentinites from modern ophiolites, midocean ridges, and the Mariana forearc. In stark contrast to modern midocean ridge and ophiolite serpentinites, Zn in Isua and Mariana serpentinites is markedly depleted in heavy isotopes with respect to the igneous average. Based on recent results of Zn isotope fractionation between coexisting species in solution, the Isua serpentinites were permeated by carbonate-rich, high-pH hydrothermal solutions at medium temperature (100–300 °C). Zinc isotopes therefore stand out as a pH meter for fossil hydrothermal solutions. The geochemical features of the Isua fluids resemble the interstitial fluids sampled in the mud volcano serpentinites of the Mariana forearc. The reduced character and the high pH inferred for these fluids make Archean serpentine mud volcanoes a particularly favorable setting for the early stabilization of amino acids. PMID:22006301

  5. Early Archean serpentine mud volcanoes at Isua, Greenland, as a niche for early life.

    PubMed

    Pons, Marie-Laure; Quitté, Ghylaine; Fujii, Toshiyuki; Rosing, Minik T; Reynard, Bruno; Moynier, Frederic; Douchet, Chantal; Albarède, Francis

    2011-10-25

    The Isua Supracrustal Belt, Greenland, of Early Archean age (3.81-3.70 Ga) represents the oldest crustal segment on Earth. Its complex lithology comprises an ophiolite-like unit and volcanic rocks reminiscent of boninites, which tie Isua supracrustals to an island arc environment. We here present zinc (Zn) isotope compositions measured on serpentinites and other rocks from the Isua supracrustal sequence and on serpentinites from modern ophiolites, midocean ridges, and the Mariana forearc. In stark contrast to modern midocean ridge and ophiolite serpentinites, Zn in Isua and Mariana serpentinites is markedly depleted in heavy isotopes with respect to the igneous average. Based on recent results of Zn isotope fractionation between coexisting species in solution, the Isua serpentinites were permeated by carbonate-rich, high-pH hydrothermal solutions at medium temperature (100-300 °C). Zinc isotopes therefore stand out as a pH meter for fossil hydrothermal solutions. The geochemical features of the Isua fluids resemble the interstitial fluids sampled in the mud volcano serpentinites of the Mariana forearc. The reduced character and the high pH inferred for these fluids make Archean serpentine mud volcanoes a particularly favorable setting for the early stabilization of amino acids.

  6. Examining Archean methanotrophy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slotznick, Sarah P.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2016-05-01

    The carbon isotope ratios preserved in sedimentary rocks can be used to fingerprint ancient metabolisms. Organic carbon in Late Archean samples stands out from that of other intervals with unusually low δ13C values (∼-45 to -60‰). It was hypothesized that these light compositions record ecosystem-wide methane cycling and methanotrophy, either of the aerobic or anaerobic variety. To test this idea, we studied the petrography and carbon and oxygen isotope systematics of well-known and spectacular occurrences of shallow water stromatolites from the 2.72 Ga Tumbiana Formation of Western Australia. We examined the carbonate cements and kerogen produced within the stromatolites, because methanotrophy is expected to leave an isotopic fingerprint in these carbon reservoirs. Mathematical modeling of Archean carbonate chemistry further reveals that methanotrophy should still have a discernible signature preserved in the isotopic record, somewhat diminished from those observed in Phanerozoic sedimentary basins due to higher dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations. These stromatolites contain kerogen with δ13Corg values of ∼ - 50 ‰. By microsampling different regions and textures within the stromatolites, we determined that the isotopic compositions of the authigenic calcite cements show a low degree of variation and are nearly identical to values estimated for seawater at this time; the lack of low and variable δ13Ccarb values implies that methanotrophy does not explain the low δ13Corg seen in the coeval kerogen. These observations do not support a methanotrophy hypothesis, but instead hint that the Late Archean may constitute an interval wherein autotrophs employed markedly different biochemical processes of energy conservation and carbon fixation.

  7. Tourmaline mineralization in the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa: early Archean metasomatism by evaporite-derived boron.

    PubMed

    Byerly, G R; Palmer, M R

    1991-05-01

    shallow-marine or subaerial sites, mineralizing algal stromatolites. The stromatolite-forming algae preferentially may have lived near the sites of hydrothermal discharge in Archean times.

  8. EVAPORITE MICROBIAL FILMS, MATS, MICROBIALITES AND STROMATOLITES

    SciT

    Brigmon, R; Penny Morris, P; Garriet Smith, G

    2008-01-28

    Evaporitic environments are found in a variety of depositional environments as early as the Archean. The depositional settings, microbial community and mineralogical composition vary significantly as no two settings are identical. The common thread linking all of the settings is that evaporation exceeds precipitation resulting in elevated concentrations of cations and anions that are higher than in oceanic systems. The Dead Sea and Storrs Lake are examples of two diverse modern evaporitic settings as the former is below sea level and the latter is a coastal lake on an island in the Caribbean. Each system varies in water chemistry asmore » the Dead Sea dissolved ions originate from surface weathered materials, springs, and aquifers while Storrs Lake dissolved ion concentration is primarily derived from sea water. Consequently some of the ions, i.e., Sr, Ba are found at significantly lower concentrations in Storrs Lake than in the Dead Sea. The origin of the dissolved ions are ultimately responsible for the pH of each system, alkaline versus mildly acidic. Each system exhibits unique biogeochemical properties as the extreme environments select certain microorganisms. Storrs Lake possesses significant biofilms and stromatolitic deposits and the alkalinity varies depending on rainfall and storm activity. The microbial community Storrs Lake is much more diverse and active than those observed in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea waters are mildly acidic, lack stromatolites, and possess a lower density of microbial populations. The general absence of microbial and biofilm fossilization is due to the depletion of HCO{sub 3} and slightly acidic pH.« less

  9. Keivy Paraschists (Archean-Early Proterozoic): Nanobacteria and Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astafieva, M. M.; Balaganskii, V. V.

    2018-05-01

    Nanobacteria, buried in situ, were discovered in the Early Precambrian paraschists (Keivy, Kola Peninsula). It is suggested that occurrence of nanobacteria indicates that a biological factor played a role in the formation of enclosing rocks.

  10. Petrochronology in constraining early Archean Earth processes and environments: Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosch, Eugene

    2017-04-01

    Analytical and petrological software developments over the past decade have seen rapid innovation in high-spatial resolution petrological techniques, for example, laser-ablation ICP-MS, secondary ion microprobe (SIMS, nano-SIMS), thermodynamic modelling and electron microprobe microscale mapping techniques (e.g. XMapTools). This presentation will focus on the application of petrochronology to ca. 3.55 to 3.33 billion-year-old metavolcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Onverwacht Group, shedding light on the earliest geologic evolution of the Paleoarchean Barberton greenstone belt (BGB) of South Africa. The field, scientific drilling and petrological research conducted over the past 8 years, aims to illustrate how: (a) LA-ICP-MS and SIMS U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology has helped identify the earliest tectono-sedimentary basin and sediment sources in the BGB, as well as reconstructing geodynamic processes as early as ca. 3.432 billion-years ago; (b) in-situ SIMS multiple sulphur isotope analysis of sulphides across various early Archean rock units help to reconstruct atmospheric, surface and subsurface environments on early Archean Earth and (c) the earliest candidate textural traces for subsurface microbial life can be investigated by in-situ LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating of titanite, micro-XANES Fe-speciation analysis and metamorphic microscale mapping. Collectively, petrochronology combined with high-resolution field mapping studies, is a powerful multi-disciplinary approach towards deciphering petrogenetic and geodynamic processes preserved in the Paleoarchean Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa, with implications for early Archean Earth evolution.

  11. Evidence for reactive reduced phosphorus species in the early Archean ocean

    PubMed Central

    Pasek, Matthew A.; Harnmeijer, Jelte P.; Buick, Roger; Gull, Maheen; Atlas, Zachary

    2013-01-01

    It has been hypothesized that before the emergence of modern DNA–RNA–protein life, biology evolved from an “RNA world.” However, synthesizing RNA and other organophosphates under plausible early Earth conditions has proved difficult, with the incorporation of phosphorus (P) causing a particular problem because phosphate, where most environmental P resides, is relatively insoluble and unreactive. Recently, it has been proposed that during the Hadean–Archean heavy bombardment by extraterrestrial impactors, meteorites would have provided reactive P in the form of the iron–nickel phosphide mineral schreibersite. This reacts in water, releasing soluble and reactive reduced P species, such as phosphite, that could then be readily incorporated into prebiotic molecules. Here, we report the occurrence of phosphite in early Archean marine carbonates at levels indicating that this was an abundant dissolved species in the ocean before 3.5 Ga. Additionally, we show that schreibersite readily reacts with an aqueous solution of glycerol to generate phosphite and the membrane biomolecule glycerol–phosphate under mild thermal conditions, with this synthesis using a mineral source of P. Phosphite derived from schreibersite was, hence, a plausible reagent in the prebiotic synthesis of phosphorylated biomolecules and was also present on the early Earth in quantities large enough to have affected the redox state of P in the ocean. Phosphorylated biomolecules like RNA may, thus, have first formed from the reaction of reduced P species with the prebiotic organic milieu on the early Earth. PMID:23733935

  12. Very early Archean crustal-accretion complexes preserved in the North Atlantic craton

    SciT

    Nutman, A.P.; Collerson, K.D.

    1991-08-01

    The North Atlantic craton contains very early Archean supracrustal rocks, orthogneisses, and massive ultramafic rocks. Most units of supracrustal rocks are dominated by mafic volcanic rocks, layered gabbros, and banded iron formations, bust some also contain abundant felsic volcanic-sedimentary rocks, quartzites, and marbles. Some quartzites contain detrital zircons derived from rocks identical in age to felsic volcanic-sedimentary rocks in these sequences (ca. 3800 Ma) and also from older (ca. 3850 Ma) sources. The presence of the ca. 3850 Ma detrital zircons suggests that the supracrustal units containing them were deposited on, or close to, ca. 3850 Ma sialic crust. Themore » massive ultramafic rocks have chemical affinities to upper mantle rocks. The voluminous suites of tonalitic gneisses are dominated by 3700-3730 Ma bodies that intrude the supracrustal sequences, but they also locally contain components with ages between 3820 and 3920 Ma. The diverse supracrustal units, upper mantle rocks, and {ge} 3820 Ma components in the gneisses were tectonically interleaved in very early Archean convergent plate boundaries, giving rise to accretion complexes. In the period 3700-3730 Ma, voluminous tonalitic magmas produced by partial melting of predominantly mafic rocks in the base of the accretion complexes were emplaced at higher levels, forming juvenile continental crust and leaving behind a refractory lower crustal to upper mantle substrate.« less

  13. Diversity of Microfossils and Preservation of Thermally Altered Stromatolites from Anomalous Precambrian Paleoenvironments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osterhout, Jeffrey Thomas

    Studies of Precambrian life on Earth have been dominated by those of shallow marine deposits, and in order to gain a more complete picture of life's early evolution it is important to consider a wider range of inhabited environments, including deep marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Evidence for early microbial life comes primarily from fossil microorganisms (microfossils), microbial sedimentary structures (e.g., stromatolites), and sedimentary organic matter (e.g., kerogen). The diversity and preservation of these different forms of fossil evidence introduces several challenges to their interpretation, requiring thorough analysis for accurately determining their biological origins. Investigating the paleobiology, organic geochemistry, and thermal maturity of such deposits provides a holistic approach to exploring the Precambrian biosphere in unfamiliar paleoenvironments. This thesis presents two studies of unique Precambrian ecosystems: a diverse microfossil assemblage from a 2.52-billion-year-old (Ga) deep marine deposit, and thermally altered stromatolites from a 1.4-billion-year-old evaporitic lacustrine deposit. Black cherts from the upper Gamohaan Formation (2.52 Ga) contain a consortium of organic-walled large and small coccoids, tubular filaments, and mat-like biofilm structures. Geochemical analyses of stromatolitic chert-carbonate from the Middlebrun Bay Member (1.4 Ga) in contact with a mafic sill show a trend in organic carbon isotopes relative to thermal maturity that is contrary to theoretical predictions. Findings from these studies reveal, for the first time, microfossil evidence of a diverse microbial community in the open Archean ocean prior to the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) 2.4 billion years ago, and provide insight on the relationship between thermal maturity and organic carbon isotopes within a set of terrestrial stromatolites. Together, these studies help capture the enigmatic nature of the Precambrian fossil record and expand our full

  14. Abiological origin of described stromatolites older than 3.2 Ga

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.

    1994-01-01

    The three well-documented occurrences of three-dimensional stromatolites older than 3.2 Ga meet most criteria for biogenicity except the presence of fossil bacteria. However, they also show features more consistent with nonbiological origins. Small conical structures in the Strelley Pool chert in the upper part of the Warrawoona Group (3.5-3.2 Ga), Western Australia, lack the structure typical of stromatolites and probably formed mainly through evaporitc precipitation. A domal structure from the North Pole chert, Warrawoona Group, formed by soft-sediment deformation or originally flat layers. Laminated chert containing domal and pseudocolumnar structures in the Onverwacht Group (3.5-3.3 Ga), Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, extends downward into veins and cavities, where it formed through inorganic precipitation. Although bacterial communities were widespread on Earth prior to 3.2 Ga, these particular three-dimensional structures are probably abiotic in origin and do not provide information on the paleobiology or paleoecology of early organisms. The paucity of Archean stromatolites older than 3.2 Ga probably reflects the paucity of known and possibly extant carbonate deposits of this age.

  15. Early Proterozoic activity on Archean faults in the western Superior province - evidence from pseudotachylite

    Peterman, Z.E.; Day, W.

    1989-01-01

    Major transcurrent faults in the Superior province developed in the Late Archean at the close of the Kenoran orogeny. Reactivation of some of these faults late in the Early Proterozoic is indicated by Rb-Sr analyses of pseudotachylite from the Rainy Lake-Seine River and Quetico faults in the Rainy Lake region of Minnesota and Ontario. Fault veins of pseudotachylite and immediately adjacent country rock at two localities yielded subparallel isochrons that are pooled for an age of 1947??23 Ma. K-Ar and Rb-Sr biotite ages register earlier regional cooling of the terrane at about 2500 Ma with no evidence of younger thermal overprinting at temperatures exceeding 300??C. Accordingly, the 1947??23 Ma age is interpreted as dating the formation of the pseudotachylite. Reactivation of existing faults at this time was caused by stresses transmitted from margins of the Superior province where compressional tectonic events were occurring. -Authors

  16. River Valley pluton, Ontario - A late-Archean/early-Proterozoic anorthositic intrusion in the Grenville Province

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ashwal, Lewis D.; Wooden, Joseph L.

    1989-01-01

    This paper presents Nd, Sr, and Pb isotopic data indicating a late-Archean/early-Proterozoic age for the River Valley anorthositic pluton of the southwestern Grenville Province of Sudbury, Ontario. Pb-Pb isotopic data on 10 whole-rock samples ranging in composition from anorthosite to gabbro yield an age of 2560 + or - 155 Ma. The River Valley pluton is thus the oldest anorthositic intrusive yet recognized within the Grenville Province. The Sm-Nd isotopic system records an age of 2377 + or - 68 Ma. High Pb-208/Pb-204 of deformed samples relative to igneous-textured rocks implies Th introduction and/or U loss during metamorphism in the River Valley area. Rb-Sr data from igneous-textured and deformed samples and from mineral separates give an age of 2185 + or - 105 Ma, indicating substantial disturbance of the Rb-Sr isotopic system.

  17. Identification of an Archean marine oxygen oasis

    SciT

    Riding, Dr Robert E; Fralick, Dr Philip; Liang, Liyuan

    2014-01-01

    The early Earth was essentially anoxic. A number of indicators suggest the presence of oxygenic photosynthesis 2700 3000 million years (Ma) ago, but direct evidence for molecular oxygen (O2) in seawater has remained elusive. Here we report rare earth element (REE) analyses of 2800 million year old shallowmarine limestones and deep-water iron-rich sediments at Steep Rock Lake, Canada. These show that the seawater from which extensive shallow-water limestones precipitated was oxygenated, whereas the adjacent deeper waters where iron-rich sediments formed were not. We propose that oxygen promoted limestone precipitation by oxidative removal of dissolved ferrous iron species, Fe(II), to insolublemore » Fe(III) oxyhydroxide, and estimate that at least 10.25 M oxygen concentration in seawater was required to accomplish this at Steep Rock. This agrees with the hypothesis that an ample supply of dissolved Fe(II) in Archean oceans would have hindered limestone formation. There is no direct evidence for the oxygen source at Steep Rock, but organic carbon isotope values and diverse stromatolites in the limestones suggest the presence of cyanobacteria. Our findings support the view that during the Archean significant oxygen levels first developed in protected nutrient-rich shallow marine habitats. They indicate that these environments were spatially restricted, transient, and promoted limestone precipitation. If Archean marine limestones in general reflect localized oxygenic removal of dissolved iron at the margins of otherwise anoxic iron-rich seas, then early oxygen oases are less elusive than has been assumed.« less

  18. Strontium and neodymium isotopic variations in early Archean gneisses affected by middle to late Archean high-grade metamorphic processes: West Greenland and Labrador

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collerson, K. D.; Mcculloch, M. T.; Bridgwater, D.; Mcgregor, V. R.; Nutman, A. P.

    1986-01-01

    Relicts of continental crust formed more than 3400 Ma ago are preserved fortuitously in most cratons. The cratons provide the most direct information about crust and mantle evolutionary processes during the first billion years of Earth history. In view of their polymetamorphic character, these terrains are commonly affected by subsequent tectonothermal events. Hence, their isotope systematics may be severely disturbed as a result of bulk chemical change or local isotopic homogenization. This leads to equivocal age and source information for different components within these terrains. The Sr and Nd isotopic data are presented for early Archean gneisses from the North Atlantic Craton in west Greenland and northern Labrador which were affected by younger metamorphic events.

  19. EAG Eminent Speaker: Two types of Archean continental crust: plume and plate tectonics on early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Kranendonk, M. J.

    2012-04-01

    Over 4.5 billion years, Earth has evolved from a molten ball to a cooler planet with large continental plates, but how and when continents grew and plate tectonics started remain poorly understood. In this paper, I review the evidence that 3.5-3.2 Ga continental nuclei of the Pilbara (Australia) and Kaapvaal (southern Africa) cratons formed as thick volcanic plateaux over hot, upwelling mantle and survived due to contemporaneous development of highly depleted, buoyant, unsubductable mantle roots. This type of crust is distinct from, but complimentary to, high-grade gneiss terranes, as exemplified by the North Atlantic Craton of West Greenland, which formed through subduction-accretion tectonics on what is envisaged as a vigorously convecting early Earth with small plates. Thus, it is proposed that two types of crust formed on early Earth, in much the same way as in modern Earth, but with distinct differences resulting from a hotter Archean mantle. Volcanic plateaux provided a variety of stable habitats for early life, including chemical nutrient rich, shallow-water hydrothermal systems and shallow marine carbonate platforms.

  20. In search of early life: Carbonate veins in Archean metamorphic rocks as potential hosts of biomarkers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peters, Carl A.; Piazolo, Sandra; Webb, Gregory E.; Dutkiewicz, Adriana; George, Simon C.

    2016-11-01

    The detection of early life signatures using hydrocarbon biomarkers in Precambrian rocks struggles with contamination issues, unspecific biomarkers and the lack of suitable sedimentary rocks due to extensive thermal overprints. Importantly, host rocks must not have been exposed to temperatures above 250 °C as at these temperatures biomarkers are destroyed. Here we show that Archean sedimentary rocks from the Jeerinah Formation (2.63 billion yrs) and Carawine Dolomite (2.55 billion yrs) of the Pilbara Craton (Western Australia) drilled by the Agouron Institute in 2012, which previously were suggested to be suitable for biomarker studies, were metamorphosed to the greenschist facies. This is higher than previously reported. Both the mineral assemblages (carbonate, quartz, Fe-chlorite, muscovite, microcline, rutile, and pyrite with absence of illite) and chlorite geothermometry suggest that the rocks were exposed to temperatures higher than 300 °C and probably ∼400 °C, consistent with greenschist-facies metamorphism. This facies leads to the destruction of any biomarkers and explains why the extraction of hydrocarbon biomarkers from pristine drill cores has not been successful. However, we show that the rocks are cut by younger formation-specific carbonate veins containing primary oil-bearing fluid inclusions and solid bitumens. Type 1 veins in the Carawine Dolomite consist of dolomite, quartz and solid bitumen, whereas type 2 veins in the Jeerinah Formation consist of calcite. Within the veins fluid inclusion homogenisation temperatures and calcite twinning geothermometry indicate maximum temperatures of ∼200 °C for type 1 veins and ∼180 °C for type 2 veins. Type 1 veins have typical isotopic values for reprecipitated Archean sea-water carbonates, with δ13CVPDB ranging from - 3 ‰ to 0‰ and δ18OVPDB ranging from - 13 ‰ to - 7 ‰, while type 2 veins have isotopic values that are similar to hydrothermal carbonates, with δ13CVPDB ranging from - 18

  1. Metasomatic alteration of an early Archean komatiite sequence into chert: field and petrographic evidence

    SciT

    Duchac, K.C.; Hanor, J.S.

    Stratiform units of pervasively silicified ultramafic rock occur near the top of the Onverwacht group, Barberton Mountian Land, South Africa. The origin of these units has been variously ascribed to early Archean subaerial weathering, submarine weathering, cataclastic metamorphism, and the alteration of silicic tuffs at the top of mafic to felsic volcanic sequences. The authors have studied a 40 m thick stratigraphic sequence that is exceptionally well-exposed for 1.5 km within the Skokohla River valley. Well-preserved ghosts of spinifex- and cumulate-olivines and pyroxenes establish the komatiitic ancestry of these rocks. The entire sequence has been pervasively altered, however, to chertsmore » dominated by quartz and Cr-rich muscovite and containing lesser and variable amounts of chlorite, dolomite, rutile, and chrome spinel. The present Skokohla rocks can be divided into five distinct correlatable facies of laterally variable thickness which probably represent different flow units. Alteration apparently occurred early, prior to any significant tectonic deformation. The observed pervasive sericitization is inconsistent with an origin by subaerial weathering. It is most likely that the sequence was altered by large volumes of ascending hydrothermal fluids.« less

  2. Archean greenstone-tonalite duality: Thermochemical mantle convection models or plate tectonics in the early Earth global dynamics?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerrich, Robert; Polat, Ali

    2006-03-01

    Mantle convection and plate tectonics are one system, because oceanic plates are cold upper thermal boundary layers of the convection cells. As a corollary, Phanerozoic-style of plate tectonics or more likely a different version of it (i.e. a larger number of slowly moving plates, or similar number of faster plates) is expected to have operated in the hotter, vigorously convecting early Earth. Despite the recent advances in understanding the origin of Archean greenstone-granitoid terranes, the question regarding the operation of plate tectonics in the early Earth remains still controversial. Numerical model outputs for the Archean Earth range from predominantly shallow to flat subduction between 4.0 and 2.5 Ga and well-established steep subduction since 2.5 Ga [Abbott, D., Drury, R., Smith, W.H.F., 1994. Flat to steep transition in subduction style. Geology 22, 937-940], to no plate tectonics but rather foundering of 1000 km sectors of basaltic crust, then "resurfaced" by upper asthenospheric mantle basaltic melts that generate the observed duality of basalts and tonalities [van Thienen, P., van den Berg, A.P., Vlaar, N.J., 2004a. Production and recycling of oceanic crust in the early earth. Tectonophysics 386, 41-65; van Thienen, P., Van den Berg, A.P., Vlaar, N.J., 2004b. On the formation of continental silicic melts in thermochemical mantle convection models: implications for early Earth. Tectonophysics 394, 111-124]. These model outputs can be tested against the geological record. Greenstone belt volcanics are composites of komatiite-basalt plateau sequences erupted from deep mantle plumes and bimodal basalt-dacite sequences having the geochemical signatures of convergent margins; i.e. horizontally imbricated plateau and island arc crust. Greenstone belts from 3.8 to 2.5 Ga include volcanic types reported from Cenozoic convergent margins including: boninites; arc picrites; and the association of adakites-Mg andesites- and Nb-enriched basalts. Archean cratons

  3. NanoSIMS Sheds Light on the Origin and Significance of Early Archean Organic Microstructures from the Pilbara of Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.; Robert, Francois; Meibom, Anders; Mostefaoui, Smail; Selo, Madeleine; Walter, Malcolm, R.; Sugitani, Kenichiro; Allwood, Abigail; Gibson, Everett K.

    2008-01-01

    NanoSIMS was used to characterize sub-micron scale morphology and elemental composition (C, N, S, Si, O) of organic microstructures in Early Archean (3 - 3.4 Ga) charts from the Pilbara of Western Australia. Three categories of structures were analyzed: small spheroids in clusters; spindle-shaped remains; and large spheroids. All are relatively poorly preserved and occur within the chert matrix of the samples. Carbonaceous material in a secondary hydrothermal vein also was analyzed, as an example of non-indigenous organic matter. Comparisons were made of NanoSIMS characteristics of the Archean samples and those from well-preserved, biogenic microfossils in the 0.8 Ga Bitter Springs Formation. The comparisons show that the Pilbara microstructures are generally distinct from material in the hydrothermal vein but similar in morphology and elemental composition to the Bitter Springs microfossils. In addition, the Pilbara structures exhibit a spatial relationship to silicon and oxygen that seemingly reflects silica nucleation on organic surfaces; this argues that the organic frameworks of the Archean structures were present in the sediment during crystallization of the silica matrix. The structures are thus interpreted as being indigenous to the enclosing sediment. While these results are suggestive of Early Archean biogenicity and are consistent with a growing body of data suggesting that life on Earth was well established by 3 to 3.4 Ga, work is continuing to determine the N/C and 13C ratios of individual forms, and this should provide additional insight into the derivation and significance of these ancient organic remains.

  4. Multiple sulfur-isotope signatures in Archean sulfates and their implications for the chemistry and dynamics of the early atmosphere

    PubMed Central

    Muller, Élodie; Philippot, Pascal; Rollion-Bard, Claire; Cartigny, Pierre

    2016-01-01

    Sulfur isotopic anomalies (∆33S and ∆36S) have been used to trace the redox evolution of the Precambrian atmosphere and to document the photochemistry and transport properties of the modern atmosphere. Recently, it was shown that modern sulfate aerosols formed in an oxidizing atmosphere can display important isotopic anomalies, thus questioning the significance of Archean sulfate deposits. Here, we performed in situ 4S-isotope measurements of 3.2- and 3.5-billion-year (Ga)-old sulfates. This in situ approach allows us to investigate the diversity of Archean sulfate texture and mineralogy with unprecedented resolution and from then on to deconvolute the ocean and atmosphere Archean sulfur cycle. A striking feature of our data is a bimodal distribution of δ34S values at ∼+5‰ and +9‰, which is matched by modern sulfate aerosols. The peak at +5‰ represents barite of different ages and host-rock lithology showing a wide range of ∆33S between −1.77‰ and +0.24‰. These barites are interpreted as primary volcanic emissions formed by SO2 photochemical processes with variable contribution of carbonyl sulfide (OCS) shielding in an evolving volcanic plume. The δ34S peak at +9‰ is associated with non–33S-anomalous barites displaying negative ∆36S values, which are best interpreted as volcanic sulfate aerosols formed from OCS photolysis. Our findings confirm the occurrence of a volcanic photochemical pathway specific to the early reduced atmosphere but identify variability within the Archean sulfate isotope record that suggests persistence throughout Earth history of photochemical reactions characteristic of the present-day stratosphere. PMID:27330111

  5. The Archean crust in the Wawa-Chapleau-Timmins region. A field guidebook prepared for the 1983 Archean Geochemistry-Early Crustal Genesis Field Conference

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Percival, J. A.; Card, K. D.; Sage, R. P.; Jensen, L. S.; Luhta, L. E.

    1983-01-01

    This guidebook describes the characteristics and interrelationships of Archean greenstone-granite and high-grade gneiss terrains of the Superior Province. A 300-km long west to east transect between Wawa and Timmins, Ontario will be used to illustrate regional-scale relationships. The major geological features of the Superior Province are described.

  6. Early Archean sialic crust of the Siberian craton: Its composition and origin of magmatic protoliths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vovna, G. M.; Mishkin, M. A.; Sakhno, V. G.; Zarubina, N. V.

    2009-12-01

    This study demonstrates that the base of the Archean deep-seated granulite complexes within the Siberian craton consists of a metabasite-enderbite association. The major and trace element distribution patterns revealed that the protoliths of this association are represented by calc-alkaline andesites and dacites, containing several minor sequences of komatiitic-tholeiitic volcanic rocks. The origin of the primary volcanic rocks of the metabasite-enderbite association is inferred on the basis of a model of mantle plume magmatism, which postulates that both andesitic and dacitic melts were derived from the primary basitic crust at the expense of heat generated by ascending mantle plumes. The formation of the protoliths of the Archen metabasite-enderbite association of the Siberian craton began at 3.4 Ga and continued until the late Archean.

  7. Archean sedimentary systems and crustal evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.

    1985-01-01

    Current knowledge of preserved Archean sedimentary rocks suggests that they accumulated in at least three major depositional settings. These are represented generally by sedimentary units: (1) in early Archean, pre-3.0 Ga old greenstone belts, (2) on late Archean sialic cratons, and (3) in late Archean, post-3.0 Ga old greenstone belts. Research suggests that the Archean was characterized by at least two distinctive and largely diachronous styles of crustal evolution. Thick, stable early Archean simatic platforms, perhaps analogous to modern oceanic islands formed over hot spots, underwent a single cycle of cratonization to form stable continental blocks in the early Archean. Later formed Archean continents show a two stage evolution. The initial stage is reflected in the existence of older sialic material, perhaps representing incompletely cratonized areas or microcontinents of as yet unknown origin. During the second stage, late Archean greenstone belts, perhaps analogous to modern magmatic arcs or back arc basins, developed upon or adjacent to these older sialic blocks. The formation of this generation of Archean continents was largely complete by the end of the Archean. These results suggest that Archean greenstone belts may represent a considerable range of sedimentological and tectonic settings.

  8. Organic compounds in fluid inclusions of Archean quartz-Analogues of prebiotic chemistry on early Earth.

    PubMed

    Schreiber, Ulrich; Mayer, Christian; Schmitz, Oliver J; Rosendahl, Pia; Bronja, Amela; Greule, Markus; Keppler, Frank; Mulder, Ines; Sattler, Tobias; Schöler, Heinz F

    2017-01-01

    The origin of life is still an unsolved mystery in science. Hypothetically, prebiotic chemistry and the formation of protocells may have evolved in the hydrothermal environment of tectonic fault zones in the upper continental crust, an environment where sensitive molecules are protected against degradation induced e.g. by UV radiation. The composition of fluid inclusions in minerals such as quartz crystals which have grown in this environment during the Archean period might provide important information about the first organic molecules formed by hydrothermal synthesis. Here we present evidence for organic compounds which were preserved in fluid inclusions of Archean quartz minerals from Western Australia. We found a variety of organic compounds such as alkanes, halocarbons, alcohols and aldehydes which unambiguously show that simple and even more complex prebiotic organic molecules have been formed by hydrothermal processes. Stable-isotope analysis confirms that the methane found in the inclusions has most likely been formed from abiotic sources by hydrothermal chemistry. Obviously, the liquid phase in the continental Archean crust provided an interesting choice of functional organic molecules. We conclude that organic substances such as these could have made an important contribution to prebiotic chemistry which might eventually have led to the formation of living cells.

  9. Heliotropism in modern stromatolites

    SciT

    Awramik, S.M.

    1985-01-01

    Three different examples of modern microbial mats and stromatolites have been discovered that exhibit a preferred orientation towards specular sunlight. In Hamelin Pool of Shark Bay, Western Australia, subtidal decimeter-sized discrete columns and intertidal centimeter-sized tufts were found pointing north. In thermal spring effluents and pools of Yellowstone National Park, columnar and conical centimeter-sized microbial structures were found to be inclined to the south. None of these inclined structures show growth orientation in response to prevailing fluid directions. Each example occurs in markedly different environments and each has different photosynthetic microbes: (1) the subtidal Shark Bay columns are dominated bymore » surficial diatoms: (2) the intertidal Shark Bay tufts constructed by a filamentous cyanobacterium; and (3) the cones and columns in Yellowstone are built by filamentous flexibacteria and cyanobacteria. Sunlight must be considered a major driving force in stromatolite morphogenesis. Extrapolation of these modern heliotropic columnar stromatolites to fossil examples supports the paleolatitude hypothesis of Vologdin (1961) and of Nordeng (1963) and the days per year hypothesis of Vanyo and Awramik (1982). Taken together, and especially when combined with paleomagnetic analyses, the procedures yield an impressive array of data on Earth and Earth-Sun-Moon histories.« less

  10. Growth of modern branched columnar stromatolites in Lake Joyce, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Mackey, T J; Sumner, D Y; Hawes, I; Jungblut, A D; Andersen, D T

    2015-07-01

    Modern decimeter-scale columnar stromatolites from Lake Joyce, Antarctica, show a change in branching pattern during a period of lake level rise. Branching patterns correspond to a change in cyanobacterial community composition as preserved in authigenic calcite crystals. The transition in stromatolite morphology is preserved by mineralized layers that contain microfossils and cylindrical molds of cyanobacterial filaments. The molds are composed of two populations with different diameters. Large diameter molds (>2.8 μm) are abundant in calcite forming the oldest stromatolite layers, but are absent from younger layers. In contrast, <2.3 μm diameter molds are common in all stromatolites layers. Loss of large diameter molds corresponds to the transition from smooth-sided stromatolitic columns to branched and irregular columns. Mold diameters are similar to trichome diameters of the four most abundant living cyanobacteria morphotypes in Lake Joyce: Phormidium autumnale morphotypes have trichome diameters >3.5 μm, whereas Leptolyngbya antarctica, L. fragilis, and Pseudanabaena frigida morphotypes have diameters <2.3 μm. P. autumnale morphotypes were only common in mats at <12 m depth. Mats containing abundant P. autumnale morphotypes were smooth, whereas mats with few P. autumnale morphotypes contained small peaks and protruding bundles of filaments, suggesting that the absence of P. autumnale morphotypes allowed small-scale topography to develop on mats. Comparisons of living filaments and mold diameters suggest that P. autumnale morphotypes were present early in stromatolite growth, but disappeared from the community through time. We hypothesize that the mat-smoothing behavior of P. autumnale morphotypes inhibited nucleation of stromatolite branches. When P. autumnale morphotypes were excluded from the community, potentially reflecting a rise in lake level, short-wavelength roughness provided nuclei for stromatolite branches. This growth history provides a

  11. Biomorphic microstructures of ferromanganese stromatolites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avdonin, V. V.; Yeryomin, N. I.; Zhegallo, E. A.; Sergeyeva, N. E.

    2016-11-01

    It was found as a result of detailed study of ferromanganese stromatolites that columnar formations, i.e., fossilized stratified bacterial tufts with rhythmically alternating layers of glycocalyx, accumulations of filamentous bacteria, and lens-shaped two-layered (alternation of homogeneous microlayers with porous ones containing filamentous bacteria trichomes) packages, serve as the basis for stromatolite buildup.

  12. Light-Dependant Biostabilisation of Sediments by Stromatolite Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Paterson, David M.; Aspden, Rebecca J.; Visscher, Pieter T.; Consalvey, Mireille; Andres, Miriam S.; Decho, Alan W.; Stolz, John; Reid, R. Pamela

    2008-01-01

    For the first time we have investigated the natural ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages. Stromatolites are laminated sedimentary structures formed by microbial activity and are considered to have dominated the shallows of the Precambrian oceans. Their fossilised remains are the most ancient unambiguous record of early life on earth. Stromatolites can therefore be considered as the first recognisable ecosystems on the planet. However, while many discussions have taken place over their structure and form, we have very little information on their functional ecology and how such assemblages persisted despite strong eternal forcing from wind and waves. The capture and binding of sediment is clearly a critical feature for the formation and persistence of stromatolite assemblages. Here, we investigated the ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages with respect to their ability to stabilise sediment using material from one of the few remaining living stromatolite systems (Highborne Cay, Bahamas). It was shown that the most effective assemblages could produce a rapid (12–24 h) and significant increase in sediment stability that continued in a linear fashion over the period of the experimentation (228 h). Importantly, it was also found that light was required for the assemblages to produce this stabilisation effect and that removal of assemblage into darkness could lead to a partial reversal of the stabilisation. This was attributed to the breakdown of extracellular polymeric substances under anaerobic conditions. These data were supported by microelectrode profiling of oxygen and calcium. The structure of the assemblages as they formed was visualised by low-temperature scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy. These results have implications for the understanding of early stromatolite development and highlight the potential importance of the evolution of photosynthesis in the mat forming

  13. Light-dependant biostabilisation of sediments by stromatolite assemblages.

    PubMed

    Paterson, David M; Aspden, Rebecca J; Visscher, Pieter T; Consalvey, Mireille; Andres, Miriam S; Decho, Alan W; Stolz, John; Reid, R Pamela

    2008-09-10

    For the first time we have investigated the natural ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages. Stromatolites are laminated sedimentary structures formed by microbial activity and are considered to have dominated the shallows of the Precambrian oceans. Their fossilised remains are the most ancient unambiguous record of early life on earth. Stromatolites can therefore be considered as the first recognisable ecosystems on the planet. However, while many discussions have taken place over their structure and form, we have very little information on their functional ecology and how such assemblages persisted despite strong eternal forcing from wind and waves. The capture and binding of sediment is clearly a critical feature for the formation and persistence of stromatolite assemblages. Here, we investigated the ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages with respect to their ability to stabilise sediment using material from one of the few remaining living stromatolite systems (Highborne Cay, Bahamas). It was shown that the most effective assemblages could produce a rapid (12-24 h) and significant increase in sediment stability that continued in a linear fashion over the period of the experimentation (228 h). Importantly, it was also found that light was required for the assemblages to produce this stabilisation effect and that removal of assemblage into darkness could lead to a partial reversal of the stabilisation. This was attributed to the breakdown of extracellular polymeric substances under anaerobic conditions. These data were supported by microelectrode profiling of oxygen and calcium. The structure of the assemblages as they formed was visualised by low-temperature scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy. These results have implications for the understanding of early stromatolite development and highlight the potential importance of the evolution of photosynthesis in the mat forming process

  14. Diversity in the Archean Biosphere: New Insights from NanoSIMS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.; Robert, François; Walter, Malcolm R.; Sugitani, Kenichiro; Meibom, Anders; Mostefaoui, Smail; Gibson, Everett K.

    2010-05-01

    The origin of organic microstructures in the ˜3 Ga Farrel Quartzite is controversial due to their relatively poor state of preservation, the Archean age of the cherts in which they occur, and the unusual spindle-like morphology of some of the forms. To provide more insight into the significance of these microstructures, nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) maps of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, silicon, and oxygen were obtained for spheroidal and spindle-shaped constituents of the Farrel Quartzite assemblage. Results suggest that the structures are all bona fide ˜3 Ga microfossils. The spindles demonstrate an architecture that is remarkable for 3 Ga organisms. They are relatively large, robust, and morphologically complex. The NanoSIMS element maps corroborate their complexity by demonstrating an intricate, internal network of organic material that fills many of the spindles and extends continuously from the body of these structures into their spearlike appendages. Results from this study combine with previous morphological and chemical analyses to argue that the microstructures in the Farrel Quartzite comprise a diverse assemblage of Archean microfossils. This conclusion adds to a growing body of geochemical, stromatolitic, and morphological evidence that indicates the Archean biosphere was varied and well established by at least ˜3 Ga. Together, the data paint a picture of Archean evolution that is one of early development of morphological and chemical complexity. The evidence for Archean evolutionary innovation may augur well for the possibility that primitive life on other planets could adapt to adverse conditions by ready development of diversity in form and biochemistry.

  15. Early Archean (approximately 3.4 Ga) prokaryotic filaments from cherts of the apex basalt, Western Australia: The oldest cellularly preserved microfossils now known

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1991-01-01

    In comparison with that known from later geologic time, the Archean fossil record is miniscule: although literally hundreds of Proterozoic formations, containing more that 2800 occurrences of bona fide microfossils are now known, fewer than 30 units containing some 43 categories of putative microfossils (the vast majority of which are of questionable authenticity) have been reported from the Archean. Among the oldest known fossils are Early Archean filaments reported from cherts of the Towers Formation and the Apex Basalt of the 3.3-3.6 Ga-old Warrawoona Group of Western Australia. The paleobiologic significance of the Towers Formation microstructures is open to question: thin aggregated filaments are properly regarded as dubiomicrofossils (perhaps biogenic, but perhaps not); therefore, they cannot be regarded as firm evidence of Archean life. Although authentic, filamentous microfossiles were reported from a second Towers Formation locality, because the precise layer containing the fossiliferous cherts was not relocated, this discovery can neither be reconfirmed by the original collector nor confirmed independently by other investigators. Discovery of microfossils in bedded cherts of the Apex Basalt, the stratigraphic unit immediately overlying the Towers Formation, obviates the difficulties stored above. The cellularly preserved filaments of the Apex Basalt meet all of the criteria required of a bona fide Archean microfossils. Recent studies indicate that the Apex assemblage includes at least six morphotypes of uniseriate filaments, composed of barrel-shaped, discoidal, or quadrate cells and exhibiting rounded or conical terminal cells and medial bifurcated and paired half-cells that reflect the occurrence of prokaryotic binary cell division. Interestingly, the majority of these morphotypes are morphologically more similar to extant cyanobacteria than to modern filamentous bacteria. Prokaryotes seem clearly to have been hypobradytelic, and the evidence suggests

  16. Early Archean Spherule Beds: Chromium Isotopes Confirm Origin Through Multiple Impacts of Projectiles of Carbonaceous Chondrite Type

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kyte, Frank T.; Shukolyukov, Alex; Lugmair, Guenter W.; Lowe, Donald R.; Byerly, Gary R.

    2003-01-01

    Three Early Archean spherule beds from Barberton, South Africa, have anomalous Cr isotope compositions in addition to large Ir anomalies, confirming the presence of meteoritic material with a composition similar to that in carbonaceous chondrites. The extra-terrestrial components in beds S2, S3, and S4 are estimated to be approx. l%, 50% - 60%, and 15% - 30%, respectively. These beds are probably the distal, and possibly global, ejecta from major large-body impacts. These impacts were probably much larger than the Cretaceous-Tertiary event, and all occurred over an interval of approx. 20 m.y., implying an impactor flux at 3.2 Ga that was more than an order of magnitude greater than the present flux.

  17. Living Rocks in Connecticut River Headwaters: Ferromanganese Stromatolites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asikainen, C. A.

    2006-12-01

    Fossil microbialites abound from the Archean Eon (>3.5 x 102 years before present) until the Holocene and provide a major source of information about early life on Earth; living examples available to study are rare. Such structures are known from both marine and lacustrine environments world-wide and are composed of microbially-mediated deposition of iron and manganese oxide minerals. We discovered ferromanganese nodules with stromatolitic growth patterns in the western near-shore portion of Second Connecticut Lake, New Hampshire, United States. One of the three headwater lakes of the Connecticut River that extends from the United States/Canadian border to Long Island Sound, Second Connecticut Lake is located in the northern woods region of New Hampshire and covers an area of 5,204 km2. These three lakes were formed during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice sheet nearly 12,000 years ago, following the Last Glacial Maximum. The ferromanganese nodules found in Second Connecticut Lake form irregular but concentric rings around a central "nucleus" such as a pebble or cobble. Although similar structures are described in freshwater systems (e.g. Lake Oneida, New York and Lake Vermillion, Minnesota) the others lack the variety of morphologies, range of size distribution and continuous pavement coverage of those in the Second Connecticut Lake; and none has been reported from any of the six New England States. The most conspicuous and abundant of the four distinct morphotypes are a convex plate-like structure that forms concentric rings around a central nucleus such as a stone. They are supplemented by pavement-type, lattice-type, and tiny (<2 cm) variously shaped nodule structures. Comparable freshwater structures range from 5 to 20 cm in diameter whereas our individual nodules measure up to 43 cm and cover an area of 9.8 km2. Thus, these Second Connecticut Lake structures represent the most extensive living fresh water nodule deposit reported.

  18. Relationship between high- and low-grade Archean terranes: Implications for early Earth paleogeography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eriksson, K. A.

    1986-01-01

    The Western Gneiss Terrain (WGT) of the Yilgarn Block, Western Australia was studied. The WGT forms an arcuate belt of Archean gneisses that flank the western margin of the Yilgarn Block. In general the WGT is composed of high-grade orthogneisses and paragneisses which contain supracrustal belts composed largely of siliciclastic metasediments and subordinate iron formation. The platformal nature of the metasedimentary belts and lack of obvious metavolcanic lithologies contrasts with the composition of typical Yilgarn greenstones to the east. Radiometric data from WGT rocks indicates that these rocks are significantly older than Yilgarn rocks to the east (less than 3.3 Ga) and this has led to the suggestion that the WGT represents sialic basement to Yilgarn granite-greenstone belts. The Mount Narryer region exposes the northernmost occurrence of high-grade metasediments within the WGT and consists of quartz-rich clastic metasediments at upper amphibolite to granulite grade. Most occurrences of supracrustal rocks in this region comprise isolated lenses within the gneissic basement. However, at Mount Narryer a unique sequence of metaclastics with preserved bedding provide an unusual window into the parentage of similar supracrustal bodies in this region.

  19. Texture-specific Si isotope variations in Barberton Greenstone Belt cherts record low temperature fractionations in early Archean seawater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stefurak, Elizabeth J. T.; Fischer, Woodward W.; Lowe, Donald R.

    2015-02-01

    Sedimentary cherts are unusually abundant in early Archean (pre-3.0 Ga) sequences, suggesting a silica cycle that was profoundly different than the modern system. Previously applied for the purpose of paleothermometry, Si isotopes in ancient cherts can offer broader insight into mass fluxes and mechanisms associated with silica concentration, precipitation, diagenesis, and metamorphism. Early Archean cherts contain a rich suite of sedimentological and petrographic textures that document a history of silica deposition, cementation, silicification, and recrystallization. To add a new layer of insight into the chemistry of early cherts, we have used wavelength-dispersive spectroscopy and then secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to produce elemental and Si and O isotope ratio data from banded black-and-white cherts from the Onverwacht Group of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. This geochemical data is then interpreted in the framework of depositional and diagenetic timing of silica precipitation provided by geological observations. SIMS allows the comparison of Si and O isotope ratios of distinct silica phases, including black carbonaceous chert beds and bands (many including well-defined sedimentary grains), white relatively pure chert bands including primary silica granules, early cavity-filling cements, and later quartz-filled veins. Including all chert types and textures analyzed, the δ30Si dataset spans a range from -4.78‰ to +3.74‰, with overall mean 0.20‰, median 0.51‰, and standard deviation 1.30‰ (n = 1087). Most samples have broadly similar δ30Si distributions, but systematic texture-specific δ30Si differences are observed between white chert bands (mean +0.60‰, n = 750), which contain textures that represent primary and earliest diagenetic silica phases, and later cavity-filling cements (mean -1.41‰, n = 198). We observed variations at a ∼100 μm scale indicating a lack of Si isotope homogenization at this scale during

  20. Discovery of large conical stromatolites in Lake Untersee, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Andersen, D T; Sumner, D Y; Hawes, I; Webster-Brown, J; McKay, C P

    2011-05-01

    Lake Untersee is one of the largest (11.4 km(2)) and deepest (>160 m) freshwater lakes in East Antarctica. Located at 71°S the lake has a perennial ice cover, a water column that, with the exception of a small anoxic basin in the southwest of the lake, is well mixed, supersaturated with dissolved oxygen, alkaline (pH 10.4) and exceedingly clear. The floor of the lake is covered with photosynthetic microbial mats to depths of at least 100 m. These mats are primarily composed of filamentous cyanophytes and form two distinct macroscopic structures, one of which--cm-scale cuspate pinnacles dominated by Leptolyngbya spp.--is common in Antarctica, but the second--laminated, conical stromatolites that rise up to 0.5 m above the lake floor, dominated by Phormidium spp.--has not previously been reported in any modern environment. The laminae that form the conical stromatolites are 0.2-0.8 mm in thickness consisting of fine clays and organic material; carbon dating implies that laminations may occur on near decadal timescales. The uniformly steep sides (59.6 ± 2.5°) and the regular laminar structure of the cones suggest that they may provide a modern analog for growth of some of the oldest well-described Archean stromatolites. Mechanisms underlying the formation of these stromatolites are as yet unclear, but their growth is distinct from that of the cuspate pinnacles. The sympatric occurrence of pinnacles and cones related to microbial communities with distinct cyanobacterial compositions suggest that specific microbial behaviors underpin the morphological differences in the structures. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  1. New multi-scale perspectives on the stromatolites of Shark Bay, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Suosaari, E P; Reid, R P; Playford, P E; Foster, J S; Stolz, J F; Casaburi, G; Hagan, P D; Chirayath, V; Macintyre, I G; Planavsky, N J; Eberli, G P

    2016-02-03

    A recent field-intensive program in Shark Bay, Western Australia provides new multi-scale perspectives on the world's most extensive modern stromatolite system. Mapping revealed a unique geographic distribution of morphologically distinct stromatolite structures, many of them previously undocumented. These distinctive structures combined with characteristic shelf physiography define eight 'Stromatolite Provinces'. Morphological and molecular studies of microbial mat composition resulted in a revised growth model where coccoid cyanobacteria predominate in mat communities forming lithified discrete stromatolite buildups. This contradicts traditional views that stromatolites with the best lamination in Hamelin Pool are formed by filamentous cyanobacterial mats. Finally, analysis of internal fabrics of stromatolites revealed pervasive precipitation of microcrystalline carbonate (i.e. micrite) in microbial mats forming framework and cement that may be analogous to the micritic microstructures typical of Precambrian stromatolites. These discoveries represent fundamental advances in our knowledge of the Shark Bay microbial system, laying a foundation for detailed studies of stromatolite morphogenesis that will advance our understanding of benthic ecosystems on the early Earth.

  2. No Nd-142 Excess in the Early Archean Isua Gneiss IE 715-28

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Papanastassiou, D. A.; Sharma, M.; Ngo, H. H.; Wasserburg, G. J.; Dymek, R. F.

    2003-01-01

    There is abundant evidence for the existence of 146Sm in the early solar system and for preservation of effects in the 146Sm-142Nd system in differentiated meteorites ([1]; see recent discussion in Stewart et al. 1994). Information from the 182Hf-182W system, as revised by new careful work [2-3] also indicates that the Earth s core formed relatively early. It is in principle possible for early-formed crust and mantle reservoirs on Earth to have preserved evidence for 146Sm if such reservoirs were produced with high Sm/Nd fractionation and if they have remained isolated and closed since 4.3 Ga. The mean life of 146Sm of 149 Ma is sufficiently long to make this an intriguing possibility.

  3. Flow banding in basaltic pillow lavas from the Early Archean Hooggenoeg Formation, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robins, Brian; Sandstå, Nils Rune; Furnes, Harald; de Wit, Maarten

    2010-07-01

    Well-preserved pillow lavas in the uppermost part of the Early Archean volcanic sequence of the Hooggenoeg Formation in the Barberton Greenstone Belt exhibit pronounced flow banding. The banding is defined by mm to several cm thick alternations of pale green and a dark green, conspicuously variolitic variety of aphyric metabasalt. Concentrations of relatively immobile TiO2, Al2O3 and Cr in both varieties of lava are basaltic. Compositional differences between bands and variations in the lavas in general have been modified by alteration, but indicate mingling of two different basalts, one richer in TiO2, Al2O3, MgO, FeOt and probably Ni and Cr than the other, as the cause of the banding. The occurrence in certain pillows of blebs of dark metabasalt enclosed in pale green metabasalt, as well as cores of faintly banded or massive dark metabasalt, suggest that breakup into drops and slugs in the feeder channel to the lava flow initiated mingling. The inhomogeneous mixture was subsequently stretched and folded together during laminar shear flow through tubular pillows, while diffusion between bands led to partial homogenisation. The most common internal pattern defined by the flow banding in pillows is concentric. In some pillows the banding defines curious mushroom-like structures, commonly cored by dark, variolitic metabasalt, which we interpret as the result of secondary lateral flow due to counter-rotating, transverse (Dean) vortices induced by the axial flow of lava towards the flow front through bends, generally downward, in the tubular pillows. Other pillows exhibit weakly-banded or massive, dark, variolitic cores that are continuous with wedge-shaped apophyses and veins that intrude the flow banded carapace. These cores represent the flow of hotter and less viscous slugs of the dark lava type into cooled and stiffened pillows.

  4. Early Archean spherule beds of possible impact origin from Barberton, South Africa: A detailed mineralogical and geochemical study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koeberl, Christian; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Boer, Rudolf H.

    1992-01-01

    The Barberton Greenstone belt is a 3.5- to 3.2-Ga-old formation situated in the Swaziland Supergroup near Barberton, northeast Transvaal, South Africa. The belt includes a lower, predominantly volcanic sequence, and an upper sedimentary sequence (e.g., the Fig Tree Group). Within this upper sedimentary sequence, Lowe and Byerly identified a series of different beds of spherules with diameters of around 0.5-2 mm. Lowe and Byerly and Lowe et al. have interpreted these spherules to be condensates of rock vapor produced by large meteorite impacts in the early Archean. We have collected a series of samples from drill cores from the Mt. Morgan and Princeton sections near Barberton, as well as samples taken from underground exposures in the Sheba and Agnes mines. These samples seem much better preserved than the surface samples described by Lowe and Byerly and Lowe et al. Over a scale of just under 30 cm, several well-defined spherule beds are visible, interspaced with shales and/or layers of banded iron formation. Some spherules have clearly been deposited on top of a sedimentary unit because the shale layer shows indentions from the overlying spherules. Although fresher than the surface samples (e.g., spherule bed S-2), there is abundant evidence for extensive alteration, presumably by hydrothermal processes. In some sections of the cores sulfide mineralization is common. For our mineralogical and petrographical studies we have prepared detailed thin sections of all core and underground samples (as well as some surface samples from the S-2 layer for comparison). For geochemical work, layers with thicknesses in the order of 1-5 mm were separated from selected core and underground samples. The chemical analyses are being performed using neutron activation analysis in order to obtain data for about 35 trace elements in each sample. Major elements are being determined by XRF and plasma spectrometry. To clarify the history of the sulfide mineralization, sulfur isotopic

  5. Geochemistry and mineralogy of Early Archean spherule beds, Baberton Mountain Land, South Africa: Evidence for origin by impact doubtful

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koeberl, Christian; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Boer, Rudolf H.

    1993-09-01

    Spherule layers in the approximately 3.4 Ga Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, have been interpreted as being the result of large asteroid or comet impacts on the early earth. This interpretation was based, among other arguments, on the enrichment of siderophile elements, especially the platinum group elements. We made a detailed mineralogical, petrological and geochemical study of spherule bed samples taken from drill cores and underground esposures at the Princeton, Mt. Morgan and Sheba gold mines, as well as surface localities. The macrostructure of each sample (from within different spherule layer units) shows evidence for multiple (more than five) events over about 30 cm. The mineralogy provides evidence for extensive hydrothermal and metasomatic alterations of the spherule beds. Geochemical analyses of alternating spherule, shale and chert layers show no correlation between the siderophile elements (e.g., Ir, Co, Ni and Au), contrary to that which would be expected if the siderophile elements had an extraterrestrial source. Furthermore, no significant variation in the content of the siderophile elements was detected between spherule layers and shale layers; however, siderophile element contents are high only in layers containing abundant sulphide minerals and having high As, Sb, Se and Cr contents. We suggest that complex mineralizations, similar to those that have formed the Barberton Archean gold deposits or the Bon Accord deposit, were responsible for the siderophile element enrichments in the spherule beds. Nowhere else in the world have such multiple (or even single) spherule beds been observed, and none of the numerous known impact craters (or the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary) is associated with comparable spherule beds. Known impact debris usually contains less than 1% meteoritic component, if any at all, while Barberton spherules are anomalous in being extremely enriched compared to any known impact deposits.

  6. Workshop on the Early Earth: The Interval from Accretion to the Older Archean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, K. (Editor); Ashwal, L. D. (Editor)

    1985-01-01

    Presentation abstracts are compiled which address various issues in Earth developmental processes in the first one hundred million years. The session topics included: accretion of the Earth (processes accompanying immediately following the accretion, including core formation); impact records and other information from planets and the Moon relevant to early Earth history; isotopic patterns of the oldest rocks; and igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology of the oldest rocks.

  7. Evidence for ancient atmospheric xenon in Archean rocks and implications for the early evolution of the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pujol, M.; Marty, B.; Burnard, P.; Hofmann, A.

    2012-12-01

    The initial atmospheric xenon isotopic composition has been much debated over the last 4 decades. A Non radiogenic Earth Atmospheric xenon (NEA-Xe) composition has been proposed to be the best estimate of the initial signature ([1]). NEA-Xe consists of modern atmospheric Xe without fission (131-136Xe) or radioactive decay (129Xe) products. However, the isotope composition of such non-radiogenic xenon is very different to that of potential cosmochemical precursors such as solar or meteoritic Xe, as it is mass-fractionated by up to 3-4 % per amu relative to the potential precursors, and it is also elementally depleted relative to other noble gases. Because the Xe isotopic composition of the Archean appears to be intermediate between that of these cosmochemical end-members and that of the modern atmosphere, we argued that isotopic fractionation of atmospheric xenon did not occur early in Earth's history by hydrodynamic escape, as postulated by all other models ([1], [2], [3]), but instead was a continuous, long term process that lasted during at least the Hadean and Archean eons. Taken at face value, the decrease of the Xe isotopic fractionation from 1.6-2.1 % amu-1 3.5 Ga ago ([4]) to 1 % amu-1 3.0 Ga ago (Ar-Ar age in fluid inclusions trapped in quartz from the same Dresser Formation, [5]) could reflect a secular variation of the atmospheric Xe signature. Nevertheless, up until now, all data showing an isotopic mass fractionation have been measured in rocks and fluids from the same formation (Dresser Formation, Western Australia, aged 3.5 Ga), and have yet to be confirmed in rocks from different locations. In order to better constrain xenon isotopic fractionation of the atmosphere through time, we decided to analyze barites from different ages, geological environments and metamorphism grade. We started this study with barite from the Fig Tree Formation (South Africa, aged 3.26 Ga). This barite was sampled in old mines so have negligible modern exposure time. It is

  8. Variation in 142Nd/144Nd of Archean rocks from southwest Greenland : Implications for early Earth mantle dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rizo, H.; Boyet, M.; Blichert-Toft, J.; Rosing, M.; Paquette, J. L.

    2012-04-01

    The short-lived 146Sm-142Nd chronometer (half-life = 103 Ma) has proven successful in bringing constraints on the dynamics of the early Earth mantle. Since the parent isotope, 146Sm, was extant only during the first 300 Ma of the history of the Solar System, the positive 142Nd anomalies measured in southwest Greenland Archean rocks imply that their incompatible element-depleted mantle source formed during the Hadean. Interestingly, the magnitude of these anomalies seems to decrease over time. 3.7-3.8 Ga old rocks from the Amitsoq Complex have revealed +10 to +20 ppm 142Nd anomalies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], whereas younger 3.0 Ga old samples from the Ivisaartoq greenstone belt yield smaller positive anomalies, ranging from +5.5 to +8.5 ppm [8]. Thus, the chemical heterogeneities detected in the southwest Greenland mantle were formed during the first 150 Ma of Earth's history, and seem to have resisted re-mixing by mantle convection until 3.0 Ga. In this study, we investigate the evolution of the southwest Greenland mantle during the time period of 3.3-3.4 Ga. The samples analyzed come from both the ~3.3 Ga amphibolite unit and the ~3.4 Ga Ameralik basic dyke swarm from the Amitsoq Complex. Coupled Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf bulk-rock ages obtained for seven amphibolites are in good agreement (3351 ± 210 Ma and 3302 ± 260 Ma, respectively) and consistent with the minimum age found by Nutman and Friend (2009) [9] for this formation. We further obtained coherent bulk-rock 147Sm-143Nd and zircon+baddeleyite 207Pb/206Pb ages for the Ameralik dykes (3428 ± 250 Ma and 3421 ± 34 Ma, respectively), in line with ages suggested by Nielsen at al., (2002) [10] and Nutman et al., (2004) [11]. We are currently in the process of analyzing these samples for 142Nd isotopic compositions and the results will be compared with the existing southwest Greenland data in order to shed new light on the evolution and destruction of heterogeneities in the early Earth mantle. [1] Rizo et al., (2011

  9. The biogeochemistry of microbial mats, stromatolites and the ancient biosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Desmarais, D. J.; Canfield, D. E.

    1991-01-01

    Stromatolites offer an unparalleled geologic record of early life, because they constitute the oldest and most abundant recognizable remains of microbial ecosystems. Microbial mats are living homologs of stromatolites; thus, the physiology of the microbiota as well as the processes which create those features of mats (e.g., biomarker organic compounds, elemental and stable isotopic compositions) which are preserved in the ancient record. Observations of the carbon isotopic composition (delta C-13) of stromatolites and microbial mats were made and are consistent with the hypothesis that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have declined by at least one to two orders of magnitude during the past 2.5 Ga. Whereas delta C-13 values of carbonate carbon average about 0 permil during both the early and mid-Proterozoic, the delta C-13 values of stromatolitic organic matter increase from an average of -35 between 2.0 and 2.6 Ga ago to an average of about -28 about 1.0 Ga ago. Modern microbial mats in hypersaline environments have delta C-13 values typically in the range of -5 to -9, relative to an inorganic bicarbonate source at 0 permil. Both microbial mats and pur cultures of cyanobacteria grown in waters in near equilibrium with current atmospheric CO2 levels exhibit minimal discrimination against C-13. In contrast, hot spring cyanobacterial mats or cyanobacterial cultures grown under higher CO2 levels exhibit substantially greater discrimination. If care is taken to compare modern mats with stromatolites from comparable environments, it might be possible to estimate ancient levels of atmospheric CO2. In modern microbial mats, a tight coupling exists between photosynthetic organic carbon production and subsequent carbon oxidation, mostly by sulfate reduction. The rate of one process fuels a high rate of the other, with much of the sulfate reduction occurring within the same depth interval as oxygenic photosynthesis. Other aspects of this study are presented.

  10. Early Archean spherule layers from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa: Mineralogy and geochemistry of the spherule beds in the CT3 drill core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozdemir, Seda; Schulz, Toni; Koeberl, Christian; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Mohr-Westheide, Tanja; Hoehnel, Desiree; Schmitt, Ralf Thomas

    2017-12-01

    Little is known about the Hadean and the Archean impact record on Earth. In the CT3 drill core from the Fig Tree Group of the northern Barberton Greenstone Belt, 17 spherule layer intersections occur, which, provide an outstanding new opportunity to gain insights into meteorite bombardment of the early Earth. CT3 spherules, as primary features, mostly exhibit textural patterns similar to those of the other Barberton spherule layers, but locally mineralogical and chemical compositional differences are observed, likely as a result of various degrees of alteration. The observed mineralogy of the spherule layers is of secondary origin and comprises K-feldspar, phyllosilicates, carbonates, sulfides, and oxides, with the exception of secondary Ni-Cr spinel that is of primary origin. Our petrographic investigations suggest alteration by K-metasomatism, sericitization, silicification, and carbonatization. Siderophile element contents of bulk samples show significant enrichments in Ni (up to 2 wt%) and Ir (up to 3 ppm), similar to previously studied Archean spherule layers. These values are indicative of the presence of a meteoritic component. On the other hand, lithophile and chalcophile element abundances indicate hydrothermal overprint on the CT3 samples; this may also have influenced the redistribution of the meteoritic component(s). Last, we group the CT3 spherule layers, which occur in three intervals (A, B, and C), according to their petrographic and geochemical features, which indicate evidence for at least three distinct impact events before tectonic overprint that affected the original deposits.

  11. Photosynthesis in the Archean era.

    PubMed

    Olson, John M

    2006-05-01

    The earliest reductant for photosynthesis may have been H2. The carbon isotope composition measured in graphite from the 3.8-Ga Isua Supercrustal Belt in Greenland is attributed to H2-driven photosynthesis, rather than to oxygenic photosynthesis as there would have been no evolutionary pressure for oxygenic photosynthesis in the presence of H2. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may also be responsible for the filamentous mats found in the 3.4-Ga Buck Reef Chert in South Africa. Another early reductant was probably H2S. Eventually the supply of H2 in the atmosphere was likely to have been attenuated by the production of CH4 by methanogens, and the supply of H2S was likely to have been restricted to special environments near volcanos. Evaporites, possible stromatolites, and possible microfossils found in the 3.5-Ga Warrawoona Megasequence in Australia are attributed to sulfur-driven photosynthesis. Proteobacteria and protocyanobacteria are assumed to have evolved to use ferrous iron as reductant sometime around 3.0 Ga or earlier. This type of photosynthesis could have produced banded iron formations similar to those produced by oxygenic photosynthesis. Microfossils, stromatolites, and chemical biomarkers in Australia and South Africa show that cyanobacteria containing chlorophyll a and carrying out oxygenic photosynthesis appeared by 2.8 Ga, but the oxygen level in the atmosphere did not begin to increase until about 2.3 Ga.

  12. Magmatic @d^1^8O in 4400-3900 Ma detrital zircons: A record of the alteration and recycling of crust in the Early Archean [rapid communication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cavosie, A. J.; Valley, J. W.; Wilde, S. A.

    2005-07-01

    Ion microprobe analyses of δ 18O in 4400-3900 Ma igneous zircons from the Jack Hills, Western Australia, provide a record of the oxygen isotope composition of magmas in the earliest Archean. We have employed a detailed analysis protocol aimed at correlating spatially related micro-volumes of zircon concordant in U/Pb age with δ 18O and internal zoning. Simultaneous analysis of 18O and 16O with dual Faraday cup detectors, combined with frequent standardization, has yielded data with improved accuracy and precision over prior studies, and resulted in a narrower range of what is interpreted as magmatic δ 18O in > 3900 Ma zircons. Preserved magmatic δ 18O values from individual zircons (Zrc) range from 5.3‰ to 7.3‰ (VSMOW), and increasingly deviate from the mantle range of 5.3 ± 0.3‰ as zircons decrease in age from 4400 to 4200 Ma. Elevated δ 18O (Zrc) values up to 6.5‰ occur as early as 4325 Ma, which suggests that evolved rocks were incorporated into magmas within ˜230 Ma of Earth's accretion. Values of magmatic δ 18O (Zrc) as high as 7.3‰ are recorded in zircons by 4200 Ma, and are common thereafter. The protoliths of the magmas these zircons crystallized in were altered by low temperature interaction with liquid water near Earth's surface. These results provide the strongest evidence yet for the existence of liquid water oceans and supracrustal rocks by approximately 4200 Ma, and possibly as early as 4325 Ma. The range of magmatic δ 18O values in the 4400-3900 Ma zircons is indistinguishable from Archean igneous zircons, suggesting similar magmatic processes occurred over the first two billion years of recorded Earth history. Zircons with sub-solidus alteration histories, identified by the presence of disturbed internal zoning patterns, record δ 18O values both below (4.6‰) and above (10.3‰) the observed range for primary magmatic zircon, and are unreliable indicators of Early Archean magma chemistry.

  13. Hot spring siliceous stromatolites from Yellowstone National Park: assessing growth rate and laminae formation.

    PubMed

    Berelson, W M; Corsetti, F A; Pepe-Ranney, C; Hammond, D E; Beaumont, W; Spear, J R

    2011-09-01

    Stromatolites are commonly interpreted as evidence of ancient microbial life, yet stromatolite morphogenesis is poorly understood. We apply radiometric tracer and dating techniques, molecular analyses and growth experiments to investigate siliceous stromatolite morphogenesis in Obsidian Pool Prime (OPP), a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. We examine rates of stromatolite growth and the environmental and/or biologic conditions that affect lamination formation and preservation, both difficult features to constrain in ancient examples. The "main body" of the stromatolite is composed of finely laminated, porous, light-dark couplets of erect (surface normal) and reclining (surface parallel) silicified filamentous bacteria, interrupted by a less-distinct, well-cemented "drape" lamination. Results from dating studies indicate a growth rate of 1-5 cm year(-1) ; however, growth is punctuated. (14)C as a tracer demonstrates that stromatolite cyanobacterial communities fix CO(2) derived from two sources, vent water (radiocarbon dead) and the atmosphere (modern (14)C). The drape facies contained a greater proportion of atmospheric CO(2) and more robust silica cementation (vs. the main body facies), which we interpret as formation when spring level was lower. Systematic changes in lamination style are likely related to environmental forcing and larger scale features (tectonic, climatic). Although the OPP stromatolites are composed of silica and most ancient forms are carbonate, their fine lamination texture requires early lithification. Without early lithification, whether silica or carbonate, it is unlikely that a finely laminated structure representing an ancient microbial mat would be preserved. In OPP, lithification on the nearly diurnal time scale is likely related to temperature control on silica solubility. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  14. Evidence of early Archean crust in northwest Gondwana, from U-Pb and Hf isotope analysis of detrital zircon, in Ediacaran surpacrustal rocks of northern Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naidoo, Thanusha; Zimmermann, Udo; Vervoort, Jeff; Tait, Jenny

    2018-03-01

    The Mora Formation (Narcea Group) is one of the oldest Precambrian supracrustal successions in northern Spain. Here, we use U-Pb and in situ Hf isotope analysis on detrital zircon to determine its age and provenance. The youngest U-Pb dates constrain the maximum depositional age of the Mora Formation at 565 ± 11 Ma. Results indicate: (1) a dominant Ediacaran zircon population (33%; 565-633 Ma, Cadomian) within a spectrum of Neoproterozoic ages (40%; 636-996 Ma); and (2) smaller Mesoproterozoic (5%; 1004-1240 Ma), Palaeoproterozoic (11%; 1890-2476 Ma) and Archean (11%; 2519-3550 Ma) populations. Results here do not point to one specific cratonic source area; instead, detritus may have been derived from the West African craton and Amazonia, or even the concealed Iberian basement. The lack of 1.3-1.8 Ga grains suggests exclusion of the Sahara Craton as a major source, but this is not certain. This mixed composition favours a complex source history with reworking of detritus across terrane/craton boundaries. Hafnium isotope compositions indicate a range of crustal and juvenile sources, with initial ɛHf values between -15.8 and 11.1, and Hf model ages from 0.8 to 3.7 Ga. For Neoproterozoic zircons (80%), juvenile components (ɛHf(i) +10) may be related to Rodinia fragmentation and the onset of an active margin setting leading to the Cadomian orogeny. Palaeoproterozoic to Paleoarchean grains (20%) all have negative ɛHf values and Meso- to Eoarchean Hf model ages. This indicates an early (Archean) sialic crustal component for northwestern Gondwana.

  15. Macro- and meso-fabric structures of peritidal tufa stromatolites along the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Mark Joseph Kalahari; Anderson, Callum Robert; Perissinotto, Renzo; Rishworth, Gavin Midgley

    2017-08-01

    Stromatolites are rare in modern ecosystems due to factors associated with seawater chemistry or biological competition that restrict their formation. Actively calcifying stromatolites, near the Kei Mouth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, were discovered in the early 2000s. Similar deposits were later described along a 200 km stretch on the south coast of Port Elizabeth. This study aims to describe the environmental setting, the macro- and meso-structures, as well as the evolution of the deposits near Port Elizabeth compared to other similar formations. Results show that the general environmental setting is consistent amongst peritidal stromatolites, including those described in this study. In all instances stromatolite growth occurs on a wave-cut rocky platform in and around rock pools. Growth is maximal within the intertidal to supratidal zone, as a result of freshwater inflow via emerging mineral springs at the base of landward slopes, and the periodic intrusion of seawater via storm surges or wave splash. In comparison with other systems, the South African stromatolite formations exhibit an additional macro-structure (beachrock/conglomerate) and four previously undescribed meso-structures: wrinkled laminar, laminar flat, rhizoliths, and blistered types. The South African stromatolites are also larger and more concentrated than other peritidal stromatolites, which could be due to this area having more suitable growth conditions.

  16. Spatial Distribution of Cyanobacteria in Modern Stromatolites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prufert-Bebout, Lee; Dacles-Mariani, Jennifer; Herbert, Alice; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Living stromatolites consist of complex microbial communities with distinct distribution patterns for different microbial groups. The cyanobacterial populations of Highborne Cay Bahamas exemplify this phenomenon. Field observations reveal distinct distribution patterns for several of these cyanobacterial species. To date 10 different cyanobacterial cultures, including both filamentous and endolithic species, have been isolated from these stromatolites. We will present data on the growth and motility characteristics as well as on the nutritional requirements of these isolates. These data will then be correlated with the field observed distributions for these species. Lastly laboratory simulations of stromatolites grown under various conditions of irradiance, flow and cyanobacterial community composition will be presented. These experiments allow us to evaluate our predictions regarding controls on cyanobacterial distribution.

  17. Sulfur Cycling Mediates Calcium Carbonate Geochemistry in Modern Marine Stromatolites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Visscher, P. T.; Hoeft, S. E.; Bebout, B. M.; Reid, R. P.

    2004-01-01

    Modem marine stromatolites forming in Highborne Cay, Exumas (Bahamas), contain microbial mats dominated by Schizothrix. Although saturating concentrations of Ca2+ and CO32- exist, microbes mediate CaCO3 precipitation. Cyanobacterial photosynthesis in these stromatolites aids calcium carbonate precipitation by removal of HS+ through CO2 use. Photorespiration and exopolymer production predominantly by oxygenic phototrophs fuel heterotrophic activity: aerobic respiration (approximately 60 umol/sq cm.h) and sulfate reduction (SR; 1.2 umol SO42-/sq cm.h) are the dominant C- consuming processes. Aerobic microbial respiration and the combination of SR and H2S oxidation both facilitate CaCO3 dissolution through H+ production. Aerobic respiration consumes much more C on an hourly basis, but duel fluctuating O2 and H2 depth profiles indicate that overall, SR consumes only slightly less (0.2-0.5) of the primary production. Moreover, due to low O2 concentrations when SR rates are peaking, reoxidation of the H2S formed is incomplete: both thiosulfate and polythionates are formed. The process of complete H2S oxidation yields H+. However, due to a low O2 concentration late in the day and relatively high O2 concentrations early in the following morning, a two-stage oxidation takes place: first, polythionates are formed from H2S, creating alkalinity which coincides with CaCO3 precipitation; secondly, oxidation of polythionates to sulfate yields acidity, resulting in dissolution, etc. Vertical profiles confirmed that the pH peaked late in the afternoon (greater than 8.8) and had the lowest values (less than 7.4) early in the morning. Thus, the effect of this S-cycling through alkalinity production, followed by acidification during H2S oxidation, results in a six times stronger fluctuation in acidity than photosynthesis plus aerobic respiration accomplish. This implies that anaerobic processes play a pivotal role in stromatolite formation.

  18. Bridging Two Worlds: From the Archean to the Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. William

    2000-01-01

    As now known, the Archean and Proterozoic appear to have been different worlds: the geology (tectonic style, basinal distribution, dominant rock types), atmospheric composition (O2, CO21, CH4), and surface environment (day-length, solar luminosity, ambient temperature) all appear to have changed over time. And virtually all paleobiologic indicators can be interpreted as suggesting there were significant biotic differences as well: (1) Stromatolites older than 2.5 Ga are rare relative to those of the Proterozoic; their biotic components are largely unknown; and the biogenicity of those older than approx. 3.2 Ga has been questioned. (2) Bona fide microfossils older than approx. 2.4 Ga are rare, poorly preserved, and of uncertain biological relations. Gaps of hundreds of millions of years in the known record make it impossible to show that Archean microorganisms are definitely part of the 2.4 Ga-to-present evolutionary continuum. and (3) In rocks older than approx. 2.2 Ga, the sulfur isotopic record is subject to controversy; phylogenetically distinctive bio-markers are unknown; and nearly a score of geologic units contain organic carbon anomalously light isotopically (relative to that of the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic) that may reflect the presence of Archaeans ("Archaebacteria of earlier classifications) but may not (since cellularly preserved Archean-age Archaeans have never been identified).

  19. Modern lacustrine stromatolites, Walker Lake, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osborne, Robert H.; Licari, Gerald R.; Link, Martin H.

    1982-05-01

    The Walker River drainage basin occupies about 10,000 km 2 in western Nevada and parts of California and is essentially a closed hydrologic system which drains from the crest of the Sierra Nevada in California and terminates in Walker Lake, Nevada. Walker Lake trends north and is about 27.4 km long and 8 km wide with water depths exceeding 30.5 m. The lake is situated in an asymmetric basin with steep alluvial fans flanking the western shoreline (Wassuk Range) and more gentle but areally more extensive alluvial fans flanking the eastern shoreline (Gillis Range). Exposed lake terraces and the present shoreline of Walker Lake record a sequence of Pleistocene and Holocene stromatolitic and tufaceous carbonate deposits. Small generalized and columnar stromatolites, frequently encrusted on exposed coarse-grained clasts or bedrock, are present along parts of the nearshore margin of Walker Lake and at elevated lake stands. Columnar stromatolites as much as 4 cm high are subcylindrical to club shaped discrete, and laterally linked at the base with local branching. These digitate stromatolites start as wavy, generalized stromatolites which are vertically transitional to small, laterally linked cabbage heads with laminae which thicken over the crests. Although algal structures are not well preserved in the older stromatolites, recent precipitation of low magnesium calcite occurs as smooth encrustations and as tiny mounds which are consistently associated with a diverse, seasonally variable, green and blue-green algal community including Cladophora glomerata, Ulothrix (cf. aequalis), Gongrosira, Schizothrix, Amphithrix janthina, Calothrix, Homeothrix, Spirulina, Anabaena, Lyngbya, and Entophysalis. Cladophora glomerata and a species of Ulothrix, which are the two most abundant algae within the Walker Lake stromatolite community, are known to condition semi-alkaline lake water by the removal of CO 2 from bicarbonate during photosynthesis. Such conditioning results in the

  20. Sulfate was a trace constituent of Archean seawater.

    PubMed

    Crowe, Sean A; Paris, Guillaume; Katsev, Sergei; Jones, CarriAyne; Kim, Sang-Tae; Zerkle, Aubrey L; Nomosatryo, Sulung; Fowle, David A; Adkins, Jess F; Sessions, Alex L; Farquhar, James; Canfield, Donald E

    2014-11-07

    In the low-oxygen Archean world (>2400 million years ago), seawater sulfate concentrations were much lower than today, yet open questions frustrate the translation of modern measurements of sulfur isotope fractionations into estimates of Archean seawater sulfate concentrations. In the water column of Lake Matano, Indonesia, a low-sulfate analog for the Archean ocean, we find large (>20 per mil) sulfur isotope fractionations between sulfate and sulfide, but the underlying sediment sulfides preserve a muted range of δ(34)S values. Using models informed by sulfur cycling in Lake Matano, we infer Archean seawater sulfate concentrations of less than 2.5 micromolar. At these low concentrations, marine sulfate residence times were likely 10(3) to 10(4) years, and sulfate scarcity would have shaped early global biogeochemical cycles, possibly restricting biological productivity in Archean oceans. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Biophysical basis for the geometry of conical stromatolites.

    PubMed

    Petroff, Alexander P; Sim, Min Sub; Maslov, Andrey; Krupenin, Mikhail; Rothman, Daniel H; Bosak, Tanja

    2010-06-01

    Stromatolites may be Earth's oldest macroscopic fossils; however, it remains controversial what, if any, biological processes are recorded in their morphology. Although the biological interpretation of many stromatolite morphologies is confounded by the influence of sedimentation, conical stromatolites form in the absence of sedimentation and are, therefore, considered to be the most robust records of biophysical processes. A qualitative similarity between conical stromatolites and some modern microbial mats suggests a photosynthetic origin for ancient stromatolites. To better understand and interpret ancient fossils, we seek a quantitative relationship between the geometry of conical stromatolites and the biophysical processes that control their growth. We note that all modern conical stromatolites and many that formed in the last 2.8 billion years display a characteristic centimeter-scale spacing between neighboring structures. To understand this prominent-but hitherto uninterpreted-organization, we consider the role of diffusion in mediating competition between stromatolites. Having confirmed this model through laboratory experiments and field observation, we find that organization of a field of stromatolites is set by a diffusive time scale over which individual structures compete for nutrients, thus linking form to physiology. The centimeter-scale spacing between modern and ancient stromatolites corresponds to a rhythmically fluctuating metabolism with a period of approximately 20 hr. The correspondence between the observed spacing and the day length provides quantitative support for the photosynthetic origin of conical stromatolites throughout geologic time.

  2. The discovery of stromatolites developing at 3570 m above sea level in a high-altitude volcanic lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes.

    PubMed

    Farías, María E; Rascovan, Nicolás; Toneatti, Diego M; Albarracín, Virginia H; Flores, María R; Poiré, Daniel G; Collavino, Mónica M; Aguilar, O Mario; Vazquez, Martin P; Polerecky, Lubos

    2013-01-01

    We describe stromatolites forming at an altitude of 3570 m at the shore of a volcanic lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes. The water at the site of stromatolites formation is alkaline, hypersaline, rich in inorganic nutrients, very rich in arsenic, and warm (20-24°C) due to a hydrothermal input. The stromatolites do not lithify, but form broad, rounded and low-domed bioherms dominated by diatom frustules and aragonite micro-crystals agglutinated by extracellular substances. In comparison to other modern stromatolites, they harbour an atypical microbial community characterized by highly abundant representatives of Deinococcus-Thermus, Rhodobacteraceae, Desulfobacterales and Spirochaetes. Additionally, a high proportion of the sequences that could not be classified at phylum level showed less than 80% identity to the best hit in the NCBI database, suggesting the presence of novel distant lineages. The primary production in the stromatolites is generally high and likely dominated by Microcoleus sp. Through negative phototaxis, the location of these cyanobacteria in the stromatolites is controlled by UV light, which greatly influences their photosynthetic activity. Diatoms, dominated by Amphora sp., are abundant in the anoxic, sulfidic and essentially dark parts of the stromatolites. Although their origin in the stromatolites is unclear, they are possibly an important source of anaerobically degraded organic matter that induces in situ aragonite precipitation. To the best of our knowledge, this is so far the highest altitude with documented actively forming stromatolites. Their generally rich, diverse and to a large extent novel microbial community likely harbours valuable genetic and proteomic reserves, and thus deserves active protection. Furthermore, since the stromatolites flourish in an environment characterized by a multitude of extremes, including high exposure to UV radiation, they can be an excellent model system for studying microbial adaptations under

  3. The Discovery of Stromatolites Developing at 3570 m above Sea Level in a High-Altitude Volcanic Lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes

    PubMed Central

    Farías, María E.; Rascovan, Nicolás; Toneatti, Diego M.; Albarracín, Virginia H.; Flores, María R.; Poiré, Daniel G.; Collavino, Mónica M.; Aguilar, O. Mario; Vazquez, Martin P.; Polerecky, Lubos

    2013-01-01

    We describe stromatolites forming at an altitude of 3570 m at the shore of a volcanic lake Socompa, Argentinean Andes. The water at the site of stromatolites formation is alkaline, hypersaline, rich in inorganic nutrients, very rich in arsenic, and warm (20–24°C) due to a hydrothermal input. The stromatolites do not lithify, but form broad, rounded and low-domed bioherms dominated by diatom frustules and aragonite micro-crystals agglutinated by extracellular substances. In comparison to other modern stromatolites, they harbour an atypical microbial community characterized by highly abundant representatives of Deinococcus-Thermus, Rhodobacteraceae, Desulfobacterales and Spirochaetes. Additionally, a high proportion of the sequences that could not be classified at phylum level showed less than 80% identity to the best hit in the NCBI database, suggesting the presence of novel distant lineages. The primary production in the stromatolites is generally high and likely dominated by Microcoleus sp. Through negative phototaxis, the location of these cyanobacteria in the stromatolites is controlled by UV light, which greatly influences their photosynthetic activity. Diatoms, dominated by Amphora sp., are abundant in the anoxic, sulfidic and essentially dark parts of the stromatolites. Although their origin in the stromatolites is unclear, they are possibly an important source of anaerobically degraded organic matter that induces in situ aragonite precipitation. To the best of our knowledge, this is so far the highest altitude with documented actively forming stromatolites. Their generally rich, diverse and to a large extent novel microbial community likely harbours valuable genetic and proteomic reserves, and thus deserves active protection. Furthermore, since the stromatolites flourish in an environment characterized by a multitude of extremes, including high exposure to UV radiation, they can be an excellent model system for studying microbial adaptations under

  4. Spatially-resolved isotopic study of carbon trapped in ∼3.43 Ga Strelley Pool Formation stromatolites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flannery, David T.; Allwood, Abigail C.; Summons, Roger E.; Williford, Kenneth H.; Abbey, William; Matys, Emily D.; Ferralis, Nicola

    2018-02-01

    The large isotopic fractionation of carbon associated with enzymatic carbon assimilation allows evidence for life's antiquity, and potentially the early operation of several extant metabolic pathways, to be derived from the stable carbon isotope record of sedimentary rocks. Earth's organic carbon isotope record extends to the Late Eoarchean-Early Paleoarchean: the age of the oldest known sedimentary rocks. However, complementary inorganic carbon reservoirs are poorly represented in the oldest units, and commonly reported bulk organic carbon isotope measurements do not capture the micro-scale isotopic heterogeneities that are increasingly reported from younger rocks. Here, we investigated the isotopic composition of the oldest paired occurrences of sedimentary carbonate and organic matter, which are preserved as dolomite and kerogen within textural biosignatures of the ∼3.43 Ga Strelley Pool Formation. We targeted least-altered carbonate phases in situ using microsampling techniques guided by non-destructive elemental mapping. Organic carbon isotope values were measured by spatially-resolved bulk analyses, and in situ using secondary ion mass spectrometry to target microscale domains of organic material trapped within inorganic carbon matrixes. Total observed fractionation of 13C ranges from -29 to -45‰. Our data are consistent with studies of younger Archean rocks that host biogenic stromatolites and organic-inorganic carbon pairs showing greater fractionation than expected for Rubisco fixation alone. We conclude that organic matter was fixed and/or remobilized by at least one metabolism in addition to the CBB cycle, possibly by the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway or methanogenesis-methanotrophy, in a shallow-water marine environment during the Paleoarchean.

  5. Availability of free oxygen in deep bottom water of some Archean-Early Paleoproterozoic ocean basins as derived from iron formation facies analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beukes, N. J.; Smith, A.

    2013-12-01

    Archean to Early Paleoproterozoic ocean basins are commonly, although not exclusively, depicted as rather static systems; either permanently stratified with shallow mixed oxygenated water overlying anoxic deep water or with a totally anoxic water column. The anoxic water columns are considered enriched in dissolved ferrous iron derived from hydrothermal plume activity. These sourced deposition of iron formations through precipitation of mainly ferrihydrite via reaction with free oxygen in the stratified model or anaerobic iron oxidizing photoautotrophs in the anoxic model. However, both these models face a simple basic problem if detailed facies reconstructions of deepwater microbanded iron formations (MIFs) are considered. In such MIFs it is common that the deepest water and most distal facies is hematite rich followed shoreward by magnetite, iron silicate and siderite facies iron formation. Examples of such facies relations are known from jaspilitic iron formation of the ~3,2 Ga Fig Tree Group (Barberton Mountainland), ~ 2,95 Ga iron formations of the Witwatersrand-Mozaan basin and the ~2,5 Ga Kuruman Iron Formation, Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa. Facies relations of these MIFs with associated siliciclastics or carbonates also indicate that the upper water columns of the basins, down to below wave base, were depleted in iron favoring anoxic-oxic stratification rather than total anoxia. In the MIFs it can be shown that hematite in the distal facies represents the earliest formed diagenetic mineral; most likely crystallized from primary ferrihydrite. The problem is one of how ferrihydrite could have been preserved on the ocean floor if it was in direct contact with reducing ferrous deep bottom water. Rather dissolved ferrous iron would have reacted with ferrihydrite to form diagenetic magnetite. This dilemma is resolved if in the area of deepwater hematite MIF deposition, the anoxic ferrous iron enriched plume was detached from the basin floor due to buoyancy

  6. Preservation of REE and Fe isotopes in altered stromatolites and the paleo-environmental record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nies, S. M.; Shapiro, R. S.; Lalonde, S.

    2015-12-01

    Geochemical proxies are increasingly being used to unravel ancient ecosystems and environmental perturbations back to the earliest rock record on Earth. Along with more traditional fossils (stromatolites) and other biosignatures (e.g., lipids), the geochemical record is used specifically to evaluate biogenecity and to understand oxygenation of the atmosphere and ocean in the Archean and Paleoproterozoic. However, the effects of diagenesis, metamorphism, and other modes of secondary alteration are still poorly constrained, particularly as technological advances allow us to expand farther across the periodic table. Our study focused on the robustness and preservation of rare earth element (REE) and Fe isotope compositions of two stromatolitic units that have undergone contact and regional metamorphism. 18 samples were collected from cores, open pit mines, and field locations in Minnesota and Ontario from silicified iron formation (Biwabik-Gunflint formations). The samples were carefully constrained to one of two meter-scale stromatolitic units. Metamorphic grade ranged from essentially unmetamorphosed through prehnite-pumpellyite up to amphibolite (fayalite+hypersthene). Samples were also collected that represented deep secondary weathering, likely related to Cretaceous climatic extremes. Polished samples were first analyzed by electron microprobe and selected samples were further analyzed via laser ablation HR-ICP-MS to constrain trace element (n=13) and Fe isotopic variations (n=8). Preliminary results indicate that transition metal concentrations are surprisingly resilient to high-temperature metamorphic recrystallization. REE concentrations were analyzed in individual iron oxide grains, with full resolution (La to Lu) achieved for some samples and partial resolution (La to Nd) achieved for all samples. Core samples exhibited a relatively stable positive Ce anomaly occurring from low to extremely high alteration. Outcrop and mine samples indicate a shift from a

  7. Microbe-Mineral Interactions Along Biogeochemical Gradients in Bahamian Stromatolites: Key to Lithification and Preservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andres, M. S.; Sumner, D. Y.; Visscher, P. T.; Swart, P. K.; Reid, R. P.

    2005-12-01

    Understanding on how modern stromatolites form and lithify is critical to properly interpreting the origins of ancient stromatolites and the early evolution of life. Lithification in Bahamian stromatolites is tied to specific, 20-60-micron thick horizons characterized by laterally continuous sheets of microcrystalline carbonate (aragonite). Microbial processes associated with these horizons are 1) photosynthetic production by cyanobacteria and 2) heterotrophic respiration by bacteria as well as the production of extrapolymeric substances (EPS). The aim of this study is to better understand the coupling of microstructure and microbial processes. The competing influences of photosynthetic CO2 uptake, sulfate reduction, and degradation of Ca-binding EPS influence both carbonate saturation states and the isotopic composition of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). In Bahamian stromatolites, photosynthesis and sulfate reduction are associated with specific microbial mat types creating distinctive chemical gradients that can be preserved in authigenic carbonate. Aragonite that precipitated within stromatolites is > 1 per mill depleted in 13C relative to aragonite precipitated in equilibrium with local seawater. These data suggest that more aragonite precipitates when and where respiration, rather than photosynthesis, influences local DIC, which is consistent with sulfate reduction promoting carbonate precipitation and calcium release during decay of exopolymeric substances. Biogeochemical gradients vary on a temporal and spatial scale as indicated by in-situ pH measurements across a the living mat. Highest pH correlates to maximum photosynthesis signal in the early afternoon while the lowest pH to that of maximum respiration just before sunrise. Corresponding carbon isotope analysis of authigenic carbonate precipitate will determine when microscale biological activity is captured in the mineral phase and potentially preserved.

  8. Lossless compression of stromatolite images: a biogenicity index?

    PubMed

    Corsetti, Frank A; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C

    2003-01-01

    It has been underappreciated that inorganic processes can produce stromatolites (laminated macroscopic constructions commonly attreibuted to microbiological activity), thus calling into question the long-standing use of stromatolites as de facto evidence for ancient life. Using lossless compression on unmagnified reflectance red-green-blue (RGB) images of matched stromatolite-sediment matrix pairs as a complexity metric, the compressibility index (delta(c), the log ratio of the ratio of the compressibility of the matrix versus the target) of a putative abiotic test stromatolite is significantly less than the delta(c) of a putative biotic test stromatolite. There is a clear separation in delta(c) between the different stromatolites discernible at the outcrop scale. In terms of absolute compressibility, the sediment matrix between the stromatolite columns was low in both cases, the putative abiotic stromatolite was similar to the intracolumnar sediment, and the putative biotic stromatolite was much greater (again discernible at the outcrop scale). We propose tht this metric would be useful for evaluating the biogenicity of images obtained by the camera systems available on every Mars surface probe launched to date including Viking, Pathfinder, Beagle, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers.

  9. Lossless Compression of Stromatolite Images: A Biogenicity Index?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corsetti, Frank A.; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C.

    2003-12-01

    It has been underappreciated that inorganic processes can produce stromatolites (laminated macroscopic constructions commonly attributed to microbiological activity), thus calling into question the long-standing use of stromatolites as de facto evidence for ancient life. Using lossless compression on unmagnified reflectance red-green-blue (RGB) images of matched stromatolite-sediment matrix pairs as a complexity metric, the compressibility index (δc, the log of the ratio of the compressibility of the matrix versus the target) of a putative abiotic test stromatolite is significantly less than the δc of a putative biotic test stromatolite. There is a clear separation in δc between the different stromatolites discernible at the outcrop scale. In terms of absolute compressibility, the sediment matrix between the stromatolite columns was low in both cases, the putative abiotic stromatolite was similar to the intracolumnar sediment, and the putative biotic stromatolite was much greater (again discernible at the outcrop scale). We propose that this metric would be useful for evaluating the biogenicity of images obtained by the camera systems available on every Mars surface probe launched to date including Viking, Pathfinder, Beagle, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers.

  10. Prokaryotic algae associated with Australian proterozoic stromatolites.

    PubMed

    Licari, G R; Cloud, P

    1972-09-01

    Five instances of association between distinctive stromatolites and blue-green algal nannofossils are recorded from a 100-m sequence of carbonate rocks about 1.6 x 10(9) years old, along the south side of Paradise Creek, northwestern Queensland, Australia. No eukaryotes were identified in any of these systematically limited assemblages, although they are known from rocks as old as 1.3 x 10(9) years in eastern California. Thus, eukaryotes may not have appeared until after 1.6 x 10(9) years ago (but before 1.3 x 10(9) years ago). The associations observed would also be consistent with (but do not prove) a biotic influence on stromatolite morphology. As is usual among prePaleozoic forms described, the morphology of the nannofossils is very similar to living forms, displaying marked evolutionary conservatism. Primary orientation of stromatolitic laminae and columns is not invariably convex upward, as conventionally believed, but convex away from and parallel to the initial point or surface of attachment, which may be horizontal or even downward beneath overhangs.

  11. High Ni in Archean tholeiites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arndt, Nicholas T.

    1991-03-01

    Archean tholeiites generally have higher Ni, Co. Cr and Fe than most younger tholeiites with similar MgO contents. These characteristics cannot be attributed to high T or P batch melting in the Archean mantle, because, although such melts are enriched in siderophile elements, they have higher MgO than normal tholeiites. As primary melts fractionate to lower MgO, they lose Ni, Co and Cr. Nor can the differences between Archean and younger tholeiites be attributed to secular variation in mantle compositions because Archean komatiites have Ni, Co, Cr contents similar to modern (Gorgona) komatiites. It is suggested that the high siderophile element content of Archean tholeiites results from mixing of either komatiitic with basaltic magmas, as might occur in an ascending, melting mantle plume or column, or of komatiite and more evolved rocks, as may take place when komatiite encounters and assimilates crustal rocks.

  12. Building Archean cratons from Hadean mafic crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Neil, Jonathan; Carlson, Richard W.

    2017-03-01

    Geologic processing of Earth’s surface has removed most of the evidence concerning the nature of Earth’s first crust. One region of ancient crust is the Hudson Bay terrane of northeastern Canada, which is mainly composed of Neoarchean felsic crust and forms the nucleus of the Northeastern Superior Province. New data show these ~2.7-billion-year-old rocks to be the youngest to yield variability in neodymium-142 (142Nd), the decay product of short-lived samarium-146 (146Sm). Combined 146-147Sm-142-143Nd data reveal that this large block of Archean crust formed by reworking of much older (>4.2 billion-year-old) mafic crust over a 1.5-billion-year interval of early Earth history. Thus, unlike on modern Earth, mafic crust apparently could survive for more than 1 billion years to form an important source rock for Archean crustal genesis.

  13. Modern stromatolites in a saline maar in the Western District of Victoria, Australia: a possible analogue for Precambrian marine carbonates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, J. E.; Wallace, M. W.

    2011-12-01

    Stromatolites and thrombolites are microbially-mediated, sedimentary structures of various size and morphology, found throughout the rock record. Although they do not always contain fossils of microbial cells, ancient stromatolitic structures are considered biogenic in origin and, therefore, evidence of early life. Modern, living stromatolites are found in lacustrine and marine environments and can provide a window in which to observe some of Earth's earliest biological processes. However, secular variation in marine chemistry over geological time means that modern marine settings are not always the best analogues for ancient carbonates. This study describes the occurrence of modern stromatolites in a saline, alkaline maar in Victoria, Australia. Dolomite is a principle carbonate mineral precipitating from this lake, an unusual and poorly understood occurrence in modern environments, but one that was common in the Precambrian. The peculiar lacustrine chemistry in this volcanic region may, therefore, provide a better analogue for Precambrian marine carbonates than modern marine environments. Several types of stromatolites/thrombolites are observed occurring around this maar. Living thrombolites grow just below the shoreline to ~60 cm below the surface of the water. They are nucleating on the cemented surfaces of older lake carbonates, as well as cattle skulls and fence wires that have become submerged. Distinct microbial mats are observed, the uppermost being cyanobacteria, followed by purple sulfur bacteria, and underlain by sulfate reducing bacteria. Older exposed stromatolites are more consolidated and have a more clearly defined laminated and columnar morphology. The thickness ranges from a few to 15 cm and each column is up to a centimeter in diameter. Together these give the surface of the rock a "bubbly" appearance. Along the shore, a sandy-gravel composed of stromatolite remnants has formed, indicating that wind-generated surface waves of substantial

  14. Functional Green-Tuned Proteorhodopsin from Modern Stromatolites

    PubMed Central

    Albarracín, Virginia Helena; Kraiselburd, Ivana; Bamann, Christian; Wood, Phillip G.; Bamberg, Ernst; Farias, María Eugenia; Gärtner, Wolfgang

    2016-01-01

    The sequenced genome of the poly-extremophile Exiguobacterium sp. S17, isolated from modern stromatolites at Laguna Socompa (3,570 m), a High-Altitude Andean Lake (HAAL) in Argentinean Puna revealed a putative proteorhodopsin-encoding gene. The HAAL area is exposed to the highest UV irradiation on Earth, making the microbial community living in the stromatolites test cases for survival strategies under extreme conditions. The heterologous expressed protein E17R from Exiguobacterium (248 amino acids, 85% sequence identity to its ortholog ESR from E. sibiricum) was assembled with retinal displaying an absorbance maximum at 524 nm, which makes it a member of the green-absorbing PR-subfamily. Titration down to low pH values (eventually causing partial protein denaturation) indicated a pK value between two and three. Global fitting of data from laser flash-induced absorption changes gave evidence for an early red-shifted intermediate (its formation being below the experimental resolution) that decayed (τ1 = 3.5 μs) into another red-shifted intermediate. This species decayed in a two-step process (τ2 = 84 μs, τ3 = 11 ms), to which the initial state of E17-PR was reformed with a kinetics of 2 ms. Proton transport capability of the HAAL protein was determined by BLM measurements. Additional blue light irradiation reduced the proton current, clearly identifying a blue light absorbing, M-like intermediate. The apparent absence of this intermediate is explained by closely matching formation and decay kinetics. PMID:27187791

  15. Functional Green-Tuned Proteorhodopsin from Modern Stromatolites.

    PubMed

    Albarracín, Virginia Helena; Kraiselburd, Ivana; Bamann, Christian; Wood, Phillip G; Bamberg, Ernst; Farias, María Eugenia; Gärtner, Wolfgang

    2016-01-01

    The sequenced genome of the poly-extremophile Exiguobacterium sp. S17, isolated from modern stromatolites at Laguna Socompa (3,570 m), a High-Altitude Andean Lake (HAAL) in Argentinean Puna revealed a putative proteorhodopsin-encoding gene. The HAAL area is exposed to the highest UV irradiation on Earth, making the microbial community living in the stromatolites test cases for survival strategies under extreme conditions. The heterologous expressed protein E17R from Exiguobacterium (248 amino acids, 85% sequence identity to its ortholog ESR from E. sibiricum) was assembled with retinal displaying an absorbance maximum at 524 nm, which makes it a member of the green-absorbing PR-subfamily. Titration down to low pH values (eventually causing partial protein denaturation) indicated a pK value between two and three. Global fitting of data from laser flash-induced absorption changes gave evidence for an early red-shifted intermediate (its formation being below the experimental resolution) that decayed (τ1 = 3.5 μs) into another red-shifted intermediate. This species decayed in a two-step process (τ2 = 84 μs, τ3 = 11 ms), to which the initial state of E17-PR was reformed with a kinetics of 2 ms. Proton transport capability of the HAAL protein was determined by BLM measurements. Additional blue light irradiation reduced the proton current, clearly identifying a blue light absorbing, M-like intermediate. The apparent absence of this intermediate is explained by closely matching formation and decay kinetics.

  16. Reconsideration of Natural Monuments No. 413 (Mungokri Stromatolite) of Chosun Supergroup, Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    KONG, Dal Yong; LEE, Seong Joo

    2014-05-01

    Stromatolite-like structures, so-called "Mungokri Stromatolite", which is located along the cliff of creeks in the vicinity of Oman bridge, Mungok-ri, Yeongwol, Kangweondo was designated as Natural Monument No. 413 in March, 2000. The Mungokri Stromatolite resembles LLH(laterally-linked hemispheroid) type stromatolite, each dome of which is laterally connected forming a stromatolite bed. The Mungokri Stromatolite, however, cannot be regarded as stromatolite because domal structure and fine lamination (the most diagnostic character) cannot be observed both in the field and through the petrological thin section. The smooth surface structure and very thin, irregular cracks characterized in the surface of the Mungokri Stromatolite also differ from those of a normal stromatolite. Such differences strongly suggest that the Mungokri Stromatolite is not a stromatolite but an algal mound. If we take considerations: 1) general lithology and sedimentary structures of Socheong island, 2) observation that angles of columns' inclination are not consistent throughout the stromatolite beds, and that vertical columns are also found in stromatolite beds, 3) igneous intrusion that would have caused structural deformation of sedimentary rocks of Socheong island, the inclination of Socheong stromatolites could be better interpreted as a secondary structural deformation probably after formation of stromatolite columns, rather than as a result of heliotropism. Consequently, renaming of the Mungokri Stromatolite, Natural Monument No. 413, is necessary. [Acknowledgments] This research was financially supported by the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage.

  17. Building Archean Cratons From Hadean Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Neil, J.; Carlson, R.

    2016-12-01

    Geologic processing of Earth's surface has removed most of the evidence concerning the nature of Earth's first crust. The largest volumes of ancient crust, the so-called Archean cratons, are dominated by felsic Tonalite-Trondhjemite-Granodiorite (TTG) rocks. These felsic rocks, however, are most likely derived by melting of an older mafic precursor. Although in part dictated by survivability, the scarcity of Hadean zircons also suggests that felsic rocks may have not been a prominent component of the earliest crust. Both points raise questions about the nature of the primordial crust and how, or if, it was involved in the formation of stable Archean cratons. The Hudson Bay Terrane of the Northeastern Superior Province is one of such Archean cratons, mainly composed of 2.88 to 2.69 Ga TTG. New data show these Neoarchean granitoids to be the youngest to yield significantly low 142Nd/144Nd, down to 15 ppm lower than that of the terrestrial Nd standard. 142Nd is the decay product of short-lived radioactive 146Sm and because of the short 103 Ma half-life of 146Sm, deviations in 142Nd/144Nd ratio can only be produced by Sm-Nd fractionation prior to 4 Ga. The variability in 142Nd/144Nd ratios in 2.7 Ga felsic rocks from the Hudson Bay Terrane shows conclusively that this large block of Archean crust was formed by reworking of much older > 4.2 Ga crust over a 1.5 billion year interval of early Earth history. Reworking of pre-existing crust likely is an important mechanism contributing to the stabilization of Earth's first continents.

  18. Reappraisal of hydrocarbon biomarkers in Archean rocks

    PubMed Central

    French, Katherine L.; Hallmann, Christian; Hope, Janet M.; Schoon, Petra L.; Zumberge, J. Alex; Hoshino, Yosuke; Peters, Carl A.; George, Simon C.; Love, Gordon D.; Brocks, Jochen J.; Buick, Roger; Summons, Roger E.

    2015-01-01

    Hopanes and steranes found in Archean rocks have been presented as key evidence supporting the early rise of oxygenic photosynthesis and eukaryotes, but the syngeneity of these hydrocarbon biomarkers is controversial. To resolve this debate, we performed a multilaboratory study of new cores from the Pilbara Craton, Australia, that were drilled and sampled using unprecedented hydrocarbon-clean protocols. Hopanes and steranes in rock extracts and hydropyrolysates from these new cores were typically at or below our femtogram detection limit, but when they were detectable, they had total hopane (<37.9 pg per gram of rock) and total sterane (<32.9 pg per gram of rock) concentrations comparable to those measured in blanks and negative control samples. In contrast, hopanes and steranes measured in the exteriors of conventionally drilled and curated rocks of stratigraphic equivalence reach concentrations of 389.5 pg per gram of rock and 1,039 pg per gram of rock, respectively. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and diamondoids, which exceed blank concentrations, exhibit individual concentrations up to 80 ng per gram of rock in rock extracts and up to 1,000 ng per gram of rock in hydropyrolysates from the ultraclean cores. These results demonstrate that previously studied Archean samples host mixtures of biomarker contaminants and indigenous overmature hydrocarbons. Therefore, existing lipid biomarker evidence cannot be invoked to support the emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis and eukaryotes by ∼2.7 billion years ago. Although suitable Proterozoic rocks exist, no currently known Archean strata lie within the appropriate thermal maturity window for syngenetic hydrocarbon biomarker preservation, so future exploration for Archean biomarkers should screen for rocks with milder thermal histories. PMID:25918387

  19. Modern Subsurface Bacteria in Pristine 2.7 Ga-Old Fossil Stromatolite Drillcore Samples from the Fortescue Group, Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Gérard, Emmanuelle; Moreira, David; Philippot, Pascal; Van Kranendonk, Martin J.; López-García, Purificación

    2009-01-01

    Background Several abiotic processes leading to the formation of life-like signatures or later contamination with actual biogenic traces can blur the interpretation of the earliest fossil record. In recent years, a large body of evidence showing the occurrence of diverse and active microbial communities in the terrestrial subsurface has accumulated. Considering the time elapsed since Archaean sedimentation, the contribution of subsurface microbial communities postdating the rock formation to the fossil biomarker pool and other biogenic remains in Archaean rocks may be far from negligible. Methodology/Principal Findings In order to evaluate the degree of potential contamination of Archean rocks by modern microorganisms, we looked for the presence of living indigenous bacteria in fresh diamond drillcores through 2,724 Myr-old stromatolites (Tumbiana Formation, Fortescue Group, Western Australia) using molecular methods based on the amplification of small subunit ribosomal RNA genes (SSU rDNAs). We analyzed drillcore samples from 4.3 m and 66.2 m depth, showing signs of meteoritic alteration, and also from deeper “fresh” samples showing no apparent evidence for late stage alteration (68 m, 78.8 m, and 99.3 m). We also analyzed control samples from drilling and sawing fluids and a series of laboratory controls to establish a list of potential contaminants introduced during sample manipulation and PCR experiments. We identified in this way the presence of indigenous bacteria belonging to Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria in aseptically-sawed inner parts of drillcores down to at least 78.8 m depth. Conclusions/Significance The presence of modern bacterial communities in subsurface fossil stromatolite layers opens the possibility that a continuous microbial colonization had existed in the past and contributed to the accumulation of biogenic traces over geological timescales. This finding casts shadow on bulk analyses of early life

  20. Stromatolites on the rise in peat-bound karstic wetlands.

    PubMed

    Proemse, Bernadette C; Eberhard, Rolan S; Sharples, Chris; Bowman, John P; Richards, Karen; Comfort, Michael; Barmuta, Leon A

    2017-11-13

    Stromatolites are the oldest evidence for life on Earth, but modern living examples are rare and predominantly occur in shallow marine or (hyper-) saline lacustrine environments, subject to exotic physico-chemical conditions. Here we report the discovery of living freshwater stromatolites in cool-temperate karstic wetlands in the Giblin River catchment of the UNESCO-listed Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia. These stromatolites colonize the slopes of karstic spring mounds which create mildly alkaline (pH of 7.0-7.9) enclaves within an otherwise uniformly acidic organosol terrain. The freshwater emerging from the springs is Ca-HCO 3 dominated and water temperatures show no evidence of geothermal heating. Using 16 S rRNA gene clone library analysis we revealed that the bacterial community is dominated by Cyanobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and an unusually high proportion of Chloroflexi, followed by Armatimonadetes and Planctomycetes, and is therefore unique compared to other living examples. Macroinvertebrates are sparse and snails in particular are disadvantaged by the development of debilitating accumulations of carbonate on their shells, corroborating evidence that stromatolites flourish under conditions where predation by metazoans is suppressed. Our findings constitute a novel habitat for stromatolites because cool-temperate freshwater wetlands are not a conventional stromatolite niche, suggesting that stromatolites may be more common than previously thought.

  1. Coniform stromatolites from geothermal systems, North Island, New Zealand

    Jones, Brian; Renaut, Robin W.; Rosen, Michael R.; Ansdell, Kevin M.

    2002-01-01

    Coniform stromatolites are found in several sites in the Tokaanu and Whakarewarewa geothermal areas of North Island, New Zealand. At Tokaanu, silicification of these stromatolites is taking place in Kirihoro, a shallow hot springfed pool. At Whakarewarewa, subfossil silicified coniform stromatolites are found on the floor of "Waikite Pool" on the discharge apron below Waikite Geyser, and in an old sinter succession at Te Anarata. The microbes in the coniform stromatolites from Tokaanu, Waikite Pool, and Te Anarata have been well preserved through rapid silicification. Nevertheless, subtle differences in the silicification style induced morphological variations that commonly mask or alter morphological features needed for identification of the microbes in terms of extant taxa. The coniform stromatolites in the New Zealand hotspring pools are distinctive because (1) they are formed of upward tapering (i.e., conical) columns, (2) neighboring columns commonly are linked by vertical sheets or bridges, (3) internally, they are formed of alternating high- and low-porosity laminae that have a conical vertical profile, and (4) Phormidium form more than 90% of the biota. As such, they are comparable to modern coniform mats and stromatolites found in the geothermal systems of Yellowstone National Park and ice-covered lakes in Antarctica. Formation of the coniform stromatolites is restricted to pools that are characterized by low current energy and a microflora that is dominated by Phormidium. These delicate and intricate stromatolites could not form in areas characterized by fast flowing water or a diverse microflora. Thus, it appears that the distribution of these distinctive stromatolites is controlled by biological constraints that are superimposed on environmental needs.

  2. The Archean Nickel Famine Revisited.

    PubMed

    Konhauser, Kurt O; Robbins, Leslie J; Pecoits, Ernesto; Peacock, Caroline; Kappler, Andreas; Lalonde, Stefan V

    2015-10-01

    Iron formations (IF) preserve a history of Precambrian oceanic elemental abundance that can be exploited to examine nutrient limitations on early biological productivity. However, in order for IF to be employed as paleomarine proxies, lumped-process distribution coefficients for the element of interest must be experimentally determined or assumed. This necessitates consideration of bulk ocean chemistry and which authigenic ferric iron minerals controlled the sorption reactions. It also requires an assessment of metal mobilization reactions that might have occurred in the water column during particle descent and during post-depositional burial. Here, we summarize recent developments pertaining to the interpretation and fidelity of the IF record in reconstructions of oceanic trace element evolution. Using an updated compilation, we reexamine and validate temporal trends previously reported for the nickel content in IF (see Konhauser et al., 2009 ). Finally, we reevaluate the consequences of methanogen Ni starvation in the context of evolving views of the Archean ocean-climate system and how the Ni famine may have ultimately facilitated the rise in atmospheric oxygen.

  3. An Archean Biosphere Initiative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anbar, A. D.; Boyd, E. S.; Buick, R.; Claire, M.; DesMarais, D.; Domagal-Goldman, D.; Eigenbrode, J.; Erwin, D.; Freeman, K.; Hazen, R.; hide

    2011-01-01

    The search for life on extrasolar planets will necessarily focus on the imprints of biolgy on the composition of planetary atmospheres. The most notable biological imprint on the modern terrestrial atmosphere is the presence of 21 % O2, However, during most of the past 4 billion years, life and the surface environments on Earth were profoundly different than they are today. It is therefore a major goal of the astrobiology community to ascertain how the O2 content of the atmosphere has varied with time. and to understand the causes of these variations. The NAI and NASA Exobiology program have played critical roles in developing our current understanding of the ancient Earth's atmosphere, supporting diverse observational, analytical, and computational research in geoscience, life science, and related fields. In the present incarnation of the NAI, ongoing work is investigating (i) variations in atmospheric O2 in the Archean to the Cambrian, (ii) characterization of the redox state of the oceans shortly before, during and after the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), and (iii) unraveling the complex connections between environmental oxygenation, global climate, and the evolution of life.

  4. Geology and tectonics of the Archean Superior Province, Canadian Shield

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Card, K. D.

    1986-01-01

    Superior Province consists mainly of Late Archean rocks with Middle Archean gneisses in the south, and possibly in the north. The Late Archean supracrustal sequences are of island arc and interarc affinity and are cut by abundant plutonic rocks, including early arc-related intrusions, late synorogenic intrusions, and post-orogenic plutons that are possibly the product of crustal melting caused by thermal blanketing of newly-thickened continental crust combined with high mantle heat flux. The contemporaneity of magmatic and deformational events along the lengths of the belts is consistent with a subduction-dominated tectonic regime for assembly of the Kenoran Orogen. Successive addition of volcanic arcs accompanied and followed by voluminous plutonism resulted in crustal thickening and stabilization of the Superior craton prior to uplift of Kapuskasing granulites, emplacement of the Matachewan diabase dykes, and Early Proterozoic marginal rifting.

  5. Abiotic Earth - Establishing a Baseline for Earliest Life, Data from the Archean of Western Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindsay, J. F.; Brasier, M. D.; McLoughlin, N.; Green, O. R.; Fogel, M.; McNamara, K. M.; Steele, A.; Mertzman, S. A.

    2003-01-01

    Stromatolitic structures preserved at two stratigraphic levels within the 3.47-3.43 Ga Warrawoona Group of Western Australia have been interpreted as some of "the least controversial evidence of early life on earth" and "the oldest firmly established biogenic deposits now known from the geologic record". The structures were said to have formed in a shallow sub-tidal to intertidal setting as part of an evaporite succession. In an extensive field program we have re-evaluated exposures of the Strelley Pool Chert from which stromatolites have been described and carried out detailed mapping and sampling of the Strelley Pool West site 13.7 km west of the type locality. Data from our ongoing program cast considerable doubt on the biogenic origins of the stromatolitic structures and on the nature of their depositional setting.

  6. Giant subtidal stromatolites forming in normal salinity waters

    Dill, R.F.; Shinn, E.A.; Jones, A.T.; Kelly, K.; Steinen, R.P.

    1986-01-01

    We report here the discovery of giant lithified subtidal columnar stromatolites (>2 m high) growing in 7-8 m of clear oceanic water in current-swept channels between the Exuma Islands on the eastern Bahama Bank. They grow by trapping ooid and pelletal carbonate sand and synsedimentary precipitation of carbonate cement within a field of giant megaripples. The discovery is important to geologists and biologists because similar organo-sedimentary structures built by a combination of cementation and the trapping of sediment by microbes were the dominant fossil types during the Precambrian. Stromatolites are thought to have been responsible for the production of free oxygen and thus the evolution of animal life1,2. Until the discovery of small lithified subtidal columnar stromatolites in the Bahamas3, the only subtidal marine examples known to be living while undergoing lithification were in the hypersaline waters of Hamelin Pool at Shark Bay, Western Australia4-7. Shark Bay stromatolites range from intertidal to the shallow subtidal with the larger columns reaching 1 m in height. The Shark Bay stromatolites have strongly influenced geological interpretation; by analogy, many ancient stromatolites have been considered to have grown in intertidal and/or hypersaline conditions8, although hypersalinity was not a necessity for growth during the Precambrian because grazing metazoan life had not then evolved. ?? 1986 Nature Publishing Group.

  7. Sulfur isotopes of organic matter preserved in 3.45-billion-year-old stromatolites reveal microbial metabolism

    PubMed Central

    Bontognali, Tomaso R. R.; Sessions, Alex L.; Allwood, Abigail C.; Fischer, Woodward W.; Grotzinger, John P.; Summons, Roger E.; Eiler, John M.

    2012-01-01

    The 3.45-billion-year-old Strelley Pool Formation of Western Australia preserves stromatolites that are considered among the oldest evidence for life on Earth. In places of exceptional preservation, these stromatolites contain laminae rich in organic carbon, interpreted as the fossil remains of ancient microbial mats. To better understand the biogeochemistry of these rocks, we performed microscale in situ sulfur isotope measurements of the preserved organic sulfur, including both Δ33S and . This approach allows us to tie physiological inference from isotope ratios directly to fossil biomass, providing a means to understand sulfur metabolism that is complimentary to, and independent from, inorganic proxies (e.g., pyrite). Δ33S values of the kerogen reveal mass-anomalous fractionations expected of the Archean sulfur cycle, whereas values show large fractionations at very small spatial scales, including values below -15‰. We interpret these isotopic patterns as recording the process of sulfurization of organic matter by H2S in heterogeneous mat pore-waters influenced by respiratory S metabolism. Positive Δ33S anomalies suggest that disproportionation of elemental sulfur would have been a prominent microbial process in these communities. PMID:22949693

  8. Stromatolites of the Mescal Limestone (Apache Group, middle Proterozoic, central Arizona): taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and paleoenvironments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bertrand-Sarfati, J.; Awramik, S. M.

    1992-01-01

    The 25- to 30-m-thick Algal Member of the Mescal Limestone (middle Proterozoic Apache Group) contains two distinct stromatolitic units: at the base, a 2- to 3-m-thick unit composed of columnar stromatolites and above, a thicker unit of stratiform and pseudocolumnar stromatolites. Columnar forms from the first unit belong to the Group Tungussia, and two new Forms are described: T. mescalita and T. chrysotila. Among the pseudocolumnar stromatolites of the thicker unit, one distinctive new taxon, Apachina henryi, is described. Because of the low stromatolite diversity, the biostratigraphic value of this assemblage is limited. The presence of Tungussia is consistent with the generally accepted isotopic age for the Apache Group of 1200 to 1100 Ma. The Mescal stromatolites do not closely resemble any other known Proterozoic stromatolites in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico. Analyses of sedimentary features and stromatolite growth forms suggest deposition on a stable, flat, shallow, subtidal protected platform during phases of Tungussia growth. Current action probably influenced the development of columns, pseudocolumns, and elongate stromatolitic ridges; these conditions alternated with phases of relatively quiet water characterized by nonoriented stromatolitic domes and stratiform stromatolites. Stable conditions favorable for development of the Mescal stromatolites were short-lived and did not permit the development of thick, stromatolite-bearing units such as those characteristic of many Proterozoic sequences elsewhere.

  9. Assessing Biogenecity of Stromatolites: Return to the Facies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.; Jameson, S.; Rutter, A.; McCarthy, K.; Planavsky, N. J.; Severson, M.

    2013-12-01

    The discovery of richly microfossiliferous cherty stromatolites near Schreiber and Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, in the 1.9 Ga Gunflint Iron Formation, firmly established the field of pre-Cambrian paleontology. In the half-century since this discovery, paradigm shifts in the ecology of the microfossils as well as the utility of stromatolites as biological markers has caused a re-evaluation of our understanding of the pre-Cambrian fossil record. This research summarizes facies evaluation of the two stromatolite marker beds in the Gunflint-correlative Biwabik Iron Formation of Minnesota. The centimeter-scale microstratigraphy of cores drilled through the central and eastern Mesabi Iron Range was coupled with field descriptions of outcrops and mines in both the Biwabik and Gunflint iron formations. Eight lithologic facies associated with the stromatolites are identified: A) Pebble conglomerate clasts ranging in size of 0.5-3 cm, syneresis cracks, and septarian nodules with medium to coarse grain matrix; B) siltstone with subparallel sub-mm to 5 cm magnetitic and non-magnetic bands; C) stromatolitic boundstone comprising stratiform, pseudocolumnar, domal, undulatory, flat-laminated, dendritic, columnar, and mico-digitate forms and oncoids 0.5 to 2 cm diameter; D) grainstone with medium to coarse siliceous and carbonate ooids and peloids; E) massive green crystalline beds with bands of magnetite, quartz, calcite, disseminated pyrite and localized ankerite; F) autobreccicated fabric of 0.3 to 10 mm clasts; G) medium to coarse sandstone; H) quartzite. Correlation between 11 cores near Hoyt Lakes and 9 cores through the basal stromatolite layer at the MinnTac Mine near Virginia revealed that stromatolites formed both on conglomerate and medium quartz sandstone. Multiple forms of stromatolite may occur in a vertical succession (flat-laminated to undulatory to psuedocolumnar to columnar) or a core may be dominated by one type, typically columnar-stratiform. Where stromatolites do

  10. Biomarker evidence for Archean oxygen fluxes (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallmann, C.; Waldbauer, J.; Sherman, L. S.; Summons, R. E.

    2010-12-01

    Knowledge of deep-time organismic diversity may be gained from the study of preserved sedimentary lipids with taxonomic specificity, i.e. biomarker hydrocarbons (e.g. Brocks and Summons, 2003; Waldbauer et al., 2009). As a consequence of long residence times and high thermal maturities however, biomarker concentrations are extremely low in most ancient (Precambrian) sediment samples, making them exceptionally prone to contamination during drilling, sampling and laboratory workup (e.g. Brocks et al., 2008). Outcrop samples most always carry a modern overprint and deep-time biogeochemistry thus relies on drilling operations to retrieve ‘clean’ sediment cores. One such effort was initiated by NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI): the Archean biosphere drilling project (ABDP). We here report on the lipids retrieved from sediment samples in drill hole ABDP-9. Strong heterogeneities of extractable organic matter - both on a spatial scale and in free- vs. mineral-occluded bitumen - provide us with an opportunity to distinguish indigenous lipids from contaminants introduced during drilling. Stratigraphic trends in biomarker data for mineral-occluded bitumens are complementary to previously reported data (e.g. S- and N-isotopes, molybdenum enrichments) from ABDP-9 sediments (Anbar et al., 2007; Kaufman et al., 2007; Garvin et al., 2009) and suggest periodic fluxes of oxygen before the great oxidation event. Anbar et al. A whiff of oxygen before the great oxidation event. Science 317 (2007), 1903-1906. Brocks & Summons. Sedimentary hydrocarbons, biomarkers for early life. In: Schlesinger (Ed.) Treatise on Geochemistry, Vol. 8 (2003), 63-115. Brocks et al. Assessing biomarker syngeneity using branched alkanes with quaternary carbon (BAQCs) and other plastic contaminants. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72 (2008), 871-888. Garvin et al. Isotopic evidence for a aerobic nitrogen cycle in the latest Archean. Science 323 (2009), 1045-1048. Kaufman et al. Late Archean

  11. Biomarkers Indigenous to Late Archean Rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenbrode, J. L.; Freeman, K. H.; Summons, R. E.; Love, G. D.; Snape, C. E.

    2003-12-01

    Two new lines of evidence support the authenticity of molecular fossils in late Archean rocks of the Hamersley Province, Western Australia. Specifically, they support 1) a syngenetic relationship between the kerogen and extractable biomarkers, and 2) a indigenous relationship between extractable compounds and the host rocks. Carbon skeletons released from kerogen via high-pressure hydropyrolysis match those found in associated extracted bitumen. Biomarker ratios indicate less mature steranes and terpanes (i.e. hopanes and tricyclic terpanes) are embedded in the kerogen matrix as compared to the highly mature steranes and terpanes in the extracts, which is similar to findings in other hydropyrolysis experiments. Lithology-associated variations in biomarker distributions are noteworthy and suggest environmental settings are associated with differing biotic ecosystems. The evidence reported here confirms the 2.7 Ga antiquity of diverse biosynthetic pathways. Molecular data, together with isotopic data, indicate aerobic and anaerobic respiration pathways were fundamental to the complex microbial biogeochemistry of the late Archean. The biomarkers in these rocks support an early radiation of the three domains of life and radiation within the bacteria, such that clades of cyanobacteria, green sulfur bacteria, and proteobacteria had been established.

  12. A revised, hazy methane greenhouse for the Archean Earth.

    PubMed

    Haqq-Misra, Jacob D; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D; Kasting, Patrick J; Kasting, James F

    2008-12-01

    Geological and biological evidence suggests that Earth was warm during most of its early history, despite the fainter young Sun. Upper bounds on the atmospheric CO2 concentration in the Late Archean/Paleoproterozoic (2.8-2.2 Ga) from paleosol data suggest that additional greenhouse gases must have been present. Methanogenic bacteria, which were arguably extant at that time, may have contributed to a high concentration of atmospheric CH4, and previous calculations had indicated that a CH4-CO2-H2O greenhouse could have produced warm Late Archean surface temperatures while still satisfying the paleosol constraints on pCO2. Here, we revisit this conclusion. Correction of an error in the CH4 absorption coefficients, combined with the predicted early onset of climatically cooling organic haze, suggest that the amount of greenhouse warming by CH4 was more limited and that pCO2 must therefore have been 0.03 bar, at or above the upper bound of the value obtained from paleosols. Enough warming from CH4 remained in the Archean, however, to explain why Earth's climate cooled and became glacial when atmospheric O2 levels rose in the Paleoproterozoic. Our new model also shows that greenhouse warming by higher hydrocarbon gases, especially ethane (C2H6), may have helped to keep the Late Archean Earth warm.

  13. U Pb and Lu Hf isotope record of detrital zircon grains from the Limpopo Belt Evidence for crustal recycling at the Hadean to early-Archean transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeh, Armin; Gerdes, Axel; Klemd, Reiner; Barton, J. M., Jr.

    2008-11-01

    Detrital zircon grains from Beit Bridge Group quartzite from the Central Zone of the Limpopo Belt near Musina yield mostly ages of 3.35-3.15 Ga, minor 3.15-2.51 Ga components, and numerous older grains grouped at approximately 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6 Ga. Two grains yielded concordant Late Hadean U-Pb ages of 3881 ± 11 Ma and 3909 ± 26 Ma, which are the oldest zircon grains so far found in Africa. The combined U-Pb and Lu-Hf datasets and field relationships provide evidence that the sedimentary protolith of the Beit Bridge Group quartzite was deposited after the emplacement of the Sand River Gneisses (3.35-3.15 Ga), but prior to the Neoarchean magmatic-metamorphic events at 2.65-2.60 Ga. The finding of abundant magmatic zircon detritus with concordant U-Pb ages of 3.35-3.15 Ga, and 176Hf/ 177Hf of 0.28066 ± 0.00004 indicate that the Sand River Gneiss-type rocks were a predominant source. In contrast, detrital zircon grains older than approximately 3.35 Ga were derived from the hinterland of the Limpopo Belt; either from a so far unknown crustal source in southern Africa, possibly from the Zimbabwe Craton and/or a source, which was similar but not necessarily identical to the one that supplied the Hadean zircons to Jack Hills, Western Australia. The Beit Bridge Group zircon population at >3.35 Ga shows a general ɛHf t increase with decreasing age from ɛHf 3.9Ga = -6.3 to ɛHf 3.3-3.1Ga = -0.2, indicating that Hadean crust older than 4.0 Ga ( TDM = 4.45-4.36 Ga) was rejuvenated during magmatic events between >3.9 and 3.1 Ga, due to a successive mixing of crustal rocks with mantle derived magmas. The existence of a depleted mantle reservoir in the Limpopo's hinterland is reflected by the ˜3.6 Ga zircon population, which shows ɛHf 3.6Ga between -4.6 and +3.2. In a global context, our data suggest that a long-lived, mafic Hadean protocrust with some tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite constituents was destroyed and partly recycled at the Hadean/Archean transition, perhaps

  14. Possibility of heliotropical response from inclination of columnar stromatolites, Socheong island, Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    KONG, Dal Yong; LEE, Seong Joo; Golubic, Stjepko

    2014-05-01

    Socheong island is a unique island containing Precambrian stromatolites in South Korea. Most of Socheong stromatolites are domes and columns, occurring as 10 cm to 1 meter thick stromatolite beds. Lower parts of stromatolite beds are predominantly composed of domal stromatolites, while columns increase toward the upper level of stromatolite beds. In many of stromatolite beds, inclined columns are easily identifiable, which is generally considered as a result of heliotropism. From general lithology, sedimentary structures, inclined angles and distributional pattern, and structural deformation of sedimentary rocks of Socheong island, the inclination of Socheong stromatolites could be better interpreted as a secondary structural deformation probably after formation of stromatolite columns, rather than as a result of heliotropism. However, at this moment, we do not clearly reject heliotropism interpretation for inclined columns of Socheong stromatolites. This is because the original position of stromatolite columns were also lost if structural deformation would have affected throughout the whole sedimentary rocks of Socheong island. [Acknowledgments] This research was financially supported by the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage.

  15. Patterns of metal distribution in hypersaline microbialites during early diagenesis: Implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sforna, M C; Daye, M; Philippot, P; Somogyi, A; van Zuilen, M A; Medjoubi, K; Gérard, E; Jamme, F; Dupraz, C; Braissant, O; Glunk, C; Visscher, P T

    2017-03-01

    The use of metals as biosignatures in the fossil stromatolite record requires understanding of the processes controlling the initial metal(loid) incorporation and diagenetic preservation in living microbialites. Here, we report the distribution of metals and the organic fraction within the lithifying microbialite of the hypersaline Big Pond Lake (Bahamas). Using synchrotron-based X-ray microfluorescence, confocal, and biphoton microscopies at different scales (cm-μm) in combination with traditional geochemical analyses, we show that the initial cation sorption at the surface of an active microbialite is governed by passive binding to the organic matrix, resulting in a homogeneous metal distribution. During early diagenesis, the metabolic activity in deeper microbialite layers slows down and the distribution of the metals becomes progressively heterogeneous, resulting from remobilization and concentration as metal(loid)-enriched sulfides, which are aligned with the lamination of the microbialite. In addition, we were able to identify globules containing significant Mn, Cu, Zn, and As enrichments potentially produced through microbial activity. The similarity of the metal(loid) distributions observed in the Big Pond microbialite to those observed in the Archean stromatolites of Tumbiana provides the foundation for a conceptual model of the evolution of the metal distribution through initial growth, early diagenesis, and fossilization of a microbialite, with a potential application to the fossil record. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Archean upper crust transition from mafic to felsic marks the onset of plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    Tang, Ming; Chen, Kang; Rudnick, Roberta L

    2016-01-22

    The Archean Eon witnessed the production of early continental crust, the emergence of life, and fundamental changes to the atmosphere. The nature of the first continental crust, which was the interface between the surface and deep Earth, has been obscured by the weathering, erosion, and tectonism that followed its formation. We used Ni/Co and Cr/Zn ratios in Archean terrigenous sedimentary rocks and Archean igneous/metaigneous rocks to track the bulk MgO composition of the Archean upper continental crust. This crust evolved from a highly mafic bulk composition before 3.0 billion years ago to a felsic bulk composition by 2.5 billion years ago. This compositional change was attended by a fivefold increase in the mass of the upper continental crust due to addition of granitic rocks, suggesting the onset of global plate tectonics at ~3.0 billion years ago. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  17. Rare earth element patterns in Archean high-grade metasediments and their tectonic significance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, Stuart Ross; Rudnick, Roberta L.; Mclennan, Scott M.; Eriksson, Kenneth A.

    1986-01-01

    REE data on metasedimentary rocks from two different types of high-grade Archean terrains are presented and analyzed. The value of REEs as indicators of crustal evolution is explained; the three geologic settings (in North America, Southern Africa, and Australia) from which the samples were obtained are described; and the data are presented in extensive tables and graphs and discussed in terms of metamorphic effects, the role of accessory phases, provenance, and tectonic implications (recycling, the previous extent of high-grade terrains, and a model of Archean crustal growth). The diversity of REE patterns in shallow-shelf metasediments is attributed to local provenance, while the Eu-depleted post-Archean patterns are associated with K-rich plutons from small, stable early Archean terrains.

  18. Neoproterozoic Stromatolites and Microphytolites of the Spitsbergen Archipelago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anisimov, Artem; Anisimova, Svetlana; Kosteva, Natalia

    2017-04-01

    The Svalbard archipelago is located in the extreme North-West of the Barents Sea. On the archipelago in the framework of large-scale exploration of the continental shelf exploration work carried out by employees of the Polar Marine Geological Expedition (PMGE). The authors were further explored and tested the Neoproterozoic sections of the Groups Veteranen, Akademikarbreen and Polarisbreen on the East and West banks of the Sorgfjorden (the Northern part of the Ny Friesland Peninsula) and in the moraine of the glacier Duner. The rocks carbonate-terrigenous Veteranen Group (upper Riphean) is set in the rocky outcrops on the Western and Eastern banks of Sorgfjorden and in ice-dressed rocks of the Bay. The Group consists of four Formations (bottom to top): Kortbreen, Kingbreen, Glasgowbreen and Oxfordbreen. The rocks carbonate-terrigenous Akademikarbreen Group (upper Riphean) have a lower areal distribution than the breed Veteranen Group in the project area is established only in the southern part of the Bay, in the valleys Kluftdalen, Rivnedalen and small-unnamed streams, as well as on the plateau Fleinfjellet and Vidarfjellet. The Groups consists of four formation (bottom to top): Grusdievbreen, Svanbergfjellet, Draken and Backlundtoppen. According to previous researchers, limestone in Kingbreen Formation (Veteranen Group) met with radial-rayed Microphytolites group Radiosus. And in light grey, cream, pink and red limestones of the Academikarbreen Group, in the Svanbergfjellet Formation defined columnar branching Stromatolites Inzeria djejimi Raab., Gymnosolen aff. ramsayi Steinm. Stromatolites of Conophyton miloradovichi Raab. in the dolomites of the overlying sediments Draken and Backlundtoppen Formations contain Vendian the bubbles Microphytolites Vesicularites bothrydioformis Krasnop. In carbonate rocks of the Akademikerbreen Group were confirmed by the finds of Neoproterozoic microbial entities identified by previous researchers, and identified new locations of

  19. A geodynamic constraint on Archean continental geotherms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bailey, R. C.

    2003-04-01

    Dewey (1988) observed that gravitational collapse appears to currently limit the altitudes of large plateaus on Earth to about 3 to 5 km above sea level. Arndt (1999) summarized the evidence for the failure of large parts of the continental crust to reach even sea-level during the Archean. If this property of Archean continental elevations was also enforced by gravitational collapse, it permits an estimation of the geothermal gradient in Archean continental crust. If extensional (collapse) tectonics is primarily a balance between gravitational power and the power consumed by extensional (normal) faulting in the upper brittle crust, as analysed by Bailey (1999), then it occurs when continental elevations above ocean bottoms exceed about 0.4 times the thickness of the brittle crust (Bailey, 2000). Assuming an Archean oceanic depth of about 5 km, it follows that that the typical thickness of Archean continental brittle crustal must have been less than about 12 km. Assuming the brittle-ductile transition to occur at about 350 degrees Celsius, this suggests a steep geothermal gradient of at least 30 degrees Celsius per kilometer for Archean continents, during that part of the Archean when continents were primarily submarine. This result does not help resolve the Archean thermal paradox (England and Bickle, 1984) whereby the high global heat flow of the Archean conflicts with the rather shallow crustal Archean geotherms inferred from geobarometry. In fact, the low elevation of Archean continental platforms raises another paradox, a barometric one: that continents were significantly below sea-level implies, by isostasy, that continental crustal thicknesses were significantly less than 30 km, yet the geobarometric data utilized by England and Bickle indicated burial pressures of Archean continental material of up to 10 kb. One resolution of both paradoxes (as discussed by England and Bickle) would be to interpret such deep burials as transient crustal thickening events of

  20. Modern stromatolite reefs fringing a brackish coastline, Chetumal Bay, Belize

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rasmussen, Kenneth A.; MacIntyre, Ian G.; Prufert, Leslie

    1993-03-01

    Reef-forming stromatolites have been discovered along the windward shoreline of Chetumal Bay, Belize, just south of the mouth of the Rio Hondo. The reefs and surrounding sediment are formed by the precipitation of submicrocrystalline calcite upon the sheaths of filamentous cyanobacteria, principally Scytonema, under a seasonally fluctuating, generally brackish salinity regime (0‰10‰). Well-cemented, wave-resistant buttresses of coalesced stromatolite heads form arcuate or club-shaped reefs up to 42 m long and 1.5 m in relief that are partially emergent during low tide. Oncolitic rubble fields are present between well-developed reefs along the 1.5 km trend, which parallels the mangrove coastline 40-100 m offshore. The mode of reef growth, as illustrated by surface relief and internal structure, changes with increasing water depth and energy, proximity to bottom sediments, and dominant cyanobacterial taxa. Sediment trapping and binding by cyanobacteria are of limited importance to reef growth, and occur only where stromatolite heads or oncolites are in direct contact with the sandy sea floor. Radiocarbon-dated mangrove peat at the base of the reef suggests that it began to form about 2300 yr B.P., as shoreline encrustations that were stranded offshore following storm-induced retreat of the mangrove coast.

  1. SHRIMP study of zircons from Early Archean rocks in the Minnesota River Valley: Implications for the tectonic history of the Superior Province

    Bickford, M.E.; Wooden, J.L.; Bauer, R.L.

    2006-01-01

    Interest in Paleoarchean to early Mesoarchean crust in North America has been sparked by the recent identification of ca. 3800-3500 Ma rocks on the northern margin of the Superior craton in the Assean Lake region of northern Manitoba and the Porpoise Cove terrane in northern Quebec. It has long been known that similarly ancient gneisses are exposed on the southern margin of the Superior craton in the Minnesota River Valley and in northern Michigan, but the ages of these rocks have been poorly constrained, because methods applied in the 1960s through late 1970s were inadequate to unravel the complexities of their thermotectonic history. Rocks exposed in the Minnesota River Valley include a complex of migmatitic granitic gneisses, schistose to gneissic amphibolite, metagabbro, and paragneisses. The best-known units are the Morton Gneiss and the Montevideo Gneiss. The complex of ancient gneisses is intruded by a major younger, weakly deformed granite body, the Sacred Heart granite. Regional geophysical anomalies that extend across the Minnesota River Valley have been interpreted as defining boundaries between distinct blocks containing the various gneissic units. New sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U-Pb data from complex zircons yielded the following ages: Montevideo Gneiss near Montevideo, 3485 ?? 10 Ma, granodiorite intrusion, 3385 ?? 8 Ma; Montevideo Gneiss at Granite Falls, 3497 ?? 9 Ma, metamorphic event, 3300-3350 Ma, mafic intrusion, 3141 ?? 2 Ma, metamorphic overprint (rims), 2606 ?? 4 Ma; Morton Gneiss: 3524 ?? 9 Ma, granodiorite intrusion, 3370 ?? 8 Ma, metamorphic overprints (growth of rims), 3140 ?? 2 Ma and 2595 ?? 4 Ma; biotite-garnet paragneiss, 2619 ?? 20 Ma; and Sacred Heart granite, 2604 ?? 4 Ma. Zircons from a cordierite-bearing feldspar-biotite schist overlying the Morton Gneiss yielded well-defined age peaks at 3520, 3480, 3380, and 3140 Ma, showing detrital input from most of the older rock units; 2600 Ma rims on these zircons

  2. Passive Signals from Aggressive Methods: The Origin and Implications of Organic Material in a Carbonate Stromatolite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petryshyn, V.; Bailey, J.; Stamps, B. W.; Stevenson, B. S.; Corsetti, F. A.

    2017-12-01

    Microbial activity can play a role in the construction of carbonate features like stromatolites and thrombolites, but determining whether microbes were directly or indirectly involved in the formation can be difficult—an endeavor that becomes more difficult as geologic time passes and organic signals degrade. In order to assess our ability to decipher the role of microbes in stromatolite formation, DNA (geologically short-lived) and alkanes (potentially geologically long-lived) were extracted and analyzed from finely-laminated Holocene carbonate stromatolites of Walker Lake, Nevada. The stromatolitic laminations were typically between 50 and 100 microns thick. The surrounding sediment and lake water was also sampled, for comparison. SSU rRNA gene sequencing suggests that a large percentage (25-40 % relative abundance) of the microbial community found within the stromatolite is comprised of ambient lake algae, not known to form stromatolite-building mats given their size vs. stromatolite lamination thickness, rather than the usual taxa associated with the formation of stromatolites. Other minor taxa were identified, including the bacterial families Cyanobacteria, Flavobacteriaceae, and Rhodobacteraceae. Mirroring the DNA results, the carbon isotopic compositions of the alkanes were largely indistinguishable from the limnic biomass dominated by lake algae. The results suggest that organic matter was passively incorporated into the carbonate structure from the lake as it accreted. Although evidence of life was abundant in the stromatolite, a direct role (builders) or even an indirect role (tenants) is difficult to establish, as the 16S/18S and lipid biomarkers appear to simply originate from the water column (squatters) and not from a unique microbial mat. In the absence of in situ analyses during the formation of the stromatolite, it may be difficult to disentangle the builders from the tenants and/or squatters based solely on molecular or organic geochemical data

  3. Li isotopes in archean zircons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouvier, A.; Ushikubo, T.; Kita, N.; Cavosie, A. J.; Kozdon, R.; Valley, J. W.

    2009-12-01

    Li is a fluid mobile, moderately incompatible element with a large mass difference between its two stable isotopes. Different processes can fractionate 7Li/6Li (fluid-rock interaction, metamorphic reactions, and Li diffusion), leading to variation by over 50‰ of δ7Li for common crustal material. These large variations make δ7Li a potential tracer of continental weathering and of the fluids affecting magma sources. Here, we report δ7Li and trace elements in Archean igneous zircons from TTG and sanukitoid granitoids from the Superior Province (Canada) in order to characterize Li in Archean zircons from well-described samples. These data are compared to detrital zircons from the Jack Hills (Western Australia) for which parent rock-type is uncertain. This study aims to better understand Li substitution in zircon and to evaluate the utility of δ7Li and [Li] for Archean petrogenesis. Zircons (n=71) were analyzed for δ7Li and trace elements (Li, P, Ca, Ti, V, Fe, Y, REE, U, Th) using an IMS-1280 ion microprobe. Most of the zircons display typical igneous REE patterns and zoning by CL. [Li] averages 13.1 ± 9 for TTG, 25.7 ± 19 for Sanukitoid and 31.0 ± 14 ppm for Jack Hills zircons, which are distinct from mantle-related zircons (<0.1 ppm). Values of δ7Li average 1.0 ± 4.5‰ for TTGs, 6.3 ± 4.4‰ for sanukitoids and -2.6 ± 8.8‰ for Jack Hills samples. Trace elements were analyzed from single spots in order to evaluate coupled substitutions. Atomic ratios (3Li+Y+REE)/P average 2.6, showing that Li and trivalent atoms are not charge-balanced by P, and suggesting that Li does not replace Zr, according to the xenotime substitution. However, (Y+REE)/(Li+P) atomic ratios average 1.0 ± 0.6, supporting the hypothesis that Li is interstitial and partly compensates trivalent cations. Several observations in this study suggest that [Li] is primary in the studied zircons: i) if Li is interstitial, charge-balance and slow diffusion of REE would control Li mobility

  4. Two distinct origins for Archean greenstone belts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smithies, R. Hugh; Ivanic, Tim J.; Lowrey, Jack R.; Morris, Paul A.; Barnes, Stephen J.; Wyche, Stephen; Lu, Yong-Jun

    2018-04-01

    Applying the Th/Yb-Nb/Yb plot of Pearce (2008) to the well-studied Archean greenstone sequences of Western Australia shows that individual volcanic sequences evolved through one of two distinct processes reflecting different modes of crust-mantle interaction. In the Yilgarn Craton, the volcanic stratigraphy of the 2.99-2.71 Ga Youanmi Terrane mainly evolved through processes leading to Th/Yb-Nb/Yb trends with a narrow range of Th/Nb ('constant-Th/Nb' greenstones). In contrast, the 2.71-2.66 Ga volcanic stratigraphy of the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane evolved through processes leading to Th/Yb-Nb/Yb trends showing a continuous range in Th/Nb ('variable-Th/Nb' greenstones). Greenstone sequences of the Pilbara Craton show a similar evolution, with constant-Th/Nb greenstone evolution between 3.13 and 2.95 Ga and variable-Th/Nb greenstone evolution between 3.49 and 3.23 Ga and between 2.77 and 2.68 Ga. The variable-Th/Nb trends dominate greenstone sequences in Australia and worldwide, and are temporally associated with peaks in granite magmatism, which promoted crustal preservation. The increasing Th/Nb in basalts correlates with decreasing εNd, reflecting variable amounts of crustal assimilation during emplacement of mantle-derived magmas. These greenstones are typically accompanied in the early stages by komatiite, and can probably be linked to mantle plume activity. Thus, regions such as the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane simply developed as plume-related rifts over existing granite-greenstone crust - in this case the Youanmi Terrane. Their Th/Nb trends are difficult to reconcile with modern-style subduction processes. The constant-Th/Nb trends may reflect derivation from a mantle source already with a high and constant Th/Nb ratio. This, and a lithological association including boninite-like lavas, basalts, and calc-alkaline andesites, all within a narrow Th/Nb range, resembles compositions typical of modern-style subduction settings. These greenstones are very

  5. Tectonic implications of Archean anorthosite occurrences

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phinney, W. C.; Morrison, D. A.; Maczuga, D. E.

    1988-01-01

    The occurrences of megacrystic anorthosite and basalt in a variety of geologic settings were reviewed and it was found that these rock types occur in a variety of tectonic settings. Anorthosites and megacrystic basalts are petrogenetically related and are found in oceanic volcanic crust, cratons, and shelf environments. Although megacrystic basalts are most common in Archean terranes, similar occurrences are observed in rocks of early Proterozoic age, and even in young terranes such as the Galapagos hotspot. Based on inferences from experimental petrology, all of the occurrences are apparently associated with similar parental melts that are relatively Fe-rich tholeiites. The megacrystic rocks exhibit a two- (or more)-stage development of plagioclase, with the megacrysts having relatively uniform composition produced under nearly isothermal and isochemical conditions over substantial periods of time. The anorthosites appear to have intruded various crustal levels from very deep to very shallow. The petrogenetic indicators, however, suggest that conditions of formation of the Precambrian examples were different from Phanerozoic occurrences.

  6. Assessing the effects of ultraviolet radiation on the photosynthetic potential in Archean marine environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avila-Alonso, Dailé; Baetens, Jan M.; Cardenas, Rolando; de Baets, Bernard

    2017-07-01

    In this work, the photosynthesis model presented by Avila et al. in 2013 is extended and more scenarios inhabited by ancient cyanobacteria are investigated to quantify the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on their photosynthetic potential in marine environments of the Archean eon. We consider ferrous ions as blockers of UV during the Early Archean, while the absorption spectrum of chlorophyll a is used to quantify the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by photosynthetic organisms. UV could have induced photoinhibition at the water surface, thereby strongly affecting the species with low light use efficiency. A higher photosynthetic potential in early marine environments was shown than in the Late Archean as a consequence of the attenuation of UVC and UVB by iron ions, which probably played an important role in the protection of ancient free-floating bacteria from high-intensity UV radiation. Photosynthetic organisms in Archean coastal and ocean environments were probably abundant in the first 5 and 25 m of the water column, respectively. However, species with a relatively high efficiency in the use of light could have inhabited ocean waters up to a depth of 200 m and show a Deep Chlorophyll Maximum near 60 m depth. We show that the electromagnetic radiation from the Sun, both UV and visible light, could have determined the vertical distribution of Archean marine photosynthetic organisms.

  7. Geochemistry of the Archean Yellowknife Supergroup

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenner, G. A.; Fryer, B. J.; McLennan, S. M.

    1981-07-01

    The Archean Yellowknife Supergroup (Slave Structural Province. Canada) is composed of a thick sequence of supracrustal rocks, which differs from most Archean greenstone belts in that it contains a large proportion ( ~ 80%) of sedimentary rocks. Felsic volcanics of the Banting Formation are characterized by HREE depletion without Eu-anomalies, indicating an origin by small degrees of partial melting of a mafic source, with minor garnet in the residua. Granitic rocks include synkinematic granites [HREE-depleted; low ( 87Sr /86Sr ) I], post-kinematic granites [negative Eu-anomalies, high ( 87Sr /86Sr ) I] and granitic gneisses with REE patterns similar to the post-kinematic granites. Sedimentary rocks (turbidites) of the Burwash and Walsh Formations have similar chemical compositions and were derived from 20% mafic-intermediate volcanics, 55% felsic volcanics and 25% granitic rocks. Jackson Lake Formation lithic wackes can be divided into two groups with Group A derived from 50% mafic-intermediate volcanics and 50% felsic volcanics and Group B, characterized by HREE depletion, derived almost exclusively from felsic volcanics. REE patterns of Yellowknife sedimentary rocks are similar to other Archean sedimentary REE patterns, although they have higher La N/Yb N. These patterns differ significantly from typical post-Archean sedimentary REE patterns, supporting the idea that Archean exposed crust had a different composition than the present day exposed crust.

  8. Lifestyles of the palaeoproterozoic stromatolite builders in the Vempalle Sea, Cuddapah Basin, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patranabis-Deb, Sarbani; Majumder, Tuasha; Khan, Sayani

    2018-05-01

    The distribution and changing pattern of stromatolites in the Vempalle Formation of the Cuddapah Basin, India, have been investigated with emphasis on external morphologies, internal fabrics, growth patterns and sediment associations. The stromatolitic limestone occurs in a low angle ramp type carbonate platform, with complete exposures from shallow shelf to basinal facies, provides record of changes in reef-building capacity of stromatolites with change in the depositional milieu. Changing pattern and style of the stromatolites clearly reflect depth partitioned growth of the microbial community. Small and scattered stromatolites, commonly with wavy parallel laminations or stratifications occurred in inner-ramp settings, where they are build up to the sea level. Tepee structure and desiccation cracks in associated sediments and salt pseudomorphs point to shallow water to occasional exposure condition. Large bioherms with columnar and conical stromatolites developed in the headland (mid ramp), which were in continuous interaction with strong waves of the open sea. Growth of the bioherms changed the landform with time and generated a high sloping edge with a sheer drop that extended out into the sea, forming distally steepened ramp. Outer ramp lithofacies characterized by thick layers of shale succession with thin beds of laterally persistent stromatolitic beds with low synoptic relief build-ups. These biotic components, along with the absence of wave-related structures, place the outer ramp below the base of wave action zone. Ooid banks developed in the mid ramp area are in the high surfing zone. High flux of nutrients and high-light show positive correlation; thus the high growth pattern is best observed within the photic zone where wave action is maximum. The ability to change from low synoptic relief algal laminites to high synoptic relief columnar stromatolites point to their adaptive power. The key factor that controlled the shape of these Palaeoproterozoic

  9. Subaerial freshwater phosphatic stromatolites in Deer Cave, Sarawak — A unique geobiological cave formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundberg, Joyce; McFarlane, Donald A.

    2011-05-01

    A suite of distinctive freshwater subaerial phosphatic stromatolites is developed close to the northeastern entrance of Deer Cave, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, in conditions of very low light but ample supply of nutrients from guano. These stromatolites are not particulate; they are composed of alternating layers of more porous and more dense amorphous hydroxylapatite. This biomineralization occurs as moulds of coccoid (the majority) and filamentous (less abundant) cyanobacteria. Mineralization occurs at a pH of ~ 7.0 in the extracellular sheaths and in micro-domains of varying carbonate content in the surrounding mucus of the biofilm. The most recent surfaces that are not yet strongly mineralized show still-living filamentous, coccoid and rod-shaped forms. Trace element composition shows enrichment in metal ions, especially Mn and Zn. The stromatolites are present as horizontal shelves arranged in series on a steep rock face that is vertically under a guano-laden shelf. The rock face undergoes active dissolution from acidic guano drainage water (e.g., pH of 2.43) and from aggressive rainwater from an overhead discharge. However, the rock surface under the stromatolite is protected while the rest of the cliff face is backcut, creating a hoodoo-like effect. The stromatolites are ~ 15-20 cm deep, ~ 4-7 cm thick, and of variable width, generally ~ 50 cm. Eventually, guano and biological detritus in the descending water film lodge in the lee of the stromatolite lip, causing local acidification and erosion of stromatolite and rock on the underside of the ledge. A dynamic equilibrium is established between upward accretion of the fresh surface and destruction at the base such that the base of the stromatolite does not reflect the date of its inception and the stromatolite climbs up the wall.

  10. Trace element geochemistry of Archean volcanic rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahn, B.-M.; Shih, C.-Y.; Murthy, V. R.

    1974-01-01

    The K, Rb, Sr, Ba and rare-earth-element contents of some Archean volcanic rocks from the Vermilion greenstone belt, northeast Minnesota, were determined by the isotopic dilution method. The characteristics of trace element abundances, supported by the field occurrences and major element chemistry, suggest that these volcanic rocks were formed in an ancient island arc system.

  11. Ridge-trench collision in Archean and Post-Archean crustal growth: Evidence from southern Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nelson, E. P.; Forsythe, R. D.

    1988-01-01

    The growth of continental crust at convergent plate margins involves both continuous and episodic processes. Ridge-trench collision is one episodic process that can cause significant magmatic and tectonic effects on convergent plate margins. Because the sites of ridge collision (ridge-trench triple junctions) generally migrate along convergent plate boundaries, the effects of ridge collision will be highly diachronous in Andean-type orogenic belts and may not be adequately recognized in the geologic record. The Chile margin triple junction (CMTJ, 46 deg S), where the actively spreading Chile rise is colliding with the sediment-filled Peru-Chile trench, is geometrically and kinematically the simplest modern example of ridge collision. The south Chile margin illustrates the importance of the ridge-collision tectonic setting in crustal evolution at convergent margins. Similarities between ridge-collision features in southern Chile and features of Archean greenstone belts raise the question of the importance of ridge collision in Archean crustal growth. Archean plate tectonic processes were probably different than today; these differences may have affected the nature and importance of ridge collision during Archean crustal growth. In conclusion, it is suggested that smaller plates, greater ridge length, and/or faster spreading all point to the likelihood that ridge collision played a greater role in crustal growth and development of the greenstone-granite terranes during the Archean. However, the effects of modern ridge collision, and the processes involved, are not well enough known to develop specific models for the Archean ridge collison.

  12. Micro-Scale Sulfur and Carbon Isotope Analysis of a Neoarchean Stromatolite: Evidence for a Profound Redox Transition in Shelf Margins prior to the Great Oxidation Event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ilhardt, P.; House, C. H.; Altermann, W.

    2016-12-01

    Neoarchean shelf margin environments such as the Campbellrand-Malmani platform are believed to have been sites of substantial O2 accumulation and nutrient cycling prior to the Great Oxidation Event (GOE). Stromatolites in particular serve as biogeochemical "hotspots" where evidence of various metabolic pathways and bacterial lineages can be traced through geochemical fingerprints. We identified morphologically-unique, organic-rimmed pyrite grains embedded in the dolomitic lamina of a Campbellrand Subgroup stromatolite (2.6 Ga). Carbon and sulfur isotopes measured in situ revealed a multi-layered microbial community employing photoautotrophic carbon fixation, organic matter respiration, sulfate reduction, and potentially assimilation of methane. In particular, unusually high kerogen δ13Corg and pyrite δ34S compositions are consistent with a semi-aerobic ecosystem recycling photosynthetic biomass and sulfate reduction in sulfate-limited porewaters, respectively. In addition, an array of positive Δ33S values suggests incorporation of atmospherically-derived sulfur formed from volcanic SO2 photochemistry and isolated in particulate form. We argue the Δ33S-δ34S trend is best explained by mixing between a δ34S-enriched coastal marine sulfate reservoir and stratospheric Δ33S-positive sulfate or elemental sulfur aerosols. The hypothesized buildup of sulfur gases at higher altitudes agrees with prior arguments for increased subaerial felsic volcanism and intense plume activity coinciding with oxidation of the upper mantle. We suggest explosive subaerial eruptions sustained a stratospheric SO2 reservoir that underwent photochemistry via long-wavelength (250-330 nm) UV radiation to produce positive MIF-carrying aerosol particles (sulfate or sulfur) in the Neoarchean. This contrasts with Paleoarchean sulfur chemistry dominated by SO2 photolysis in the 190-220 nm excitation band and points to an evolving Archean atmosphere, culminating in a coupled biogeochemical

  13. The nature of Archean terrane boundaries: an example from the northern Wyoming Province

    Mogk, D.W.; Mueller, P.A.; Wooden, J.L.

    1992-01-01

    The Archean northern Wyoming Province can be subdivided into two geologically distinct terranes, the Beartooth-Bighorn magmatic terrane (BBMT) and the Montana metasedimentary terrane (MMT). The BBMT is characterized by voluminous Late Archean (2.90-2.74 Ga) magmatic rocks (primarily tonalite, trondhjemite, and granite); metasedimentary rocks are preserved only as small, rare enclaves in this magmatic terrane. The magmatic rocks typically have geochemical and isotopic signatures that suggest petrogenesis in a continental magmatic arc environment. The MMT, as exposed in the northern Gallatin and Madison Ranges, is dominated by Middle Archean trondhjemitic gneisses (3.2-3.0 Ga); metasedimentary rocks, however, are significantly more abundant than in the BBMT. Each terrane has experienced a separate and distinct geologic history since at least 3.6 Ga ago based on differences in metamorphic and structural styles, composition of magmatic and metasupracrustal rocks, and isotopic ages; consequently, these may be described as discrete terranes in the Cordilleran sense. Nonetheless, highly radiogenic and distinctive Pb-Pb isotopic signatures in rocks of all ages in both terranes indicate that the two terranes share a significant aspect of their history. This suggests that these two Early to Middle Archean crustal blocks, that initially evolved as part of a larger crustal province, experienced different geologic histories from at least 3.6 Ga until their juxtaposition in the Late Archean (between 2.75 to 2.55 Ga ago). Consequently, the boundary between the BBMT and MMT appears to separate terranes that are not likely to be exotic in the sense of their Phanerozoic counterparts. Other Archean provinces do appear to contain crustal blocks with different isotopic signatures (e.g. West Greenland, India, South Africa). The use of the term exotic, therefore, must be cautious in situations where geographic indicators such as paleontologic and/or paleomagnetic data are not available

  14. Stromatolites in the approximately 3400 Ma Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia: examining biogenicity from the macro- to the nano-scale.

    PubMed

    Wacey, David

    2010-05-01

    The 3426-3350 Ma Strelley Pool Formation (SPF) is a silicified, dominantly sedimentary unit within the Pilbara Supergroup, Western Australia. It is found widely across the East Pilbara Terrane, and it forms a prominent marker horizon and separates the largely volcanic 3520-3427 Ma Warrawoona and 3350-3315 Ma Kelly groups. It has become one of the key formations for study by astrobiologists, following reports of some of the world's oldest stromatolites. Abundant contextural and morphological evidence has been presented over the last decade in support of a biological role in SPF stromatolite formation. This evidence is reviewed here, and additional data are presented from recent fieldwork carried out across the approximately 25 km of SPF outcrops in the East Strelley greenstone belt of the East Pilbara Terrane. In addition to contextural and morphological evidence, a compelling claim for early life requires geochemical evidence for biological cycling. A potential avenue of approach to obtain such evidence for the SPF stromatolites (and other ancient examples) is discussed in the context of a pilot study in which nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) was used.

  15. Determining the specific microbial populations and their spatial distribution within the stromatolite ecosystem of Shark Bay.

    PubMed

    Goh, Falicia; Allen, Michelle A; Leuko, Stefan; Kawaguchi, Tomohiro; Decho, Alan W; Burns, Brendan P; Neilan, Brett A

    2009-04-01

    The stromatolites at Shark Bay, Western Australia, are analogues of some of the oldest evidence of life on Earth. The aim of this study was to identify and spatially characterize the specific microbial communities associated with Shark Bay intertidal columnar stromatolites. Conventional culturing methods and construction of 16S rDNA clone libraries from community genomic DNA with both universal and specific PCR primers were employed. The estimated coverage, richness and diversity of stromatolite microbial populations were compared with earlier studies on these ecosystems. The estimated coverage for all clone libraries indicated that population coverage was comprehensive. Phylogenetic analyses of stromatolite and surrounding seawater sequences were performed in ARB with the Greengenes database of full-length non-chimaeric 16S rRNA genes. The communities identified exhibited extensive diversity. The most abundant sequences from the stromatolites were alpha- and gamma-proteobacteria (58%), whereas the cyanobacterial community was characterized by sequences related to the genera Euhalothece, Gloeocapsa, Gloeothece, Chroococcidiopsis, Dermocarpella, Acaryochloris, Geitlerinema and Schizothrix. All clones from the archaeal-specific clone libraries were related to the halophilic archaea; however, no archaeal sequence was identified from the surrounding seawater. Fluorescence in situ hybridization also revealed stromatolite surfaces to be dominated by unicellular cyanobacteria, in contrast to the sub-surface archaea and sulphate-reducing bacteria. This study is the first to compare the microbial composition of morphologically similar stromatolites over time and examine the spatial distribution of specific microorganismic groups in these intertidal structures and the surrounding seawater at Shark Bay. The results provide a platform for identifying the key microbial physiology groups and their potential roles in modern stromatolite morphogenesis and ecology.

  16. Microbial Diversity Analysis of the Bacterial and Archaeal Population in Present Day Stromatolites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ortega, Maya C.

    2011-01-01

    Stromatolites are layered sedimentary structures resulting from microbial mat communities that remove carbon dioxide from their environment and biomineralize it as calcium carbonate. Although prevalent in the fossil record, stromatolites are rare in the modem world and are only found in a few locations including Highbome Cay in the Bahamas. The stromatolites found at this shallow marine site are analogs to ancient microbial mat ecosystems abundant in the Precambrian period on ancient Earth. To understand how stromatolites form and develop, it is important to identify what microorganisms are present in these mats, and how these microbes contribute to geological structure. These results will provide insight into the molecular and geochemical processes of microbial communities that prevailed on ancient Earth. Since stromatolites are formed by lithifying microbial mats that are able to mineralize calcium carbonate, understanding the biological mechanisms involved may lead to the development of carbon sequestration technologies that will be applicable in human spaceflight, as well as improve our understanding of global climate and its sustainability. The objective of my project was to analyze the archaeal and bacterial dIversity in stromatolites from Highborn Cay in the Bahamas. The first step in studying the molecular processes that the microorganisms carry out is to ascertain the microbial complexity within the mats, which includes identifying and estimating the numbers of different microbes that comprise these mats.

  17. Fossilization of Coniform (Phormidium) Stromatolites In Siliceous Thermal Springs, Yellowstone National Park

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack; Bebout, Brad; Jahnke, Linda; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    We have studied fossilization processes in well-developed cyanobacterial mats present in mid-terrace ponds of silica-precipitating thermal springs of Yellowstone National Park. These mats occur over temperatures of approx.35-60 C and are dominated by species of Phormidium. Within Bonded systems two end member environments have been distinguished based temperature, depth, and the stability of spring inflows, each differing substantially in the style of stromatolite morphogenesis and fossilization. Type 1 systems include shallow, ephemeral ponds where water flow and temperature fluctuates widely on a seasonal basis; mats typically secrete rapidly up to the air-water interface, forming exposed islands. Silicification occurs primarily by the wicking of water onto the surface of exposed mats, leading to the evaporative concentration of silica near the surface. pH microelectronic measurements in partially-exposed columns show strong gradients in pH with values exceeding 10.5 in the upper am of silicifying mats, decreasing to <9.0 a few mm below the surface. High oxygen concentrations lead to the rapid oxidation of most organic materials. In Type I systems, the tops of coniform and columnar stromatolites become silicified first, followed by the bases. This typically leads to extensive fragmentation during the initial stages of burial. Case 2 systems include deeper ponds where the water flow, temperature and depth are seasonally more stable, and where mats develop larger-scale tufts and columns. Alkalinity in permanently submerged mats increases into tuft interiors from approx.9.0 near the surface to >10.0 at depth. Moderate silicification is apparent throughout mat frameworks, although there is frequently a densely silicified core near the base. In Type 2 systems, preservation of the coniform and columnar architecture of stromatoilites is much more robust. Sub-fossil examples suggest minimal fragmentation prior to burial. Comparative rapid analysis of the phone zones of

  18. The Archean geology of the Godthabsfjord Region, southern west Greenland (includes excursion guide)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcgregor, V. R.; Nutman, A. P.; Friend, C. R. L.

    1986-01-01

    The part of the West Greenland Archean gneiss complex centered around Godthabsfjord and extending from Isukasia in the north to south Faeringehavn is studied. Extensive outcrops of 3800 to 3400 Ma rocks can provide some direct evidence of conditions and processes that operated on the Earth in the early Archean. However, the ways in which primary characteristics have been modified by later deformation, metamorphism, and chemical changes are first taken into account. The rocks exposed are the products of two major phases of accretion of continental crust, at 3800 to 3700 Ma and 3100 to 29 Ma. The main features of these two accretion phases are similar, but careful study of the least modified rocks may reveal differences related to changes in the Earth in the intervening period. The combination of excellent exposure over an extensive area, relatively detailed geological mapping of much of the region, and a considerable volume of isotopic and other geochemical data gives special insights into processes that operated at moderately deep levels of the crust in the Archean. Of particular interest is the effect of late Archean granulite facies metamorphism on early Archean rocks, especially the extent to which isotope systems were disturbed. Similar processes may well have partly or wholly destroyed evidence of more ancient components of other high grade terrains. This account does not attempt to be an exhaustive review of all work carried out on the geology of the region. Rather, it attempts to summarize aspects of the geology and some interest in the context of early crustal genesis.

  19. Tracing Archean sulfur across stitched lithospheric blocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LaFlamme, Crystal; Fiorentini, Marco; Lindsay, Mark; Wing, Boswell; Selvaraja, Vikraman; Occhipinti, Sandra; Johnson, Simon; Bui, Hao Thi

    2017-04-01

    Craton margins are loci for volatile exchange among lithospheric geochemical reservoirs during crust formation processes. Here, we seek to revolutionise the current understanding of the planetary flux and lithospheric transfer of volatiles during supercontinent formation by tracing sulfur from the atmosphere-hydrosphere through to the lithosphere during crust formation. To do so, we trace the transfer of sulfur by following mass independently fractionated sulfur at ancient tectonic boundaries has the potential to. Mass independent fractionation of sulfur (MIF-S) is a signature (quantified as Δ33S and Δ36S) that is unique to the Archean sedimentary rock record and imparted to sulfur reservoirs that interacted with the oxygen-poor atmosphere before the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) at ca. 2.4 Ga. Here we present multiple sulfur isotopes from across a Proterozoic post-GOE orogenic belt, formed when Archean cratons were stitched together during supercontinent amalgamation. For the first time, multiple sulfur isotope data are presented spatially to elucidate volatile pathways across lithospheric blocks. Across the orogenic belt, the Proterozoic granitoid and hydrothermal rock records proximal to Archean cratons preserve values of Δ33S up to +0.8\\permil and a Δ33S-Δ36S array of -1.2, whereas magmatic and hydrothermal systems located more distally from the margin do not display any evidence of MIF-S. This is the first study to identify MIF-S in a Proterozoic orogen indicates that tectonic processes controlling lithospheric evolution and crust formation at tectonic boundaries are able to transfer sulfur from Archean supracrustal rock reservoirs to newly formed Proterozoic granitoid crust. The observation of MIF-S in the Proterozoic granitoid rock record has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of secular changes in the evolution of crust formation mechanisms through time.

  20. Tracking the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone in the northeastern Great Basin, Nevada and Utah

    Rodriguez, B.D.; Williams, J.M.

    2008-01-01

    It is important to know whether major mining districts in north-central Nevada are underlain by crust of the Archean Wyoming craton, known to contain major orogenic gold deposits or, alternatively, by accreted crust of the Paleoproterozoic Mojave province. Determining the location and orientation of the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone between these provinces is also important because it may influence subsequent patterns of sedimentation, deformation, magmatism, and hydrothermal activity. The suture zone is exposed in northeastern Utah and south-western Wyoming and exhibits a southwest strike. In the Great Basin, the suture zone strike is poorly constrained because it is largely concealed below a Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic miogeocline and Cenozoic basin fill. Two-dimensional resistivity modeling of three regional north-south magnetotelluric sounding profiles in western Utah, north-central Nevada, and northeastern Nevada, and one east-west profile in northeastern Nevada, reveals a deeply penetrating (>10 km depth), broad (tens of kilometers) conductor (1-20 ohm-meters) that may be the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone, which formed during Early Proterozoic rifting of the continent and subsequent Proterozoic accretion. This major crustal conductor changes strike direction from southwest in Utah to northwest in eastern Nevada, where it broadens to ???100 km width that correlates with early Paleozoic rifting of the continent. Our results suggest that the major gold belts may be over-isolated blocks of Archean crust, so Phanerozoic mineral deposits in this region may be produced, at least in part, from recycled Archean gold. Future mineral exploration to the east may yield large gold tonnages. ?? 2008 Geological Society of America.

  1. Constraining Δ33S signatures of Archean seawater sulfate with carbonate-associated sulfate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Y.; Bao, H.; Bekker, A.; Hofmann, A.

    2017-12-01

    Non-mass dependent sulfur isotope deviation of S-bearing phases in Archean sedimentary strata, and expressed as Δ33S, has a consistent pattern, i.e., sulfide (pyrite) predominantly bear positive Δ33S values, while Paleoarchean sulfate (barite) has negative Δ33S values. This pattern was later corroborated by observations of negative Δ33S values in Archean volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits and negative Δ33S values in early diagenetic nodular pyrite with a wide range of δ34S values, which is thought to be due to microbial sulfate reduction. These signatures have provided a set of initial conditions for a mechanistic interpretation at physical chemistry level. Unlike the younger geological times when large bodies of seawater evaporite deposits are common, to expand seawater sulfate records, carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS) was utilized as a proxy for ancient seawater sulfate. CAS extracted from the Archean carbonates carries positive Δ33S values. However, CAS could be derived from pyrite oxidation following exposure to modern oxidizing conditions and/or during laboratory extraction procedures. It is, therefore, important for us understanding context of the overall early earth atmospheric condition to empirically confirm whether Archean seawater sulfate was generally characterized by negative Δ33S signatures. Combined δ18O, Δ17O, δ34S, and Δ33S analyses of sequentially extracted water-leachable sulfate (WLS) and acid-leachable sulfate (ALS = CAS) and δ34S and Δ33S analyses of pyrite can help to identify the source of extracted sulfate. We studied drill-core samples of Archean carbonates from the 2.55 Ga Malmani and Campell Rand supgroups, South Africa. Our preliminary results show that 1) neither WLS nor ALS were extracted from samples with extremely low pyrite contents (less than 0.05 wt.%); 2) extractable WLS and ALS is present in samples with relatively high pyrite contents (more than 1 wt.%), and that δ34S and Δ33S values of WLS, ALS, and

  2. Cyanobacterial construction of hot spring siliceous stromatolites in Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    Pepe-Ranney, Charles; Berelson, William M; Corsetti, Frank A; Treants, Merika; Spear, John R

    2012-05-01

    Living stromatolites growing in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park are composed of silica-encrusted cyanobacterial mats. Two cyanobacterial mat types grow on the stromatolite surfaces and are preserved as two distinct lithofacies. One mat is present when the stromatolites are submerged or at the water-atmosphere interface and the other when stromatolites protrude from the hot spring. The lithofacies created by the encrustation of submerged mats constitutes the bulk of the stromatolites, is comprised of silica-encrusted filaments, and is distinctly laminated. To better understand the cyanobacterial membership and community structure differences between the mats, we collected mat samples from each type. Molecular methods revealed that submerged mat cyanobacteria were predominantly one novel phylotype while the exposed mats were predominantly heterocystous phylotypes (Chlorogloeopsis HTF and Fischerella). The cyanobacterium dominating the submerged mat type does not belong in any of the subphylum groups of cyanobacteria recognized by the Ribosomal Database Project and has also been found in association with travertine stromatolites in a Southwest Japan hot spring. Cyanobacterial membership profiles indicate that the heterocystous phylotypes are 'rare biosphere' members of the submerged mats. The heterocystous phylotypes likely emerge when the water level of the hot spring drops. Environmental pressures tied to water level such as sulfide exposure and possibly oxygen tension may inhibit the heterocystous types in submerged mats. These living stromatolites are finely laminated and therefore, in texture, may better represent similarly laminated ancient forms compared with more coarsely laminated living marine examples. © 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  3. THE COSMIC-RAY INTENSITY NEAR THE ARCHEAN EARTH

    SciT

    Cohen, O.; Drake, J. J.; Kota, J.

    2012-11-20

    We employ three-dimensional state-of-the-art magnetohydrodynamic models of the early solar wind and heliosphere and a two-dimensional model for cosmic-ray transport to investigate the cosmic-ray spectrum and flux near the Archean Earth. We assess how sensitive the cosmic-ray spectrum is to changes in the sunspot placement and magnetic field strength, the large-scale dipole magnetic field strength, the wind ram pressure, and the Sun's rotation period. Overall, our results confirm earlier work that suggested the Archean Earth would have experienced a greatly reduced cosmic-ray flux than is the case today. The cosmic-ray reduction for the early Sun is mainly due to themore » shorter solar rotation period and tighter winding of the Parker spiral, and to the different surface distribution of the more active solar magnetic field. These effects lead to a global reduction of the cosmic-ray flux at 1 AU by up to two orders of magnitude or more. Variations in the sunspot magnetic field have more effect on the flux than variations in the dipole field component. The wind ram pressure affects the cosmic-ray flux through its influence on the size of the heliosphere via the pressure balance with the ambient interstellar medium. Variations in the interstellar medium pressure experienced by the solar system in orbit through the Galaxy could lead to order of magnitude changes in the cosmic-ray flux at Earth on timescales of a few million years.« less

  4. Mushroom speleothems: Stromatolites that formed in the absence of phototrophs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bontognali, Tomaso; D'Angeli, Ilenia; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano; Gonzales, Esteban; DeWaele, Jo

    2016-04-01

    Unusual speleothems resembling giant mushrooms occur in Santa Catalina Cave, Cuba. Although these mineral buildups are considered a natural heritage, their composition and formation mechanism remain poorly understood. Here we characterize their morphology and mineralogy and present a model for their genesis. We propose that the mushrooms, which are mainly comprised of calcite and aragonite, formed during four different phases within an evolving cave environment. The stipe of the mushroom is an assemblage of three well-known speleothems: a stalagmite surrounded by calcite rafts that were subsequently encrusted by cave clouds (mammilaries). More peculiar is the cap of the mushroom, which is morphologically similar to cerebroid stromatolites and thrombolites of microbial origin occurring in marine environments. Scanning electron microscopy investigations of this last unit revealed the presence of fossilized extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) - the constituents of biofilms and microbial mats. These organic microstructures are mineralized with Ca-carbonate, suggesting that the mushroom cap formed through a microbially-influenced mineralization process. The existence of cerebroid Ca-carbonate buildups forming in dark caves (i.e., in the absence of phototrophs) has interesting implications for the study of fossil microbialites preserved in ancient rocks, which are today considered as one of the earliest evidence for life on Earth.

  5. Exploring Archean seawater sulfate via triple S isotopes in carbonate associated sulfate.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paris, G.; Fischer, W. W.; Sessions, A. L.; Adkins, J. F.

    2015-12-01

    Multiple sulfur isotope ratios in Archean sedimentary rocks provide powerful insights into the behavior of the ancient sulfur cycle, the redox state of fluid Earth, and the timing of the rise of atmospheric oxygen [1]. The Archean sulfur isotope record is marked by pronounced mass-independent fractionation (Δ33S≠0)—signatures widely interpreted as the result of SO2 photolysis from "short-wavelength" UV light resulting in a reduced phase carrying positive Δ33S values (ultimately recorded in pyrite) and an oxidized phase carrying negative Δ33S values carried by sulfate [2]. Support for this hypothesis rests on early laboratory experiments and observations of negative Δ33S from barite occurrences in mixed volcanic sedimentary strata in Mesoarchean greenstone terrains. Despite forming the framework for understanding Archean sulfur cycle processes, this hypothesis is still largely untested, notably due to the lack of sulfate minerals in Archean strata. Using a new MC-ICP-MS approach combined with petrography and X-ray spectroscopy we have generated a growing S isotope dataset from CAS extracted from Archean carbonates from a range of sedimentary successions, including: the 2.6 to 2.521 Ga Campbellrand-Malmani carbonate platform (Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa), 2.7 Ga Cheshire Formation (Zimbabwe), and 2.9 Ga Steep Rock Formation (Canada). Importantly, we observe positive δ34S and Δ33S values across a range of different lithologies and depositional environments. These results demonstrate that dissolved sulfate in seawater was characterized by positive Δ33S values—a result that receives additional support from recent laboratory and theoretical experiments [e.g. 4, 5]. [1] Farquhar et al., 2000, Science [2] Farquhar et al., 2001, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets [3] Paris et al., 2014, Science. [4] Whitehill et al., 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [5] Claire et al., 2014 Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

  6. The rock components and structures of Archean greenstone belts: An overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.; Byerly, G. R.

    1986-01-01

    Knowledge of the character and evolution of the Earth's early crust is derived from the studies of the rocks and structures in Archean greenstone belts. Ability to resolve the petrologic, sedimentological and structural histories of greenstone belts, however, hinges first on an ability to apply the concepts and procedures of classical stratigraphy. Unfortunately, early Precambrian greenstone terrains present particular problems to stratigraphic analysis. Many current controversies of greenstone belt petrogenesis, sedimentology, tectonics and evolution arise more from an inability to develop a clear stratigraphic picture of the belts than from ambiguities in interpretation. Four particular stratigraphic problems that afflict studies of Archean greenstone belts are considered: determination of facing directions, correlation of lithologic units, identification of primary lithologies and discrimination of stratigraphic versus structural contacts.

  7. Characterization of the stromatolite microbiome from Little Darby Island, The Bahamas using predictive and whole shotgun metagenomic analysis.

    PubMed

    Casaburi, Giorgio; Duscher, Alexandrea A; Reid, R Pamela; Foster, Jamie S

    2016-05-01

    Modern stromatolites represent ideal ecosystems to understand the biological processes required for the precipitation of carbonate due to their long evolutionary history and occurrence in a wide range of habitats. However, most of the prior molecular work on stromatolites has focused on understanding the taxonomic complexity and not fully elucidating the functional capabilities of these systems. Here, we begin to characterize the microbiome associated with stromatolites of Little Darby Island, The Bahamas using predictive metagenomics of the 16S rRNA gene coupled with direct whole shotgun sequencing. The metagenomic analysis of the Little Darby stromatolites revealed many shared taxa and core pathways associated with biologically induced carbonate precipitation, suggesting functional convergence within Bahamian stromatolites. A comparison of the Little Darby stromatolites with other lithifying microbial ecosystems also revealed that although factors, such as geographic location and salinity, do drive some differences within the population, there are extensive similarities within the microbial populations. These results suggest that for stromatolite formation, 'who' is in the community is not as critical as metabolic activities and environmental interactions. Together, these analyses help improve our understanding of the similarities among lithifying ecosystems and provide an important first step in characterizing the shared microbiome of modern stromatolites. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Characterization of the stromatolite microbiome from Little Darby Island, The Bahamas using predictive and whole shotgun metagenomic analysis

    PubMed Central

    Casaburi, Giorgio; Duscher, Alexandrea A.; Reid, R. Pamela; Foster, Jamie S.

    2018-01-01

    Summary Modern stromatolites represent ideal ecosystems to understand the biological processes required for the precipitation of carbonate due to their long evolutionary history and occurrence in a wide range of habitats. However, most of the prior molecular work on stromatolites has focused on understanding the taxonomic complexity and not fully elucidating the functional capabilities of these systems. Here, we begin to characterize the microbiome associated with stromatolites of Little Darby Island, The Bahamas using predictive metagenomics of the 16S rRNA gene coupled with direct whole shotgun sequencing. The metagenomic analysis of the Little Darby stromatolites revealed many shared taxa and core pathways associated with biologically induced carbonate precipitation, suggesting functional convergence within Bahamian stromatolites. A comparison of the Little Darby stromatolites with other lithifying microbial ecosystems also revealed that although factors, such as geographic location and salinity, do drive some differences within the population, there are extensive similarities within the microbial populations. These results suggest that for stromatolite formation, ‘who’ is in the community is not as critical as metabolic activities and environmental interactions. Together, these analyses help improve our understanding of the similarities among lithifying ecosystems and provide an important first step in characterizing the shared microbiome of modern stromatolites. PMID:26471001

  9. Paleobiological Perspectives on Early Microbial Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Knoll, Andrew H.

    2015-01-01

    Microfossils, stromatolites, and chemical biosignatures indicate that Earth became a biological planet more than 3.5 billion years ago, making most of life's history microbial. Proterozoic rocks preserve a rich record of cyanobacteria, including derived forms that differentiate multiple cell types. Stromatolites, in turn, show that microbial communities covered the seafloor from tidal flats to the base of the photic zone. The Archean record is more challenging to interpret, particularly on the question of cyanobacterial antiquity, which remains to be resolved. In the late Neoproterozoic Era, increasing oxygen and radiating eukaryotes altered the biosphere, with planktonic algae gaining ecological prominence in the water column, whereas seaweeds and, eventually, animals spread across shallow seafloors. From a microbial perspective, however, animals, algae, and, later, plants simply provided new opportunities for diversification, and, to this day, microbial metabolisms remain the only essential components of biogeochemical cycles. PMID:26134315

  10. Chemical signatures of life in modern stromatolites from Lake Alchichica, Mexico. Applications for the search of life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Navarro, Karina F.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Alcocer, Javier; Escobar, Elva; Morales, Pedro; Cienfuegos, Edith; Coll, Patrice; Raulin, Francois; Stalport, Fabien; Cabane, Michel; Person, Alain; McKay, Chris

    Stromatolites are one of the most important forms of fossil evidence for microbial life on early Earth (Schopf et al., 1971). They are formed when layers of microbial organisms at the shallow bottom of a lake or tide pool are periodically covered with sediment or precipitating salts (e.g. carbonate). The photosynthetic organisms that form the basis of the community must migrate through sediment toward the light in order to survive. If life emerged on Mars, it is possible that stromatolites were formed in lakes and marine lagoons. Recently the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapping found a regional rock layer with near-infrared spectral characteristics that are consistent with the presence of magnesium carbonate in the Nili Fossae region (Ehlmann et al., 2008). The Nili Fossae is a fracture in the surface of Mars that has been eroded and partly filled in by sediments and clay-rich ejecta from a nearby crater. It is located at 22° N, 75° E and has an elevation of 0.6 km. The carbonate-bearing rocks outcrops in the Nili Fossae region could have formed in (1) the subsurface by groundwater percolating through fractures in the ultramafic rock and altering olivine or (2) in shallow lakes from waters enriched in Mg2+ relative to other cations by percolation through ultramafic olivine-bearing rocks. In the latter scenario, it is possible that these carbonate outcrops could have been deposited in association with microbial activity. The purpose of this work is to chemically characterize a modern stromatolite by thermal volatization (TV), a method that has been widely used in past missions (Viking and Phoenix) and will also be used in future missions (Mars Science Laboratory and ExoMars) in the search for life on Mars. Alchichica is a volcanic crater lake situated in an enclosed basin within the El Seco Valley at 19° 24' 13" N, 97° 24' 0" W, and 2.345 km above sea level in Mexico. It has an area of 1.81 km2 , a mean depth of 38.5 m and a maximum depth of 64 m. The lake is

  11. Late Archean rise of aerobic microbial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Freeman, Katherine H.

    2006-01-01

    We report the 13C content of preserved organic carbon for a 150 million-year section of late Archean shallow and deepwater sediments of the Hamersley Province in Western Australia. We find a 13C enrichment of ≈10‰ in organic carbon of post-2.7-billion-year-old shallow-water carbonate rocks relative to deepwater sediments. The shallow-water organic-carbon 13C content has a 29‰ range in values (−57 to −28‰), and it contrasts with the less variable but strongly 13C-depleted (−40 to −45‰) organic carbon in deepwater sediments. The 13C enrichment likely represents microbial habitats not as strongly influenced by assimilation of methane or other 13C-depleted substrates. We propose that continued oxidation of shallow settings favored the expansion of aerobic ecosystems and respiring organisms, and, as a result, isotopic signatures of preserved organic carbon in shallow settings approached that of photosynthetic biomass. Facies analysis of published carbon-isotopic records indicates that the Hamersley shallow-water signal may be representative of a late Archean global signature and that it preceded a similar, but delayed, 13C enrichment of deepwater deposits. The data suggest that a global-scale expansion of oxygenated habitats accompanied the progression away from anaerobic ecosystems toward respiring microbial communities fueled by oxygenic photosynthesis before the oxygenation of the atmosphere after 2.45 billion years ago. PMID:17043234

  12. Searching for Life on Early Mars: Lessons from the Pilbara

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clarke, J. D. A.; Stoker, C. R.

    2016-01-01

    Stromatolites in the Pilbara region of Western Australia constitute the earliest outcrop-scale evidence of life on Earth (Figure 1). The stromatolites in the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation (SPF) provide an important analog for searching for fossil evidence of early life on Mars, as Noachian aged sediments on Mars were formed under similar environmental conditions. Stromatolites represent possibly the best evidence that could be collected by a rover because they form recognizable macroscopic structures and are often associated with chemical and microscopic evidence.

  13. Mantle redox evolution and the oxidation state of the Archean atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, J. F.; Eggler, D. H.; Raeburn, S. P.

    1993-01-01

    Current models predict that the early atmosphere consisted mostly of CO2, N2, and H2O, along with traces of H2 and CO. Such models are based on the assumption that the redox state of the upper mantle has not changed, so that volcanic gas composition has remained approximately constant with time. We argue here that this assumption is probably incorrect: the upper mantle was originally more reduced than today, although not as reduced as the metal arrest level, and has become progressively more oxidized as a consequence of the release of reduced volcanic gases and the subduction of hydrated, oxidized seafloor. Data on the redox state of sulfide and chromite inclusions in diamonds imply that the process of mantle oxidation was slow, so that reduced conditions could have prevailed for as much as half of the earth's history. To be sure, other oxybarometers of ancient rocks give different results, so the question of when the mantle redox state has changed remains unresolved. Mantle redox evolution is intimately linked to the oxidation state of the primitive atmosphere: A reduced Archean atmosphere would have had a high hydrogen escape rate and should correspond to a changing mantle redox state; an oxidized Archean atmosphere should be associated with a constant mantle redox state. The converses of these statements are also true. Finally, our theory of mantle redox evolution may explain why the Archean atmosphere remained oxygen-deficient until approximately 2.0 billion years ago (Ga) despite a probable early origin for photosynthesis.

  14. Diversification in the Archean Biosphere: Insight from NanoSIMS of Microstructures in the Farrel Quartzite of Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oehler, D. Z.; Robert, F.; Walter, M. R.; Sugitani, K.; Meibom, A.; Mostefaoui, S.; Gibson, E. K.

    2010-01-01

    The nature of early life on Earth is difficult to assess because potential Early Archean biosignatures are commonly poorly preserved. Interpretations of such materials have been contested, and abiotic or epigenetic derivations have been proposed (summarized in [1]). Yet, an understanding of Archean life is of astrobiological importance, as knowledge of early evolutionary processes on Earth could provide insight to development of life on other planets. A recently-discovered assemblage of organic microstructures in approx.3 Ga charts of the Farrel Quartzite (FQ) of Australia [2-4] includes unusual spindle-like forms and a variety of spheroids. If biogenicity and syngeneity of these forms could be substantiated, the FQ assemblage would provide a new view of Archean life. Our work uses NanoSIMS to further assess the biogenicity and syngeneity of FQ microstructures. In prior NanoSIMS studies [5-6], we gained an understanding of nano-scale elemental distributions in undisputed microfossils from the Neoproterozoic Bitter Springs Formation of Australia. Those results provide a new tool with which to evaluate poorly preserved materials that we might find in Archean sediments and possibly in extraterrestrial materials. We have applied this tool to the FQ forms.

  15. The Role of Endolithic Cyanobacteria in the Formation of Lithified Laminae in Bahamian Stromatolites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prufert-Bebout, L.; Macintyre, I.; Reid, R. P.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The microboring activity of endolithic cyanobacteria plays a major role in the formation of lithified laminae in modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas. These stromatolites are composed primarily of fine grained carbonate sand that is trapped and bound by the filamentous cyanobacteria Schizothrix sp. Periodic introduction of coccoid endolithic cyanobacteria, Solentia sp., results in formation of lithified horizons, 200 to 1000 micron thick. We used SEM and petrographic analyses to examine both naturally occurring lithified layers dominated by endoliths and fused oolitic crusts generated in the laboratory by activity of endolithic cyanobacteria (Solentia sp.). Fused grain crusts consist of micritized grains that are welded together at point contacts. Micritization results from extensive microboring and rapid (days to weeks) carbonate precipitation within the bore holes. This precipitation appears to occur concurrently with further endolithic activity within the grain, Infilling of bore holes that cross from one grain to another at point contacts results in grain welding, Thus, while microboring destroys original grain textures, at the same time the endolith activity plays a constructional role in stromatolite growth by forming lithified layers of welded grains. These framework structures help to stabilize and preserve the stromatolite deposits.

  16. Phosphate microaggregates in Archean sediments. [Abstract only

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mojzsis, S.; Fan, G. Y.; Arrhenius, G.

    1994-01-01

    Light microscopy conducted on samples of Archean sediments reveals phosphate microaggregates which are suggestive of a biotic origin (Arrhenius et al., 1993). These aggregates, typically 15 micrometers wide and 50 micrometers long, are thought to be the mineral remains of colonies of microorganisms that lived during the late Archean Eon (greater than or equal to 2.5 Ga). Confocal microscopy was used to study the structures of these microaggregates in three dimensions. Samples used in this study are from the lowermost section of drill core taken from the Dales Gorge Member of the Brockman Iron-Formation (Hamersley Basin) in Western Australia. These sediments are well-preserved and escaped extensive metamorphism typically experienced by older rocks of this type. Two types of samples were prepared for study under the microscope: thin sections (30 micrometers) for transmitted light microscopy to study the general rock texture and to locate the grains of interest, and thick sections (3mm) for confocal microscopy to determine the 3-D structure of the aggregates in situ. The samples have been carefully polished so that they may be directly placed on the oil-immersion lens without the use of a cover slip. No chemical treatments of the surfaces have been performed. The aggregates often form clusters, although isolated aggregates have also been found. The clusters tend to distribute along microbands in the rocks. Electron microprobe analyses show that the phosphate grains and their inclusions, besides calcium and phosphorus, contain no major elements heavier than sodium. The proportions of calcium to phosphorus, the absence of stoichiometric amounts of other cations such as magnesium and iron, as well as optical properties suggest apatite as the mineral form.

  17. Life Underneath the Deccan Trap: New Insights from Stable C, O and Clumped Isotopes from the Cretaceous Stromatolites Underneath the Amba Dongar Carbonatite Body, Gujarat, Western India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banerjee, Y.; Ghosh, P.; Fosu, B. R.; Viladkar, S.

    2016-12-01

    Amba Dongar carbonatite-alkaline complex has been a longstanding subject of interest for the geoscientists as it is one of the best examples of a carbonatite ring dike complex emplaced in the western part of the Deccan Flood Basalts. The emplacement age at the K-T boundary (65 ma,) (1) makes it an exclusive body to understand the complexity of the Deccan eruption. Radiogenic Sr isotope study of carbonatites and alkaline silicate rocks of this complex indicate their cogenetic origin (1). The Amba Dongar complex intrudes cretaceous sedimentary layers known as the Bagh Formation of early to middle cretaceous based on biostratigraphic correlation (2). Although the carbonatite body has been investigated widely but only few attempts were made to investigate the sedimentary formations underneath. Here we report occurrence of cretaceous stromatolite deposit from the Amba Dongar complex. These stromatolites, previously interpreted as Travertine (3), occurs as thick sedimentary deposits in the valleys of Amba Dongar dome. Our preliminary stable C and O isotope results show a range of δ13CVPDB values from -2.24 to -3.90 ‰ while δ18OVPDB values ranges from -1.43 to -8.10‰ which is isotopically distinct from the Bagh Bed sediments investigated by others (4). In a δ13C vs δ18O crossplot, values are consistent with palustrine carbonates of Lameta Beds (4). The comparison between our results with the other cretaceous stromatolites deposits showed that the stromatolites from Amba Dongar were deposited in a coastal environment and that with the phanerozoic seawater δ13C , δ18O evolution curve given by (5) confirms its late cretaceous age. Based on the petrography studies, we speculate presence of organic debris in the layered structures and possible indication of thermal maturity (as the deposit is intruded by the Deccan basalt) suggesting reservoir characteristic of a hydrocarbon deposit. Further Clumped isotope investigation of the carbonate and organic matter extraction

  18. Origin of phosphatic stromatolites in the Upper Cretaceous condensed sequence of the Polish Jura Chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krajewski, K. P.; Leśniak, P. M.; Łącka, B.; Zawidzki, P.

    2000-10-01

    The Turonian stromatolite-bearing condensed sequence in the Polish Jura Chain (the European epicontinental basin) provides good insight into the environment of formation of Cretaceous phosphatic stromatolites, owing to their purely phosphatic development and negligible post-depositional alteration. The sequence developed as a result of slow pelagic sedimentation and microbial mat phosphatization on a submarine swell surrounded by local basins with non-condensed carbonate deposition. Diagenesis of organic matter and dissolution of biogenic apatite were the major sources of reactive phosphorus for the microbial mat phosphatization. Stromatolite growth occurred due to pulses of amorphous or poorly ordered calcium phosphate precipitation followed by crystallization of carbonate fluorapatite (CFA). The phosphogenic environment left an imprint on the isotopic composition of limestone carbon and lattice-bound carbon and sulphur in CFA, and on the light rare-earth element (LREE) distribution in CFA. The δ13C of the stromatolite-bearing sequence shows a negative excursion (-1 to -3‰), standing in marked contrast to positive carbon values of the surrounding basinal carbonate. Most of the δ34S values of CFA (+20 to +21‰) fit the value range of the coeval seawater sulphate, and the LREE distribution shows a well-defined seawater pattern. This geochemical signature is indicative of intense diagenesis of organic matter at the seafloor, pelagic carbonate dissolution, and prolonged exposure of the deposited phosphate towards the water column. The enhanced deposition and diagenesis of organic phosphorus in the stromatolitic environment reflects elevated levels of the epicontinental basin nutrification related to sea-level rises and the associated oceanographic and geochemical changes.

  19. Metagenomic and metabolic profiling of nonlithifying and lithifying stromatolitic mats of Highborne Cay, The Bahamas.

    PubMed

    Khodadad, Christina L M; Foster, Jamie S

    2012-01-01

    Stromatolites are laminated carbonate build-ups formed by the metabolic activity of microbial mats and represent one of the oldest known ecosystems on Earth. In this study, we examined a living stromatolite located within the Exuma Sound, The Bahamas and profiled the metagenome and metabolic potential underlying these complex microbial communities. The metagenomes of the two dominant stromatolitic mat types, a nonlithifying (Type 1) and lithifying (Type 3) microbial mat, were partially sequenced and compared. This deep-sequencing approach was complemented by profiling the substrate utilization patterns of the mats using metabolic microarrays. Taxonomic assessment of the protein-encoding genes confirmed previous SSU rRNA analyses that bacteria dominate the metagenome of both mat types. Eukaryotes comprised less than 13% of the metagenomes and were rich in sequences associated with nematodes and heterotrophic protists. Comparative genomic analyses of the functional genes revealed extensive similarities in most of the subsystems between the nonlithifying and lithifying mat types. The one exception was an increase in the relative abundance of certain genes associated with carbohydrate metabolism in the lithifying Type 3 mats. Specifically, genes associated with the degradation of carbohydrates commonly found in exopolymeric substances, such as hexoses, deoxy- and acidic sugars were found. The genetic differences in carbohydrate metabolisms between the two mat types were confirmed using metabolic microarrays. Lithifying mats had a significant increase in diversity and utilization of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur substrates. The two stromatolitic mat types retained similar microbial communities, functional diversity and many genetic components within their metagenomes. However, there were major differences detected in the activity and genetic pathways of organic carbon utilization. These differences provide a strong link between the metagenome and the

  20. Stromatolites of the Belt Series in Glacier National Park and Vicinity, Montana

    Rezak, Richard

    1957-01-01

    Eight zones of Precambrian stromatolites that are useful for local correlation are recognized in the Belt series of the Glacier National Park region, Montana. The zones vary in composition, thickness, and areal extent. Some are widespread and extend into neighboring regions, and others occur only in small areas. Their names are taken from the dominant species that occurs in each zone. The zones are, from youngest to oldest - Conophyton zone 2 Missoula group Collenia symmetrica zone 2 Collenia undosa zone 2 Collenia multiflabella zone Piegan group Conophyton zone 1 Collenia symmetrica zone 1 Collenia undosa zone 1 Ravalli group Collenia frequens zone Only the Conophyton zones have been mapped in the park area. The present study uses a classification based upon the three criteria of (1) mode of growth, (2) gross form of the colony, and (3) nature and orientation of the laminae. The scheme of classification also seems applicable to Paleozoic and later stromatolites. Possibly a consistent pattern of form-genera and form-species may be developed. Four form-genera and seven form-species are recognized in the Belt series of the park region. These are Cryptozoon occidentale Dawson, Collenia undosa Walcott, C. frequens Walcott, C. symmetrica Fenton and Fenton, Newlandia sp., and Conophyton inclinatum n. sp. It is realized that these structures should not be classified according to biological nomenclature. However, biological names are here applied to the structures until a suitable system of classification can be devised. Comparisons of the stromatolites of the Belt series with modern stromatolites on Andros Island, Bahama Islands, and Pleistocene stromatolites from Lake Lahonton, Nev., reveal similarities in structure that appear to be significant as to physical mode of origin.

  1. Cryptic oxygen oases: Hypolithic photosynthesis in hydrothermal areas and implications for Archean surface oxidation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Havig, J. R.; Hamilton, T. L.

    2017-12-01

    Mounting geochemical evidence suggests microorganisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis (e.g., Cyanobacteria) colonized Archean continental surfaces, driving oxidative weathering of detrital pyrites prior to the 2.5 Ga great oxidation event. Modern terrestrial environments dominated by single-celled phototrophs include hydrothermal systems (e.g., Yellowstone National Park) and hypolithic communities found in arid to hyper-arid deserts (e.g., McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, Atacama Desert of Chile). Recent work indicates terrestrial hydrothermal systems date back at least as far as 3.5 Ga. Here, we explore phototrophic communities in both hypolithic (sub-sinter) and hydrothermal (subaqueous and subaerial) environments in Yellowstone National Park as potential analogs to Archean continental surfaces. Hydrothermal sub-sinter environments provide ideal conditions for phototrophic microbial communities, including blocking of harmful UV radiation, trapping and retention of moisture, and protection from erosion by rain and surface runoff. Hypolithic communities in geothermal settings were similar in both composition and carbon uptake rates to nearby hot spring communities. We hypothesize that hydrothermal area hypolithic communities represent modern analogs of phototrophic microbial communities that colonized Archean continental surfaces, producing oxygen locally and facilitating microbially-mediated pyrite oxidation prior to the presence of free oxygen in the global atmosphere. These results have implications for oxidation of the early Earth surface, the search for biosignatures in the rock record, as well as for potential harbors of past life on Mars and the search for life on Exoplanets.

  2. Workshop on Early Crustal Genesis: Implications from Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phinney, W. C. (Compiler)

    1981-01-01

    Ways to foster increased study of the early evolution of the Earth, considering the planet as a whole, were explored and recommendations were made to NASA with the intent of exploring optimal ways for integrating Archean studies with problems of planetary evolution. Major themes addressed include: (1) Archean contribution to constraints for modeling planetary evolution; (2) Archean surface conditions and processes as clues to early planetary history; and (3) Archean evidence for physical, chemical and isotopic transfer processes in early planetary crusts. Ten early crustal evolution problems are outlined.

  3. An archean suture zone in the Tobacco Root Mountains? (1984) Evolution of Archean Continental Crust, SW Montana (1985)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mogk, D. W.; Kain, L.

    1985-01-01

    The Lake Plateau area of the Beartooth Mountains, Montana were mapped and geochemically sampled. The allochthonous nature of the Stillwater Complex was interpreted as a Cordilleran-style continental margin. The metamorphic and tectonic history of the Beartooth Mountains was addressed. The Archean geology of the Spanish Peaks area, northern Madison Range was addressed. A voluminous granulite terrain of supracrustal origin was identified, as well as a heretofore unknown Archean batholithic complex. Mapping, petrologic, and geochemical investigations of the Blacktail Mountains, on the western margin of the Wyoming Province, are completed. Mapping at a scale of 1:24000 in the Archean rocks of the Gravelly Range is near completion. This sequence is dominantly of stable-platform origin. Samples were collected for geothermometric/barometric analysis and for U-Pb zircon age dating. The analyses provide the basis for additional geochemical and geochronologic studies. A model for the tectonic and geochemical evolution of the Archean basement of SW Montana is presented.

  4. Facies architecture and sequence-stratigraphic features of the Tumbiana Formation: A depositional setting of late Archaean stromatolites in the Pilbara Craton, northwestern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakurai, R.; Ueno, Y.; Kitajima, K.; Ito, M.; Maruyama, S.

    2001-12-01

    The Tumbiana Formation (ca. 2700 Ma) is a succession developed in response to late Archaean crustal extension in the Pilbara Craton, northwestern Australia. The formation is characterized by intercalations of stromatolite carbonates and provides a perspective of evolution of photosynthetic organisms that are interpreted to have been responsible for oxygenation of atmosphere. Here we investigated a depositional setting of the stromatolite limestone for better understanding of an environment that may have controlled early development of oxygenic photosynthesis. We studied lithofacies and sequence-stratigraphic features of the Tumbiana Formation in the Redmont area based upon three-dimensional analyses of onshore outcrops. The Tumbiana Formation, as much as 170 m thick, unconformably overlies the early Archaean basement rocks and is unconformably overlain by the Maddina Formation that consists of mafic tuffaceous sediments and basalt. The lower part of the Tumbiana Formation is characterized by planar- and trough-cross stratified conglomerates that are interpreted to be an alluvial-fan deposit shed from the northern hinterlands and developed mainly in local depressions of the basement rocks during an early transgressive stage. The base of the middle part is defined by a transgressive erosional surface overlain by conglomerates and/or breccia that pass upward to mafic tuffaceous mudstones and sandstones intercalated with accretionary lapilli, breccia, and basalt. Mudstones are commonly laminated and sandstones contain current- and wave ripple-lamination, parallel lamination, hummocky cross-stratification, and trough cross-stratification. In general, the middle part exhibits an overall fining- and coarsening-upward pattern and is interpreted to indicate transgressive and regressive shelf-to-coastal lithofacies successions. In particular, the uppermost horizon of the middle part is characterized by sandstone beds with herringbone structures and desiccation cracks and is

  5. Geochemistry of precambrian carbonates. II. Archean greenstone belts and Archean sea water

    SciT

    Veizer, J.; Hoefs, J.; Lowe, D.R.

    1989-04-01

    Carbonate rocks with geological attributes of marine sediments are a minor component of the Archean greenstone belts. Despite their relative scarcity, these rocks are important because they record chemical and isotopic properties of coeval oceans. The greenstones containing such carbonates appear to cluster at {approximately}2.8 {plus minus} 0.2 and {approximately}3.5 {plus minus} 0.1 Ga ago. The samples for the younger group are from the Abitibi, Yellowknife, Wabigoon, Michipicoten and Uchi greenstone belts of Canada and the Upper Greenstones of Zimbabwe. The older group includes the Swaziland Supergroup of South Africa, Warrawoona Group of Australia and the Sargur marbles of India.more » Mineralogically, the carbonates of the younger greenstones are mostly limestones and of the older ones, ferroan dolomites (ankerites); the latter with some affinities to hydrothermal carbonates. In mineralized areas with iron ores, the carbonate minerals are siderite {plus minus} ankerite, irrespective of the age of the greenstones. Iron-poor dolomites represent a later phase of carbonate generation, related to post-depositional tectonic faulting. The original mineralogy of limestone sequences appears to have been an Sr-rich aragonite. The Archean carbonates yield near-mantle Sr isotopic values, with ({sup 87}Sr/{sup 86}Sr){sub o} of 0.7025 {plus minus} 0.0015 and 0.7031 {plus minus} 0.0008 for younger and older greenstones, respectively. The mineralogical and chemical attributes of Archean carbonates are consistent with the proposition that the composition of the coeval oceans may have been buffered by a pervasive interaction with the mantle, that is, with the oceanic crust and the coeval ubiquitous volcanosedimentary piles derived from mantle sources.« less

  6. Evolution of atmospheric xenon and other noble gases inferred from Archean to Paleoproterozoic rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avice, G.; Marty, B.; Burgess, R.; Hofmann, A.; Philippot, P.; Zahnle, K.; Zakharov, D.

    2018-07-01

    We have analyzed ancient atmospheric gases trapped in fluid inclusions contained in minerals of Archean (3.3 Ga) to Paleozoic (404 Ma) rocks in an attempt to document the evolution of the elemental composition and isotopic signature of the atmosphere with time. Doing so, we aimed at understanding how physical and chemical processes acted over geological time to shape the modern atmosphere. Modern atmospheric xenon is enriched in heavy isotopes by 30-40‰ u-1 relative to Solar or Chondritic xenon. Previous studies demonstrated that, 3.3 Ga ago, atmospheric xenon was isotopically fractionated (enriched in the light isotopes) relative to the modern atmosphere, by 12.9 ± 1.2 (1σ) ‰ u-1, whereas krypton was isotopically identical to modern atmospheric Kr. Details about the specific and progressive isotopic fractionation of Xe during the Archean, originally proposed by Pujol et al. (2011), are now well established by this work. Xe isotope fractionation has evolved from 21‰ u-1 at 3.5 Ga to 12.9‰ u-1 at 3.3 Ga. The current dataset provides some evidence for stabilization of the Xe fractionation between 3.3 and 2.7 Ga. However, further studies will be needed to confirm this observation. After 2.7 Ga, the composition kept evolving and reach the modern-like atmospheric Xe composition at around 2.1 Ga ago. Xenon may be the second atmospheric element, after sulfur, to show a secular isotope evolution during the Archean that ended shortly after the Archean-Proterozoic transition. Fractionation of xenon indicates that xenon escaped from Earth, probably as an ion, and that Xe escape stopped when the atmosphere became oxygen-rich. We speculate that the Xe escape was enabled by a vigorous hydrogen escape on the early anoxic Earth. Organic hazes, scavenging isotopically heavy Xe, could also have played a role in the evolution of atmospheric Xe. For 3.3 Ga-old samples, Ar-N2 correlations are consistent with a partial pressure of nitrogen (pN2) in the Archean atmosphere

  7. Archean Subduction or Not? The Archean Volcanic Record Re-assessed.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearce, Julian; Peate, David; Smithies, Hugh

    2013-04-01

    Methods of identification of volcanic arc lavas may utilize: (1) the selective enrichment of the mantle wedge by 'subduction-mobile' elements; (2) the distinctive preconditioning of mantle along its flow path to the arc front; (3) the distinctive combination of fluid-flux and decompression melting; and (4) the effects of fluids on crystallization of the resulting magma. It should then be a simple matter uniquely to recognise volcanic arc lavas in the Geological Record and so document past subduction zones. Essentially, this is generally true in the oceans, but generally not on the continents. Even in recent, fresh lavas and with a full battery of element and isotope tools at our disposal, there can be debate over whether an arc-like geochemical signature results from active subduction, an older, inherited subduction component in the lithosphere, or crustal contamination. In the Archean, metamorphism, deformation, a different thermal regime and potential non-uniformitarian tectonic scenarios make the fingerprinting of arc lavas particularly problematic. Not least, the complicating factor of crustal contamination is likely to be much greater given the higher magma and crustal temperatures and higher magma fluxes prevailing. Here, we apply new, high-resolution immobile element fingerprinting methods, based primarily on Th-Nb fractionation, to Archean lavas. In the Pilbara, for example, where there is a volcanic record extending for over >500 m.y., we note that lavas with high Th/Nb (negative Nb anomalies) are common throughout the lava sequence. Many older formations also follow a basalt-andesite-dacite-rhyolite (BADR) sequence resembling present-day arcs. However, back-extrapolation of their compositions to their primitive magmas demonstrates that these were almost certainly crustally-contaminated plume-derived lavas. By contrast, this is not the case in the uppermst part of the sequence where even the most primitive magmas have significant Nb anomalies. The

  8. Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic compositions of a suite of Late Archean, igneous rocks, eastern Beartooth Mountains: implications for crust-mantle evolution

    Wooden, J.L.; Mueller, P.A.

    1988-01-01

    A series of compositionally diverse, Late Archean rocks (2.74-2.79 Ga old) from the eastern Beartooth Mountains, Montana and Wyoming, U.S.A., have the same initial Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic ratios. Lead and Sr initial ratios are higher and Nd initial ratios lower than would be expected for rocks derived from model mantle sources and strongly indicate the involvement of an older crustal reservoir in the genesis of these rocks. Crustal contamination during emplacement can be ruled out for a variety of reasons. Instead a model involving subduction of continental detritus and contamination of the overlying mantle as is often proposed for modern subduction environments is preferred. This contaminated mantle would have all the isotopic characteristics of mantle enriched by internal mantle metasomatism but would require no long-term growth or changes in parent to daughter element ratios. This contaminated mantle would make a good source for some of the Cenozoic mafic volcanics of the Columbia River, Snake River Plain, and Yellowstone volcanic fields that are proposed to come from ancient, enriched lithospheric mantle. The isotopic characteristics of the 2.70 Ga old Stillwater Complex are a perfect match for the proposed contaminated mantle which provides an alternative to crustal contamination during emplacement. The Pb isotopic characteristics of the Late Archean rocks of the eastern Beartooth Mountains are similar to those of other Late Archean rocks of the Wyoming Province and suggest that Early Archean, upper crustal rocks were common in this terrane. The isotopic signatures of Late Archean rocks in the Wyoming Province are distinctive from those of other Archean cratons in North America which are dominated by a MORB-like, Archean mantle source (Superior Province) and/or a long-term depleted crustal source (Greenland). ?? 1988.

  9. Stratified Bacterial Diversity along Physico-chemical Gradients in High-Altitude Modern Stromatolites

    PubMed Central

    Toneatti, Diego M.; Albarracín, Virginia H.; Flores, Maria R.; Polerecky, Lubos; Farías, María E.

    2017-01-01

    At an altitude of 3,570 m, the volcanic lake Socompa in the Argentinean Andes is presently the highest site where actively forming stromatolite-like structures have been reported. Interestingly, pigment and microsensor analyses performed through the different layers of the stromatolites (50 mm-deep) showed steep vertical gradients of light and oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and pH in the porewater. Given the relatively good characterization of these physico-chemical gradients, the aim of this follow-up work was to specifically address how the bacterial diversity stratified along the top six layers of the stromatolites which seems the most metabolically important and diversified zone of the whole microbial community. We herein discussed how, in only 7 mm, a drastic succession of metabolic adaptations occurred: i.e., microbial communities shift from a UV-high/oxic world to an IR-low/anoxic/high H2S environment which force stratification and metabolic specialization of the bacterial community, thus, modulating the chemical faces of the Socompa stromatolites. The oxic zone was dominated by Deinococcus sp. at top surface (0.3 mm), followed by a second layer of Coleofasciculus sp. (0.3 to ∼2 mm). Sequences from anoxygenic phototrophic Alphaproteobacteria, along with an increasing diversity of phyla including Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes were found at middle layers 3 and 4. Deeper layers (5–7 mm) were mostly occupied by sulfate reducers of Deltaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, next to a high diversity and equitable community of rare, unclassified and candidate phyla. This analysis showed how microbial communities stratified in a physicochemical vertical profile and according to the light source. It also gives an insight of which bacterial metabolic capabilities might operate and produce a microbial cooperative strategy to thrive in one of the most extreme environments on Earth. PMID:28446906

  10. Stratified Bacterial Diversity along Physico-chemical Gradients in High-Altitude Modern Stromatolites.

    PubMed

    Toneatti, Diego M; Albarracín, Virginia H; Flores, Maria R; Polerecky, Lubos; Farías, María E

    2017-01-01

    At an altitude of 3,570 m, the volcanic lake Socompa in the Argentinean Andes is presently the highest site where actively forming stromatolite-like structures have been reported. Interestingly, pigment and microsensor analyses performed through the different layers of the stromatolites (50 mm-deep) showed steep vertical gradients of light and oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and pH in the porewater. Given the relatively good characterization of these physico-chemical gradients, the aim of this follow-up work was to specifically address how the bacterial diversity stratified along the top six layers of the stromatolites which seems the most metabolically important and diversified zone of the whole microbial community. We herein discussed how, in only 7 mm, a drastic succession of metabolic adaptations occurred: i.e., microbial communities shift from a UV-high/oxic world to an IR-low/anoxic/high H 2 S environment which force stratification and metabolic specialization of the bacterial community, thus, modulating the chemical faces of the Socompa stromatolites. The oxic zone was dominated by Deinococcus sp. at top surface (0.3 mm), followed by a second layer of Coleofasciculus sp. (0.3 to ∼2 mm). Sequences from anoxygenic phototrophic Alphaproteobacteria, along with an increasing diversity of phyla including Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes were found at middle layers 3 and 4. Deeper layers (5-7 mm) were mostly occupied by sulfate reducers of Deltaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, next to a high diversity and equitable community of rare, unclassified and candidate phyla. This analysis showed how microbial communities stratified in a physicochemical vertical profile and according to the light source. It also gives an insight of which bacterial metabolic capabilities might operate and produce a microbial cooperative strategy to thrive in one of the most extreme environments on Earth.

  11. Discovery of silicified lacustrine micro-fossils and stromatolites: Triassic-Jurassic Fundy Group, Nova Scotia

    SciT

    Cameron, B.

    A unique assemblage of silicified invertebrate and algal fresh-water lake fossils has been discovered in the Scots Bay Formation at the top of the Triassic-Jurassic Fundy Group of the Fundy Basin in Nova Scotia. This is important because the basins of the eastern North American Triassic-Jurassic rift system have not yielded many invertebrate and algal fossils. These new finds will contribute significantly to evolutionary, paleoecological and biostratigraphic studies of fresh-water Mesozoic deposits. Silicified fossils have been extracted from chert-bearing, mixed carbonate and siliciclastic lithologies. They include ostracodes, gastropods, rare bivalves, charaphytes (algae), stromatolites, and chert nodules cored with well-preserved woodymore » tissues of tree trunks. Possible algal filaments occur in the silicified stromatolites. This association of charaphytes, ostracodes, microscopic gastropods and stromatolites is found in carbonate lakes today. The Scots Bay Formation is probably a near-shore carbonate facies of the more widespread silicilastic lacustrine McCoy Brook Formation. The gastropods and ostracodes, studied by SEM, indicate a Jurassic age for the Scots bay Formation, confirming speculations based on other data.« less

  12. Arsenic metabolism in high altitude modern stromatolites revealed by metagenomic analysis.

    PubMed

    Kurth, Daniel; Amadio, Ariel; Ordoñez, Omar F; Albarracín, Virginia H; Gärtner, Wolfgang; Farías, María E

    2017-04-21

    Modern stromatolites thrive only in selected locations in the world. Socompa Lake, located in the Andean plateau at 3570 masl, is one of the numerous extreme Andean microbial ecosystems described over recent years. Extreme environmental conditions include hypersalinity, high UV incidence, and high arsenic content, among others. After Socompa's stromatolite microbial communities were analysed by metagenomic DNA sequencing, taxonomic classification showed dominance of Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, and a remarkably high number of unclassified sequences. A functional analysis indicated that carbon fixation might occur not only by the Calvin-Benson cycle, but also through alternative pathways such as the reverse TCA cycle, and the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway. Deltaproteobacteria were involved both in sulfate reduction and nitrogen fixation. Significant differences were found when comparing the Socompa stromatolite metagenome to the Shark Bay (Australia) smooth mat metagenome: namely, those involving stress related processes, particularly, arsenic resistance. An in-depth analysis revealed a surprisingly diverse metabolism comprising all known types of As resistance and energy generating pathways. While the ars operon was the main mechanism, an important abundance of arsM genes was observed in selected phyla. The data resulting from this work will prove a cornerstone for further studies on this rare microbial community.

  13. Ocean manganese nodules as stromatolite with a fractal like-signature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akai, Junji; Akiyama, Shigeki; Tsuchiyama, Akira; Akai, Kurumi

    Deep-sea manganese (Mn) nodules are problematic in terms of factors such as their characteristic form and genesis. There are many reports of bacterial species from manganese nodules. However, the genesis of these nodules has not been fully confirmed. Samples, mainly from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture zone in the Pacific Ocean, were examined by mineralogical methods and X-ray CT. Thin sections of these samples showed columnar stromatolite structures with rhythmic bands. Mineralized bacteria were observed by SEM and TEM. Surface morphology could be described as having a fractal-like nature. The fractal characteristics of spherical to dome-like forms were fundamentally composed of at least four ranks. The 4th order form corresponds to the stromatolite dome top shapes. Similar granular domain units and porous characteristics in manganese nodules were clearly observed by X-ray CT sections. Mathematical simulation based on fractal models reproduced similar morphological characteristics to the natural samples. So, we arrived at the concluding hypothesis that manganese nodules are aggregated stromatolite with fractal-like characteristics. Furthermore, we discussed the possibility that the nature of the layer manganese oxide minerals as the major component of the nodule and associated Fe-oxyhydroxide minerals may become an absorber/scavenger of strategic heavy metals and also toxic metals in the environments.

  14. Convergent Plate Boundary Processes in the Archean: Evidence from Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polat, A.

    2014-12-01

    The structural, magmatic and metamorphic characteristics of Archean greenstone belts and associated TTG (tonalite, trondhjemite and granodiorite) gneisses in southern West Greenland are comparable to those of Phanerozoic convergent plate margins, suggesting that Archean continents grew mainly at subduction zones. These greenstone belts are composed mainly of tectonically juxtaposed fragments of oceanic crust including mafic to ultramafic rocks, with minor sedimentary rocks. Volcanic rocks in the greenstone belts are characterized mainly by island arc tholeiitic basalts, picrites, and boninites. The style of deformation and geometry of folds in 10 cm to 5 m wide shear zones are comparable to those occur on 1 to 50 km scale in the greenstone belts and TTG gneisses, suggesting that compressional tectonic processes operating at convergent plate boundaries were the driving force of Archean crustal accretion and growth. Field observations and trace element data suggest that Archean continental crust grew through accretion of mainly island arcs and melting of metamorphosed mafic rocks (amphibolites) in thickened arcs during multiple tectonothermal events. Fold patterns on cm to km scale are consistent with at least three phases of deformation and multiple melting events generating TTG melts that intruded mainly along shear zones in accretionary prism and magmatic arcs. It is suggested that Archean TTGs were produced by three main processes: (1) melting of thickened oceanic island arcs; (2) melting of subducted oceanic crust; and (3) differentiation of basaltic melts originating from metasomatized sub-arc mantle wedge peridotites.

  15. Some examples of deep structure of the Archean from geophysics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smithson, S. B.; Johnson, R. A.; Pierson, W. R.

    1986-01-01

    The development of Archean crust remains as one of the significant problems in earth science, and a major unknown concerning Archean terrains is the nature of the deep crust. The character of crust beneath granulite terrains is especially fascinating because granulites are generally interpreted to represent a deep crustal section. Magnetic data from this area can be best modeled with a magnetized wedge of older Archean rocks (granulitic gneisses) underlying the younger Archean greenstone terrain. The dip of the boundary based on magnetic modeling is the same as the dip of the postulated thrust-fault reflection. Thus several lines of evidence indicate that the younger Archean greenstone belt terrain is thrust above the ancient Minnesota Valley gneiss terrain, presumably as the greenstone belt was accreted to the gneiss terrain, so that the dipping reflection represents a suture zone. Seismic data from underneath the granulite-facies Minnesota gneiss terrain shows abundant reflections between 3 and 6 s, or about 9 to 20 km. These are arcuate or dipping multicyclic events indicative of layering.

  16. Geology and geochronology of granitoid and metamorphic rocks of late Archean age in northwestern Wisconsin

    Sims, P.K.; Peterman, Z.E.; Zartman, R.E.; Benedict, F.C.

    1985-01-01

    Granitoid rocks of the Puritan Quartz Monzonite and associated biotite gneiss and amphibolite in northwestern Wisconsin compose the southwestern part of the Puritan batholith of Late Archean age. They differ from rocks in the Michigan segment of the batholith in having been deformed by brittle-ductile deformation and partly recrystallized during shearing accompanying development of the midcontinent rift system of Keweenawan (Middle Proterozoic) age. Granitoid rocks ranging in composition from granite to tonalite are dominant in the Wisconsin part of the batholith. To the north of the Mineral Lake fault zone, they are massive to weakly foliated and dominantly of granite composition, whereas south of the fault zone they are more strongly foliated and mainly of tonalite composition. Massive granite, leucogranite, and granite pegmatite cut the dominant granitoid rocks. Intercalated with the granitoid rocks in small to large conformable bodies are biotite gneiss, amphibolite, and local tonalite gneiss. Metagabbro dikes of probable Early Proterozoic age as much as 15 m thick cut the Archean rocks. Rubidium-strontium whole-rock data indicate a Late Archean age for the granitoids and gneisses, but data points are scattered and do not define a single isochron. Zircon from two samples of tonalitic gneiss for uranium-thorium-Iead dating define a single chord on a concordia diagram, establishing an age of 2,735?16 m.y. The lower intercept age of 1,052?70 m.y. is in close agreement with rubidium-strontium and potassium-argon biotite ages from the gneisses. Two episodes of deformation and metamorphism are recorded in the Archean rocks. Deformation during the Late Archean produced a steep west-northwest-oriented foliation and gently plunging fold axes and was accompanied by low amphibolite-facies metamorphism of the bedded rocks. A younger deformation resulting from largely brittle fracture was accompanied by retrogressive metamorphism; this deformation is most evident adjacent

  17. Geochemistry of Archean Mafic Amphibolites from the Amsaga Area, West African Craton, Mauritania: Occurrence of Archean oceanic plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Atrassi, Fatima; Debaille, Vinciane; Mattielli, Nadine; Berger, Julien

    2015-04-01

    While Archean terrains are mainly composed of a TTG (Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite) suite, more mafic lithologies such as amphibolites are also a typical component of those ancient terrains. Although mafic rocks represent only ~10% of the Archean cratons, they may provide key evidence of the role and nature of basaltic magmatism in the formation of the Archean crust as well as the evolution of the Archean mantle. This study focuses on the Archean crust from the West African craton in Mauritania (Amsaga area). The Amsaga Archean crust mainly consists of TTG and thrust-imbricated slices of mafic volcanic rocks, which have been affected by polymetamorphic events from the amphibolite to granulite facies. We report the results of a combined petrologic, Sm-Nd isotopic, major element and rare earth element (REE) study of the Archean amphibolites in the West African craton. This study was conducted in order to characterize these rocks, to constrain the time of their formation and to evaluate their tectonic setting and their possible mantle source. Our petrological observations show that these amphibolites have fine to medium granoblastic and nematoblastic textures. They are dominated by amphibolite-facies mineral assemblages (mainly amphibole and plagioclase), but garnet and clinopyroxene occur in a few samples. These amphibolites have tholeiitic basalt composition. On a primitive mantle-normalized diagram, they display fairly flat patterns without negative anomalies for either Eu or Nb-Ta. We have shown using Sm-Nd whole rock isotopic data that these amphibolites formed at 3.3 ±0.075 Ga. They have positive ɛNdi values (+5.2 ± 1.6). These samples show isotopically juvenile features, which rule out the possibility of significant contamination of the protolith magmas by ancient continental crust. Based on these geochemical data we propose that the tholeiitic basalts were formed in an oceanic plateau tectonic setting from a mantle plume source and that they have a

  18. Earth's earliest biosphere-a proposal to develop a collection of curated archean geologic reference materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindsay, John F.; McKay, David S.; Allen, Carlton C.

    2003-01-01

    The discovery of evidence indicative of life in a Martian meteorite has led to an increase in interest in astrobiology. As a result of this discovery, and the ensuing controversy, it has become apparent that our knowledge of the early development of life on Earth is limited. Archean stratigraphic successions containing evidence of Earth's early biosphere are well preserved in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia. The craton includes part of a protocontinent consisting of granitoid complexes that were emplaced into, and overlain by, a 3.51-2.94 Ga volcanigenic carapace - the Pilbara Supergroup. The craton is overlain by younger supracrustal basins that form a time series recording Earth history from approximately 2.8 Ga to approximately 1.9 Ga. It is proposed that a well-documented suite of these ancient rocks be collected as reference material for Archean and astrobiological research. All samples would be collected in a well-defined geological context in order to build a framework to test models for the early evolution of life on Earth and to develop protocols for the search for life on other planets.

  19. Prebiotic Synthesis of Glycine from Ethanolamine in Simulated Archean Alkaline Hydrothermal Vents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Xianlong; Tian, Ge; Gao, Jing; Han, Mei; Su, Rui; Wang, Yanxiang; Feng, Shouhua

    2017-12-01

    Submarine hydrothermal vents are generally considered as the likely habitats for the origin and evolution of early life on Earth. In recent years, a novel hydrothermal system in Archean subseafloor has been proposed. In this model, highly alkaline and high temperature hydrothermal fluids were generated in basalt-hosted hydrothermal vents, where H2 and CO2 could be abundantly provided. These extreme conditions could have played an irreplaceable role in the early evolution of life. Nevertheless, sufficient information has not yet been obtained for the abiotic synthesis of amino acids, which are indispensable components of life, at high temperature and alkaline condition. This study aims to propose a new method for the synthesis of glycine in simulated Archean submarine alkaline vent systems. We investigated the formation of glycine from ethanolamine under conditions of high temperature (80-160 °C) and highly alkaline solutions (pH = 9.70). Experiments were performed in an anaerobic environment under mild pressure (0.1-8.0 MPa) at the same time. The results suggested that the formation of glycine from ethanolamine occurred rapidly and efficiently in the presence of metal powders, and was favored by high temperatures and high pressures. The experiment provides a new pathway for prebiotic glycine formation and points out the phenomenal influence of high-temperature alkaline hydrothermal vents in origin of life in the early ocean.

  20. Evidence for a complex archean deformational history; southwestern Michipicoten Greenstone Belt, Ontario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcgill, George E.; Shrady, Catherine H.

    1986-01-01

    The Michipicoten Greenstone Belt extends for about 150 km ENE from the northeastern angle of Lake Superior. In common with many other Archean greenstone belts, it is characterized by generally steep bedding dips and a distribution of major lithologic types suggesting a crudely synclinal structure for the belt as a whole. Detailed mapping and determination of structural sequence demonstrates that the structure is much more complex. The Archean history of the belt includes formation of at least three regionally significant cleavages, kilometer-scale overturning, extensive shearing, and diabase intrusion. Most well defined, mappable 'packages' of sedimentary rocks appear to be bounded by faults. These faults were active relatively early in the structural history of the belt, when extensive overturning also occurred. Steepening of dips, NW-SE shortening, development of steep NE cleavage, and pervasive shearing all postdate the early faulting and the regional overturning, obscuring much of the detail needed to define the geometry of the earlier structures. The results obtained so far suggest, however, that the Michipicoten Greenstone Belt underwent an early stage of thrusting and associated isoclinal folding, probably in a convergent tectonic environment.

  1. Prebiotic Synthesis of Glycine from Ethanolamine in Simulated Archean Alkaline Hydrothermal Vents.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xianlong; Tian, Ge; Gao, Jing; Han, Mei; Su, Rui; Wang, Yanxiang; Feng, Shouhua

    2017-12-01

    Submarine hydrothermal vents are generally considered as the likely habitats for the origin and evolution of early life on Earth. In recent years, a novel hydrothermal system in Archean subseafloor has been proposed. In this model, highly alkaline and high temperature hydrothermal fluids were generated in basalt-hosted hydrothermal vents, where H 2 and CO 2 could be abundantly provided. These extreme conditions could have played an irreplaceable role in the early evolution of life. Nevertheless, sufficient information has not yet been obtained for the abiotic synthesis of amino acids, which are indispensable components of life, at high temperature and alkaline condition. This study aims to propose a new method for the synthesis of glycine in simulated Archean submarine alkaline vent systems. We investigated the formation of glycine from ethanolamine under conditions of high temperature (80-160 °C) and highly alkaline solutions (pH = 9.70). Experiments were performed in an anaerobic environment under mild pressure (0.1-8.0 MPa) at the same time. The results suggested that the formation of glycine from ethanolamine occurred rapidly and efficiently in the presence of metal powders, and was favored by high temperatures and high pressures. The experiment provides a new pathway for prebiotic glycine formation and points out the phenomenal influence of high-temperature alkaline hydrothermal vents in origin of life in the early ocean.

  2. Mobility of nutrients and trace metals during weathering in the late Archean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hao, Jihua; Sverjensky, Dimitri A.; Hazen, Robert M.

    2017-08-01

    The evolution of the geosphere and biosphere depends on the availability of bio-essential nutrients and trace metals. Consequently, the chemical and isotopic variability of trace elements in the sedimentary record have been widely used to infer the existence of early life and fluctuations in the near-surface environment on the early Earth, particularly fluctuations in the redox state of the atmosphere. In this study, we applied late Archean weathering models (Hao et al., 2017), developed to estimate the behavior of major elements and the composition of late Archean world average river water, to explore the behavior of nutrient and trace metals and their potential for riverine transport. We focused on P, Mn, Cr, and Cu during the weathering of olivine basalt. In our standard late Archean weathering model (pCO2,g = 10-1.5 bars, pH2,g = 10-5.0 bars), crustal apatite was totally dissolved by the acidic rainwater during weathering. Our model quantitatively links the pCO2,g of the atmosphere to phosphate levels transported by rivers. The development of late Archean river water (pH = 6.4) resulted in riverine phosphate of at least 1.7 μmolar, much higher than at the present-day. At the end of the early Proterozoic snowball Earth event when pCO2,g could be 0.01-0.10 bars, river water may have transported up to 70 μmolar phosphate, depending on the availability of apatite, thereby stimulating high levels of oxygenic photosynthesis in the marine environment. Crustal levels of Mn in olivine dissolved completely during weathering, except at large extents of weathering where Mn was stored as a component of a secondary carbonate mineral. The corresponding Mn content of river water, about 1.2 μmolar, is higher than in modern river water. Whiffs of 10-5 mole O2 gas or HNO3 kg-1 H2O resulted in the formation of pyrolusite (MnO2) and abundant hematite and simultaneous dramatic decreases in the concentration of Mn(II) in the river water. Chromite dissolution resulted in negligible

  3. An investigation of the Archean climate using the NCAR CCm

    SciT

    Jenkins, G.S.

    1991-01-01

    The Archean (2.5 to 3.8 billion years ago) is of interest climatically, because of the 'Faint-Young Sun Paradox', which can be characterized by the Sun's reduced energy output. This lower energy output leads to a frozen planet if the climate existed as it does today. But, the geologic record shows that water was flowing at the earth's surface 3.8 billion years ago. Energy Balance Models (EBMs) and one-dimensional radiative-convective (1DRC) models predict a frozen planet for this time period, unless large carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations exist in the Archean atmosphere. The goal is to explore the Archean climate with themore » National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Community Climate Model (CCM). The search for negative feedbacks to explain the 'Faint-Young Sun Paradox' is the thrust of this study. This study undertakes a series of sensitivity simulations which first explores individual factors that may be important for the Archean. They include rotation rate, lower solar luminosity, and land fraction. Then, these climatic factors along with higher CO2 concentrations are combined into a set of experiments. A faster rotation rate may have existed in the Archean. The faster rotation rate simulations show warmer globally averaged surface temperatures that are caused by a 20 percent decrease in the total cloud fraction. The smaller cloud fraction is brought about by dynamical changes. A global ocean is a possibility for the Archean. A global ocean simulation predicts 4 K increase in global mean surface temperatures compared to the present-day climate control.« less

  4. Evolution of the Archean Mohorovičić discontinuity from a synaccretionary 4.5 Ga protocrust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, Warren B.

    2013-12-01

    This review evaluates and rejects the currently dominant dogmas of geodynamics and geochemistry, which are based on 1950s-1970s assumptions of a slowly differentiating Earth. Evidence is presented for evolution of mantle, crust, and early Moho that began with fractionation of most crustal components, synchronously with planetary accretion, into mafic protocrust by ~ 4.5 Ga. We know little about Hadean crustal geology (> 3.9 Ga) except that felsic rocks were then forming, but analogy with Venus, and dating from the Moon, indicate great shallow disruption by large and small impact structures, including huge fractionated impact-melt constructs, throughout that era. The mantle sample and Archean (< 3.9 Ga) crustal geology integrate well. The shallow mantle was extremely depleted by early removal of thick mafic protocrust, which was the primary source of the tonalite, trondhjemite, and granodiorite (TTG) that dominate preserved Archean crust to its base, and of the thick mafic volcanic rocks erupted on that crust. Lower TTG crust, kept mobile by its high radioactivity and by insulating upper crust, rose diapirically into the upper crust as dense volcanic rocks sagged synformally. The mobile lower crust simultaneously flowed laterally to maintain subhorizontal base and surface, and dragged overlying brittler granite-and-greenstone upper crust. Petrologically required garnet-rich residual protocrust incrementally delaminated, sank through low-density high-mantle magnesian dunite, and progressively re-enriched upper mantle, mostly metasomatically. Archean and earliest Proterozoic craton stabilization and development of final Mohos followed regionally complete early delamination of residual protocrust, variously between ~ 2.9 and 2.2 Ga. Where some protocrust remained, Proterozoic basins, filled thickly by sedimentary and volcanic rocks, developed on Archean crust, beneath which delamination of later residual protocrust continued top-down enrichment of upper mantle. That

  5. Age, compositional, and isotopic evidence for crustal recycling in a Late Archean arc, Beartooth Mountains

    SciT

    Wooden, J.L.; Mueller, P.A.; Graves, M.A.

    1985-01-01

    Late Archean rocks of the eastern Beartooth Mountains range in composition from basaltic andesite to granite and were emplaced 2.73-2.80 Ga ago in a middle to early Archean terrane as indicated by U-Pb zircon studies. Although trace element abundances are extremely variable for this group of rocks, their initial Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic compositions are remarkably homogenous. A composite Rb-Sr isochron (>30 samples) yield an age of 2.79/plus minus/0.04 Ga with an initial ratio of 0.7022/plus minus/2 while /epsilon/Nd 2.78 Ga ago ranges from -1.5 to -3.1 (av. -2.2). Whole-rock Pb data for these rocks scatter about a 2.75more » Ga isochron and feldspar Pb data suggest initial 206/204 = 13.88, 207/204 = 14.96, and 208/204 = 34.3. These values lie well above values for average crustal leads 2.78 Ga ago as modeled by Stacey and Kramer (1975) and would require development in a reservior with /mu/= 12 from 3.7-2.8 Ga (/mu/= 7.2, 4.5-3.7 Ga). The marked differences between these values and those of the late Archean mantle require that an early to middle Archean crust played a role in the genesis of these rocks. The compositional variety and isotopic homogeneity may have developed as the result of crust-mantle mixing similar to that observed in modern volcanic-plutonic arcs along continental margins where crustal materials can be subducted, and fluids derived from these materials added to the overlying mantle wedge and lower crust. During this period, contaminated mantle may have been generated on a regional scale as evidenced by the isotopic systematics of young mafic volcanics from the northwestern U.S. (e.g. Snake River Plain, Yellowstone, Columbia River).« less

  6. SQUID-SIMS is a useful approach to uncover primary signals in the Archean sulfur cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Woodward W.; Fike, David A.; Johnson, Jena E.; Raub, Timothy D.; Guan, Yunbin; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Eiler, John M.

    2014-04-01

    Many aspects of Earth's early sulfur cycle, from the origin of mass-anomalous fractionations to the degree of biological participation, remain poorly understood-in part due to complications from postdepositional diagenetic and metamorphic processes. Using a combination of scanning high-resolution magnetic superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) of sulfur isotopes (32S, 33S, and 34S), we examined drill core samples from slope and basinal environments adjacent to a major Late Archean (∼2.6-2.5 Ga) marine carbonate platform from South Africa. Coupled with petrography, these techniques can untangle the complex history of mineralization in samples containing diverse sulfur-bearing phases. We focused on pyrite nodules, precipitated in shallow sediments. These textures record systematic spatial differences in both mass-dependent and mass-anomalous sulfur-isotopic composition over length scales of even a few hundred microns. Petrography and magnetic imaging demonstrate that mass-anomalous fractionations were acquired before burial and compaction, but also show evidence of postdepositional alteration 500 million y after deposition. Using magnetic imaging to screen for primary phases, we observed large spatial gradients in Δ33S (>4‰) in nodules, pointing to substantial environmental heterogeneity and dynamic mixing of sulfur pools on geologically rapid timescales. In other nodules, large systematic radial δ34S gradients (>20‰) were observed, from low values near their centers increasing to high values near their rims. These fractionations support hypotheses that microbial sulfate reduction was an important metabolism in organic-rich Archean environments-even in an Archean ocean basin dominated by iron chemistry.

  7. SQUID–SIMS is a useful approach to uncover primary signals in the Archean sulfur cycle

    PubMed Central

    Fischer, Woodward W.; Fike, David A.; Johnson, Jena E.; Raub, Timothy D.; Guan, Yunbin; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Eiler, John M.

    2014-01-01

    Many aspects of Earth’s early sulfur cycle, from the origin of mass-anomalous fractionations to the degree of biological participation, remain poorly understood—in part due to complications from postdepositional diagenetic and metamorphic processes. Using a combination of scanning high-resolution magnetic superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) of sulfur isotopes (32S, 33S, and 34S), we examined drill core samples from slope and basinal environments adjacent to a major Late Archean (∼2.6–2.5 Ga) marine carbonate platform from South Africa. Coupled with petrography, these techniques can untangle the complex history of mineralization in samples containing diverse sulfur-bearing phases. We focused on pyrite nodules, precipitated in shallow sediments. These textures record systematic spatial differences in both mass-dependent and mass-anomalous sulfur-isotopic composition over length scales of even a few hundred microns. Petrography and magnetic imaging demonstrate that mass-anomalous fractionations were acquired before burial and compaction, but also show evidence of postdepositional alteration 500 million y after deposition. Using magnetic imaging to screen for primary phases, we observed large spatial gradients in Δ33S (>4‰) in nodules, pointing to substantial environmental heterogeneity and dynamic mixing of sulfur pools on geologically rapid timescales. In other nodules, large systematic radial δ34S gradients (>20‰) were observed, from low values near their centers increasing to high values near their rims. These fractionations support hypotheses that microbial sulfate reduction was an important metabolism in organic-rich Archean environments—even in an Archean ocean basin dominated by iron chemistry. PMID:24706767

  8. Decreasing µ142Nd Variation in the Archean Convecting Mantle from 4.0 to 2.5 Ga: Heterogeneous Domain Mixing or Crustal Recycling?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandon, A. D.; Debaille, V.

    2014-12-01

    The 146Sm-142Nd (t1/2=68 Ma) chronometer can be used to examine silicate differentiation in the first 400 Ma of Earth history. Early fractionation between Sm and Nd is recorded in cratonic Archean rocks in their 142Nd/144Nd ratios that that deviate up to ±20 ppm, or μ142Nd - ppm deviation relative to the present-day convecting mantle at 0. These values likely record early extraction of incompatible trace element (ITE) enriched material with -μ142Nd, either as crust or late stage residual melt from a magma ocean, and resulting in a complimentary ITE depleted residual mantle with +μ142Nd. If this early-formed ITE-enriched material was re-incorporated rapidly back into the convecting mantle, both ITE-enriched and ITE-depleted mantle domains would have been established in the Hadean. Alternatively, if it was early-formed crust that remained stable it could have slowly eroded and progressively remixed into the convecting mantle as subducted sediment during the Archean. Each of these scenarios could potentially explain the decrease in the maximum variation in µ142Nd from ±20 at 4.0 Ga to 0 at 2.5 Ga [1,2,3]. In the scenario where these variations reflect mixing of mantle domains, this implies long mantle mixing times of greater than 1 Ga in the Archean in order to preserve the early-formed heterogeneities. This can be achieved in a stagnant lid tectonic regime in the Archean with sporadic and short subduction cycles [2]. This scenario would also indicate that mixing times in the convecting mantle were much slower than the previously proposed 100 Ma in the Hadean and Archean. In the alternative scenario, sediment with -µ142Nd was progressively mixed into the mantle via subduction in the Archean [3]. This scenario doesn't require slow mantle mixing times or a stagnant-lid regime. It requires crustal resident times of up to 750 Ma to maintain a steady supply of ancient sediment recycling over the Archean. Each of these scenarios evoke very contrasting conditions for

  9. Archean metamorphic sequence and surfaces, Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kays, M. A.

    1986-01-01

    The characteristics of Archean metamorphic surfaces and fabrics of a mapped sequence of rocks older than about 3000 Ma provide information basic to an understanding of the structural evolution and metamorphic history in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, east Greenland. This information and the additional results of petrologic and geochemical studies have culminated in an extended chronology of Archean plutonic, metamorphic, and tectonic events. The basis for the chronology is considered, especially the nature of the metamorphic fabrics and surfaces in the Archean sequence. The surfaces, which are planar mineral parageneses, may prove to be mappable outside Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, and if so, will be helpful in extending the events that they represent to other Archean sequences in east Greenland. The surfaces will become especially important reference planes if the absolute ages of their metamorphic assemblages can be determined in at least one location where strain was low subsequent to their recrystallization. Once an isochron is obtained, the dynamothermal age of the regionally identifiable metamorphic surface is determined everywhere it can be mapped.

  10. Petrogenesis of calcic plagioclase megacrysts in Archean rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phinney, W. C.; Morrison, D. A.

    1986-01-01

    Anorthositic complexes with large equidimensional plagioclase grains of highly calcic composition occur in nearly all Archean cratons. Similar plagioclase occur as megacrysts in many Archean sills, dikes, and volcanic flows. In the Canadian Shield these units occur throughout the Archean portions of the entire shield and are particularly common as dikes over an area of a few 100,000 sq km in Ontario and Manitoba during a period of at least 100 m.y. in many different rock types and metamorphic grades. The plagioclase generally occurs in three modes: as inclusions in mafic intrusions at various stages of fractionation, as crystal segregations in anorthosite complexes, or as megacrysts in fractionated sills, dikes, and flows. Most occurrences suggest that the plagioclase was formed elsewhere before being transported to its present location. The evidence seems to be quite clear that occurrences of these types of calcic plagioclase require: (1) ponding of a relatively undifferentiated Archean tholeiitic melt at some depth; (2) isothermal crystallization of large, equidimensional homogeneous plagioclase crystals; (3) separation of the plagioclase crystals from any other crystalline phases; (4) further fractionation of melt; (5)transport of various combinations of individual plagioclase crystals and clusters of crystals by variously fractionated melts; and (6) emplacement as various types of igneous intrusions or flows.

  11. Stromatolite laminae (Lagoa Vermelha, Brasil) as archives for reservoir age changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruggmann, Sylvie; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Hajdas, Irka

    2016-04-01

    As laminated biogenic or abiogenic sedimentary structures [1], stromatolites record environmental changes along growth profiles, revealing possible changes in reservoir ages due to input of older carbon. A modern stromatolite sample was collected in Lagoa Vermelha (100 km east of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil) an area known for upwelling of South Atlantic Central Water (SACW). 34 samples from a transect cutting the lamination were collected with a hand-driller for standard geochemistry and 14C AMS analyses. Shells collected in 2015 were analysed for estimation of the present-day reservoir age. 14C ages of laminae and the reservoir age were used to apply the age-depth model to the stromatolite transect with the OxCal depositional model (Marine13 calibration curve; [2]). Small-scale changes in the composition of laminae report environmental changes, e.g. upwelling. The well-laminated middle part (laminated boundstone; ca. 4cm) of the stromatolite transect was found to have grown in a short time period of less than 100 years (1163-1210 14C y BP), with four excursions towards older 14C ages (ca. 1200 14C y BP). To detect possible changes of marine 14C, calendar years assuming a stable modern reservoir age were used to simulate atmospheric 14C ages with the southern hemisphere IntCal13 atmospheric calibration curve [3]. The offset between the measured and simulated 14C ages indicates a variability of the reservoir age between -99 and 268 14C y with highest reservoir correction found for the layers with indication of environmental changes (e.g. upwelling). Thus, this simulation confirms the occurrence of older carbon and points out the sensitivity of stromatolites for changing reservoir ages. [1] M.A. Semikhatov, C.D. Gebelein, P. Cloud, S.M. Awramik, W.C. Benmore (1979). Stromatolite morphogenesis - progress and problems. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 19:992-1015. [2] P.J. Reimer, E. Bard, A. Bayliss, J. W. Beck, P. G. Blackwell, C. Bronk Ramsey, C. E. Buck, H. Cheng, R

  12. Lateral Comparative Investigation of Stromatolites: Astrobiological Implications and Assessment of Scales of Control

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibarra, Yadira; Corsetti, Frank A.

    2016-04-01

    The processes that govern the formation of stromatolites, structures that may represent macroscopic manifestation of microbial processes and a clear target for astrobiological investigation, occur at various scales (local versus regional), yet determining their relative importance remains a challenge, particularly for ancient deposits and/or if similar deposits are discovered elsewhere in the Solar System. We build upon the traditional multiscale level approach of investigation (micro-, meso-, macro-, mega-) by including a lateral comparative investigational component of fine- to large-scale features to determine the relative significance of local and/or nonlocal controls on stromatolite morphology, and in the process, help constrain the dominant influences on microbialite formation. In one example of lateral comparative investigation, lacustrine microbialites from the Miocene Barstow Formation (California) display two main mesofabrics: (1) micritic bands that drastically change in thickness and cannot directly be traced between adjacent decimeter-scale subunits and (2) sparry fibrous layers that are strikingly consistent across subunits, suggesting the formation of sparry fibrous layers was influenced by a process larger than the length scale between the subunits (likely lake chemistry). Microbialites from the uppermost Triassic Cotham Member, United Kingdom, occur as meter-scale mounds and contain a characteristic succession of laminated and dendrolitic mesofabrics. The same succession of laminated/dendrolitic couplets can be traced, not only from mound to mound, but over 100 km, indicating a regional-scale influence on very small structures (microns to centimeters) that would otherwise not be apparent without the lateral comparative approach, and demonstrating that the scale of the feature does not necessarily scale with the scope of the process. Thus, the combination of lateral comparative investigations and multiscale analyses can provide an effective approach

  13. A Proposal for Formation of Archaean Stromatolites before the Advent of Oxygenic Photosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Allen, John F

    2016-01-01

    Stromatolites are solid, laminar structures of biological origin. Living examples are sparsely distributed and formed by cyanobacteria, which are oxygenic phototrophs. However, stromatolites were abundant between 3.4 and 2.4 Gyr, prior to the advent of cyanobacteria and oxygenic photosynthesis. Here I propose that many Archaean stromatolites were seeded at points of efflux of hydrogen sulfide from hydrothermal fields into shallow water, while their laminar composition arose from alternating modes of strictly anoxygenic photosynthetic metabolism. These changes were a redox regulatory response of gene expression to changing hydrogen sulfide concentration, which fluctuated with intermittent dilution by tidal action or by rainfall into surface waters. The proposed redox switch between modes of metabolism deposited sequential microbial mats. These mats gave rise to alternating carbonate sediments predicted to retain evidence of their origin in differing ratios of isotopes of carbon and sulfur and in organic content. The mats may have arisen either by replacement of microbial populations or by continuous lineages of protocyanobacteria in which a redox genetic switch selected between Types I and II photosynthetic reaction centers, and thus between photolithoautotrophic and photoorganoheterotrophic metabolism. In the latter case, and by 2.4 Gyr at the latest, a mutation had disabled the redox genetic switch to give simultaneous constitutive expression of both Types I and II reaction centers, and thus to the ability to extract electrons from manganese and then water. By this simple step, the first cyanobacterium had the dramatic advantage of emancipation from limiting supplies of inorganic electron donors, produced free molecular oxygen as a waste product, and initiated the Great Oxidation Event in Earth's history at the transition from the Archaean to the Paleoproterozoic.

  14. Reconciling "Whiffs" of O2 with the Archean MIF S Record: Insights from Sulfide Oxidation Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, A.; Reinhard, C. T.; Romaniello, S. J.; Greaney, A. T.; Garcia-Robledo, E.; Revsbech, N. P.; Canfield, D. E.; Lyons, T. W.; Anbar, A. D.

    2016-12-01

    The Archean-Proterozoic transition is marked by the first appreciable accumulation of O2 in Earth's oceans and atmosphere at 2.4 billion years ago (Ga). However, this Great Oxidation Event (GOE) is not the first evidence for O2 in Earth's surface environment. Paleoredox proxies preserved in ancient marine shales (Mo, Cr, Re, U) suggest transient episodes of oxidative weathering before the GOE, perhaps as early as 3.0 Ga. One marine shale in particular, the 2.5 Ga Mount McRae Shale of Western Australia, contains a euxinic interval with Mo enrichments up to 50 ppm. This enrichment is classically interpreted as the result of oxidative weathering of sulfides on the continental surface. However, prior weathering models based on experiments suggested that sulfides require large amounts of O2 [>10-4 present atmospheric level (PAL) pO2] to produce this weathering signature, in conflict with estimates of Archean pO2 from non-mass-dependent (NMD) sulfur isotope anomalies (<10-5 PAL pO2). To reconcile these datasets, we conducted aqueous oxidation experiments of pyrite and molybdenite from 3 - 700 nM O2 (equivalent at equilibrium to 10-5 - 10-3 PAL) to measure oxidation kinetics as a function of the concentration of dissolved O2. We measured rates by injecting oxygenated water at a steady flow rate and monitoring dissolved O2 concentrations with LUMOS sensors. Our data extend the O2 range explored in pyrite oxidation experiments by three orders of magnitude and provide the first rates for molybdenite oxidation at O2 concentrations potentially analogous to those characteristic of the Archean atmosphere. Our results show that pyrite and molybdenite oxidize significantly more rapidly at lower O2 levels than previously thought. As a result, our revised weathering model demonstrates that the Mo enrichments observed in late Archean marine shales are potentially attainable at extremely low atmospheric pO2 values (e.g., <10-5 PAL), reconciling large sedimentary Mo enrichments with co

  15. Oxidative Weathering of Archean Sulfides: Implications for the Great Oxidation Event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, A.; Romaniello, S. J.; Reinhard, C.; Garcia-Robledo, E.; Revsbech, N. P.; Canfield, D. E.; Lyons, T. W.; Anbar, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    The first widely accepted evidence for oxidation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans occurs ~2.45 Ga immediately prior to the Great Oxidation Event (GOE). A major line of evidence for this transition includes the abundances and isotopic variations of redox-sensitive transition metals in marine sediments (e.g., Fe, Mo, Re, Cr, and U). It is often assumed that oxidative weathering is required to liberate these redox-sensitive elements from sulfide minerals in the crust, and hence that their presence in early Archean marine sediments signifies that oxidative weathering was stimulated by small and/or transient "whiffs" of O2 in the environment.1 However, studies of crustal sulfide reactivity have not been conducted at O2 concentrations as low as those that would have prevailed when O2 began its rise during the late Archean (estimated at <10-5 present atmospheric O2).2 As a result, it is difficult to quantify O2 concentrations implied by observed trace metal variations. As a first step toward providing more quantitative constraints on late Archean pO2, we conducted laboratory studies of pyrite and molybdenite oxidation kinetics at the nanomolar O2 concentrations that are relevant to late Archean environments. These measurements were made using recently developed, highly sensitive optical O2 sensors to monitor the rates at which the powdered minerals consumed dissolved O2 in a range of pH-buffered solutions.3Our data extend the range of experimental pyrite oxidation rates in the literature by three orders of magnitude from ~10-3 present atmospheric O2 to ~10-6. We find that molybdenite and pyrite oxidation continues to <1 nM O2 (4 x 10-6 present atmospheric O2). This implies that oxidative weathering of sulfides could occur under conditions which preserve MIF S fractionation. Furthermore, our results indicate that the rate law and reaction order of pyrite oxidation kinetics change significantly at nanomolar concentrations of O2 when compared to previous compilations.2 Our

  16. Earth's Archean Impact Record In The ICDP Drilling "Barberton Mountain Land".

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fritz, Jörg; Schmitt, Ralf-Thomas; Reimold, Uwe; Koeberl, Christian; Mc Donald, Ian; Hofmann, Axel; Luais, Beatrice

    2013-04-01

    The marine meta-sedimentary successions in the "Barberton Mountain Land" are formed by Archean volcanic and sedimentary rocks including the oldest known impact ejecta layers on Earth. The chemical signature (high iridium concentrations, chromium isotopic ratios) of some of these up to tens of cm thick Archean spherule layers advocate that these ejecta deposits represent mainly extraterrestrial material [1]. These ejecta layers contain millimetre sized spherules that are larger and accumulated thicker layers compared to any impact ejecta layer known from Phanerozoic sediments, including the global ejecta layer of the Chicxulub impact catering event terminating the Mesozoic era of Earth's history [2]. The Archean spherule layers are interpreted as products of large impacts by 20 to >100 km diameter objects [3, 4]. Identifying traces of mega-impacts in Earth's ancient history could be of relevance for the evolution of atmosphere, biosphere, and parts of the Earth's crust during that time. In addition, recognizing global stratigraphic marker horizons is highly valuable for inter-correlating sedimentary successions between Archean cratons [5]. However estimates regarding size of the impact event and correlations between the different outcrops in the Barberton mountain land are complicated by post depositional alterations of the tectonically deformed sediments [6, 7]. The relatively fresh samples recovered from below the water table during the 2011-2012 ICDP drilling "Barberton Mountain Land" are promising samples to investigate and to discriminate primary and secondary features of these rare rocks. We plan to conduct 1) petrographic, micro-chemical and mineralogical characterization of the impact ejecta layers, 2) bulk chemical analyses of major and trace elements, and 3) LAICP- MS elemental mapping of platinum group element (PGE) distributions. and elemental analyses of moderately siderophile elements. This aims at 1) characterization of the ejecta layers, 2

  17. Stromatolites at ~3,500 Myr and a greenstone-granite unconformity in the Zimbabwean Archaean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orpen, J. L.; Wilson, J. F.

    1981-05-01

    Two controversial areas of geological endeavour are the establishment of the antiquity of life and the tectonic setting of greenstone sequences. We record here the recent discoveries in the Fort Victoria greenstone belt of stromatolites in limestones assigned to ~3,500 Myr (minimum age) Sebakwian Group rocks of the Rhodesian Archaean Craton within Zimbabwe, and a nearby outcrop of a thin sedimentary formation, basal to a thick ~2,700 Myr volcanic pile, resting with definite unconformity on ~3,500 Myr Mushandike Granite.

  18. Nanoscale petrographic and geochemical insights on the origin of the Palaeoproterozoic stromatolitic phosphorites from Aravalli Supergroup, India.

    PubMed

    Papineau, D; De Gregorio, B; Fearn, S; Kilcoyne, D; McMahon, G; Purohit, R; Fogel, M

    2016-01-01

    Stromatolites composed of apatite occur in post-Lomagundi-Jatuli successions (late Palaeoproterozoic) and suggest the emergence of novel types of biomineralization at that time. The microscopic and nanoscopic petrology of organic matter in stromatolitic phosphorites might provide insights into the suite of diagenetic processes that formed these types of stromatolites. Correlated geochemical micro-analyses of the organic matter could also yield molecular, elemental and isotopic compositions and thus insights into the role of specific micro-organisms among these communities. Here, we report on the occurrence of nanoscopic disseminated organic matter in the Palaeoproterozoic stromatolitic phosphorite from the Aravalli Supergroup of north-west India. Organic petrography by micro-Raman and Transmission Electron Microscopy demonstrates syngeneity of the organic matter. Total organic carbon contents of these stromatolitic phosphorite columns are between 0.05 and 3.0 wt% and have a large range of δ(13) Corg values with an average of -18.5‰ (1σ = 4.5‰). δ(15) N values of decarbonated rock powders are between -1.2 and +2.7‰. These isotopic compositions point to the important role of biological N2 -fixation and CO2 -fixation by the pentose phosphate pathway consistent with a population of cyanobacteria. Microscopic spheroidal grains of apatite (MSGA) occur in association with calcite microspar in microbial mats from stromatolite columns and with chert in the core of diagenetic apatite rosettes. Organic matter extracted from the stromatolitic phosphorites contains a range of molecular functional group (e.g. carboxylic acid, alcohol, and aliphatic hydrocarbons) as well as nitrile and nitro groups as determined from C- and N-XANES spectra. The presence of organic nitrogen was independently confirmed by a CN(-) peak detected by ToF-SIMS. Nanoscale petrography and geochemistry allow for a refinement of the formation model for the accretion and phototrophic growth of

  19. The development of stromatolitic features from laminated microbial mats in the coastal sabkha of Abu Dhabi (UAE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Andreas; Lessa Andrade, Luiza; Dutton, Kirsten E.; Sherry, Angela; Court, Wesley M.; Van der Land, Cees; Lokier, Stephen W.; Head, Ian M.

    2017-04-01

    Stromatolitic features are documented from both marine and terrestrial environments worldwide. These features form through a combination of trapping and binding of allochthonous grains, and through microbially mediated and/or controlled precipitation of carbonate minerals. The combined effects of these processes result in the continuous vertical and lateral growth of stromatolites. While the Abu Dhabi coastal sabkha is well known for a vast microbial mat belt that is dominated by continuous polygonal and internally-laminated microbial mats, no stromatolitic features have been reported from this area so far. In this study, we report evidence for stromatolitic features from the coastal sabkha of Abu Dhabi, based on observations in an intertidal but permanently submerged pool. This pool lies embedded within the laminated microbial mat zone, and is marked by the development of true laminated stromatolite at its margins and microbial build-ups at its centre. In order to characterise processes that lead to the formation of these stromatolitic features, and to develop a conceptual model that describes their development in the context of variations in sea level, tidal energy and other environmental factors, we employ a multitude of environmental, sedimentological, mineralogical and geochemical methods. These methods include the analysis of water data in terms of temporal variations in temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and water level, the analysis of petrographic thin sections of both lithified and unlithified features as well as an analysis of the stromatolites' mineralogical composition, and the amounts of incorporated organic carbon and calcium carbonate. Initial results suggest that the development of the observed stromatolitic features in the coastal sabkha of Abu Dhabi is the result of a complex interplay between simultaneous erosion of laminated microbial mat, and biotic/abiotic lithification processes. Initially, the location of this pool was characterised by

  20. Reconstructed ancestral enzymes suggest long-term cooling of Earth's photic zone since the Archean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, Amanda K.; Schopf, J. William; Yokobori, Shin-ichi; Akanuma, Satoshi; Yamagishi, Akihiko

    2017-05-01

    Paleotemperatures inferred from the isotopic compositions (δ18O and δ30Si) of marine cherts suggest that Earth’s oceans cooled from 70 ± 15 °C in the Archean to the present ˜15 °C. This interpretation, however, has been subject to question due to uncertainties regarding oceanic isotopic compositions, diagenetic or metamorphic resetting of the isotopic record, and depositional environments. Analyses of the thermostability of reconstructed ancestral enzymes provide an independent method by which to assess the temperature history inferred from the isotopic evidence. Although previous studies have demonstrated extreme thermostability in reconstructed archaeal and bacterial proteins compatible with a hot early Earth, taxa investigated may have inhabited local thermal environments that differed significantly from average surface conditions. We here present thermostability measurements of reconstructed ancestral enzymatically active nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDKs) derived from light-requiring prokaryotic and eukaryotic phototrophs having widely separated fossil-based divergence ages. The ancestral environmental temperatures thereby determined for these photic-zone organisms--shown in modern taxa to correlate strongly with NDK thermostability--are inferred to reflect ancient surface-environment paleotemperatures. Our results suggest that Earth's surface temperature decreased over geological time from ˜65-80 °C in the Archean, a finding consistent both with previous isotope-based and protein reconstruction-based interpretations. Interdisciplinary studies such as those reported here integrating genomic, geologic, and paleontologic data hold promise for providing new insight into the coevolution of life and environment over Earth history.

  1. Reconstructed ancestral enzymes suggest long-term cooling of Earth's photic zone since the Archean.

    PubMed

    Garcia, Amanda K; Schopf, J William; Yokobori, Shin-Ichi; Akanuma, Satoshi; Yamagishi, Akihiko

    2017-05-02

    Paleotemperatures inferred from the isotopic compositions (δ 18 O and δ 30 Si) of marine cherts suggest that Earth's oceans cooled from 70 ± 15 °C in the Archean to the present ∼15 °C. This interpretation, however, has been subject to question due to uncertainties regarding oceanic isotopic compositions, diagenetic or metamorphic resetting of the isotopic record, and depositional environments. Analyses of the thermostability of reconstructed ancestral enzymes provide an independent method by which to assess the temperature history inferred from the isotopic evidence. Although previous studies have demonstrated extreme thermostability in reconstructed archaeal and bacterial proteins compatible with a hot early Earth, taxa investigated may have inhabited local thermal environments that differed significantly from average surface conditions. We here present thermostability measurements of reconstructed ancestral enzymatically active nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDKs) derived from light-requiring prokaryotic and eukaryotic phototrophs having widely separated fossil-based divergence ages. The ancestral environmental temperatures thereby determined for these photic-zone organisms--shown in modern taxa to correlate strongly with NDK thermostability--are inferred to reflect ancient surface-environment paleotemperatures. Our results suggest that Earth's surface temperature decreased over geological time from ∼65-80 °C in the Archean, a finding consistent both with previous isotope-based and protein reconstruction-based interpretations. Interdisciplinary studies such as those reported here integrating genomic, geologic, and paleontologic data hold promise for providing new insight into the coevolution of life and environment over Earth history.

  2. Evaluating the earliest traces of Archean sub-seafloor life by NanoSIMS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mcloughlin, N.; Grosch, E. G.; Kilburn, M.; Wacey, D.

    2012-12-01

    depleted δ34SVCDT values of -39.8 to +3.2‰ (n= 32). The magnitude, range and spatial heterogeneity of these δ34S values are consistent with an early microbial origin (McLoughlin et al. 2012). In contrast, sulfides cross-cutting the microtextures related to later veining have positive δ34S of +6.7 to +18.0‰ (n=20). These data can be compared to magmatic sulfides (δ34S = +3±3‰), Archean seawater (δ34S ca. +5‰) and Archean sedimentary sulfides (δ34S = +8 to -23‰). We propose that the Hooggenoeg sulfides probably formed during early fluid-rock-microbe interaction involving sulfate-reducing microbes (c.f. Rouxel et al. 2008). The pillow lavas were then metamorphosed, the glass transformed to a greenschist facies assemblage and titanite growth encapsulated the microbial sulfides. In summary, the extreme sulfur isotope fractionations reported here independently point towards the potential involvement of microbes in the alteration of Archean volcanic glass. In situ sulfur isotope analysis of basalt-hosted sulfides may provide an alternative approach to investigating the existence of an Archean sub-seafloor biosphere that does not require the mineralization of early microbial microborings with organic linings.

  3. Accretionary history of the Archean Barberton Greenstone Belt (3.55-3.22 Ga), southern Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, D. R.

    1994-01-01

    The 3.55-3.22 Ga Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa and Swaziland, and surrounding coeval plutons can be divided into four tectono-stratigraphic blocks that become younger toward the northwest. Each block formed through early mafic to ultramafic volcanism (Onverwacht Group), probably in oceanic extensional, island, or plateau settings. Volcanism was followed by magmatic quiescence and deposition of fine-grained sediments, possibly in an intraplate setting. Late evolution involved underplating of the mafic crust by tonalitic intrusions along a subduction-related magmatic arc, yielding a thickened, buoyant protocontinental block. The growth of larger continental domains occurred both through magmatic accretion, as new protocontinental blocks developed along the margins of older blocks, and when previously separate blocks were amalgamated through tectonic accretion. Evolution of the Barberton Belt may reflect an Early Archean plate tectonic cycle that characterized a world with few or no large, stabilized blocks of sialic crust.

  4. The Hardwood Gneiss: Evidence for high P-T Archean metamorphism in the southern province of the Lake Superior region

    SciT

    Peterson, J.W.; Geiger, C.A.

    1990-03-01

    The Hardwood Gneiss is an areally small unit of Precambrian granulite-grade rocks exposed in the Archean gneiss terrane of the southern Lake Superior region. The rocks are located in the southwestern portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and consist of a structurally conformable package of quartzitic, metapelitic, amphibolitic, and metabasic units. Three texturally distinct garnet types are present in the metabasites and are interpreted to represent two metamorphic events. Geothermobarometry indicates conditions of {approximately}8.2-11.6 kbar and {approximately}770C for M1, and conditions of {approximately}6.0-10.1 kbar and {approximately}610-740C for M2. It is proposed that M1 was Archean and contemporaneous with amore » high-grade metamorphic event recorded in the Minnesota River Valley. The M2 event was probably Early Proterozoic and pre-Penokean, with metamorphic conditions more intense than those generally ascribed to the Penokean Orogeny in Michigan, but similar to the conditions reported for the Kapuskasing zone of Ontario. The high paleopressures and temperatures of the M1 event make the Hardwood Gneiss distinct from any rocks previously described in the southern Lake Superior region, and suggest intense tectonic activity during the Archean.« less

  5. Development of the archean crust in the medina mountain area, wind river range, wyoming (U.S.A.)

    Koesterer, M.E.; Frost, C.D.; Frost, B.R.; Hulsebosch, T.P.; Bridgwater, D.; Worl, R.G.

    1987-01-01

    Evidence for an extensive Archean crustal history in the Wind River Range is preserved in the Medina Mountain area in the west-central part of the range. The oldest rocks in the area are metasedimentary, mafic, and ultramafic blocks in a migmatite host. The supracrustal rocks of the Medina Mountain area (MMS) are folded into the migmatites, and include semi-pelitic and pelitic gneisses, and mafic rocks of probable volcanic origin. Mafic dikes intrude the older migmatites but not the MMS, suggesting that the MMS are distinctly younger than the supracrustal rocks in the migmatites. The migmatites and the MMS were engulfed by the late Archean granite of the Bridger, Louis Lake, and Bears Ears batholiths, which constitutes the dominant rock of the Wind River Range. Isotopic data available for the area include Nd crustal residence ages from the MMS which indicate that continental crust existed in the area at or before 3.4 Ga, but the age of the older supracrustal sequence is not yet known. The upper age of the MMS is limited by a 2.7 Ga RbSr age of the Bridger batholith, which was emplaced during the waning stages of the last regional metamorphism. The post-tectonic Louis Lake and Bears Ears batholiths have ages of 2.6 and 2.5 Ga, respectively (Stuckless et al., 1985). At least three metamorphic events are recorded in the area: (1) an early regional granulite event (M1) that affected only the older inclusions within the migmatites, (2) a second regional amphibolite event (M2) that locally reached granulite facies conditions, and (3) a restricted, contact granulite facies event (M3) caused by the intrusion of charnockitic melts associated with the late Archean plutons. Results from cation exchange geobarometers and geothermometers yield unreasonablu low pressures and temperatures, suggesting resetting during the long late Archean thermal evenn. ?? 1987.

  6. Sedimentation patterns in the Barberton Mountain Land, South Africa, and the Pilbara Block, Australia: Evidence for Archean rifted continental margins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eriksson, Kenneth A.

    1982-01-01

    Archean supracrustal sequences in the Barberton Mountain Land, South Africa, and the Pilbara Block, Australia, consist of lower volcanic and upper dominantly terrigenous clastic intervals. As evidenced by the paleoenvironments of intercalated sedimentary horizons, volcanism occurred mainly in shallow waters. The overlying ca 3.3 Ga sedimentary intervals contain various common as well as unique paleoenvironments, the understanding of which places significant constraints on Archean crustal models. Lateral and vertical associations of inferred paleoenvironments are used to interpret the geotectonic history of the Archean depositories. The early sedimentary history of the greenstone belts is characterized by terrestrial and subaqueous graben-fill associations of facies related to the initial rift stage of basin development. Continued rifting and initial spreading produced submarine grabens within which ironformations accumulated in response to waning volcanism. Source area uplift resulted in progradation of submarine fans across the basinal chemical sediments. The turbidites are gradational directly into braided alluvial sediments, in part of fan delta origin, suggesting that the continental to marine transition occurred along a narrow continental shelf. In the Barberton Mountain Land the steep-rift margin was succeeded by the development of a stable continental shelf or shelf rise margin through progradation of the turbidite wedge possibly in association with a eustatic rise in sea-level related to continued spreading. On this shelf extensive tidal, deltaic and barrier beach sediments accumulated. Sedimentation was terminated by closure of the passive margin oceans. The late-Archean Pongola Supergroup in South Africa is considered to be the late-orogenic molasse response to this closure and represents the completion of the Wilson cycle.

  7. Cyanobacterial Community Structure In Lithifying Mats of A Yellowstone Hotspring-Implications for Precambrian Stromatolite Biocomplexity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lau, Evan; Nash, C. Z.; Vogler, D. R.; Cullings, K.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences was used to investigate the molecular biodiversity of cyanobacterial communities inhabiting various lithified morpho-structures in two hotsprings of Yellowstone National Park. These morpho-structures - flat-topped columns, columnar cones, and ridged cones - resemble ancient stromatolites, which are possibly biogenic in origin. The top, middle and bottom sections of these lithified morpho-structures, as well as surrounding non-lithified mats were analyzed to determine the vertical and spatial distribution of cyanobacterial communities. Results from DGGE indicate that the cyanobacterial community composition of lithified morpho-structures (flat-topped columns, columnar cones, and ridged cones) were largely similar in vertical distribution as well as among the morpho-structures being studied. Preliminary results indicate that the cyanobacterial communities in these lithified morpho-structures were significantly different from communities in surrounding non-lithified mats. These results provide additional support to the theory that certain Phormidium/Leptolyngbya species are involved in the morphogenesis of lithifying morpho-structures in hotsprings and may have played a role in the formation of ancient stromatolites.

  8. Adaptation, ecology, and evolution of the halophilic stromatolite archaeon Halococcus hamelinensis inferred through genome analyses.

    PubMed

    Gudhka, Reema K; Neilan, Brett A; Burns, Brendan P

    2015-01-01

    Halococcus hamelinensis was the first archaeon isolated from stromatolites. These geomicrobial ecosystems are thought to be some of the earliest known on Earth, yet, despite their evolutionary significance, the role of Archaea in these systems is still not well understood. Detailed here is the genome sequencing and analysis of an archaeon isolated from stromatolites. The genome of H. hamelinensis consisted of 3,133,046 base pairs with an average G+C content of 60.08% and contained 3,150 predicted coding sequences or ORFs, 2,196 (68.67%) of which were protein-coding genes with functional assignments and 954 (29.83%) of which were of unknown function. Codon usage of the H. hamelinensis genome was consistent with a highly acidic proteome, a major adaptive mechanism towards high salinity. Amino acid transport and metabolism, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, energy production and conversion, ribosomal structure, and unknown function COG genes were overrepresented. The genome of H. hamelinensis also revealed characteristics reflecting its survival in its extreme environment, including putative genes/pathways involved in osmoprotection, oxidative stress response, and UV damage repair. Finally, genome analyses indicated the presence of putative transposases as well as positive matches of genes of H. hamelinensis against various genomes of Bacteria, Archaea, and viruses, suggesting the potential for horizontal gene transfer.

  9. Chemistry of sands from the modern Indus River and the Archean Witwatersrand basin: Implications for the composition of the Archean atmosphere

    SciT

    Maynard, J.B.; Ritger, S.D.; Sutton, S.J.

    1991-03-01

    Both the Indus River and the Witwatersrand basin contain sand with grains of detrital uraninite. Because this mineral is easily oxidized, its presence in Archean strata as a detrital particle has been used as evidence for a low-oxygen atmosphere before 2.5 Ga. However, its presence in modern sand from the Indus River system has been used to argue that detrital uraninite does not provide information about the oxygen concentration of Earth's early atmosphere. Petrographic and chemical study of sand from these two sources reveals differences that suggest the modern Indus sand cannot be used as an analog for the Archeanmore » Witwatersrand occurrences. The Witwatersrand quartzites are depleted in Ca, Mg, and Na, indicating that the original sand from which they formed had been subjected to intense weathering. The chemical index of alteration (CIA), a commonly used indicator of degree of weathering, yields an average value of about 0.80 for Witwatersrand quartzites, comparable to modern tropical streams such as the Orinoco that drain deeply weathered terrains under tropical conditions (CIA=0.75). In contrast, the CIA for Indus sand is 0.45, indicating virtually no chemical weathering. The significance of Archean quartz-pebble conglomerates is not just that they contain unstable detrital phases like uraninite and pyrite, but that these particles are associated with rocks whose compositions suggest intense weathering. These conglomerates must have been subjected to intense weathering under tropical conditions, either in their source area or at the site of deposition, and the preservation of minerals like uraninite such conditions is indeed strong evidence for a low-oxygen atmosphere.« less

  10. Development of Archean crust in the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frost, C. D.; Koesterer, M. E.; Koesterer, M. E.; Koesterer, M. E.; Koesterer, M. E.

    1986-01-01

    The Wind River Mountains are a NW-SE trending range composed almost entirely of high-grade Archean gneiss and granites which were thrust to the west over Phanerozoic sediments during the Laramide orogeny. Late Archean granites make up over 50% of the exposed crust and dominates the southern half of the range, while older orthogneisses and magnatites form most of the northen half of the range. Locally these gneisses contain enclaves of supracrustal rocks, which appear to be the oldest preserved rocks in the range. Detailed work in the Medina Mountain area of the central Wind River Mountains and reconnaissance work throughout much of the northern part of the range has allowed definition of the sequence of events which marked crustal development in this area. The sequence of events are described.

  11. Origin of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis during the Archean.

    PubMed

    Lin, Wei; Paterson, Greig A; Zhu, Qiyun; Wang, Yinzhao; Kopylova, Evguenia; Li, Ying; Knight, Rob; Bazylinski, Dennis A; Zhu, Rixiang; Kirschvink, Joseph L; Pan, Yongxin

    2017-02-28

    Microbes that synthesize minerals, a process known as microbial biomineralization, contributed substantially to the evolution of current planetary environments through numerous important geochemical processes. Despite its geological significance, the origin and evolution of microbial biomineralization remain poorly understood. Through combined metagenomic and phylogenetic analyses of deep-branching magnetotactic bacteria from the Nitrospirae phylum, and using a Bayesian molecular clock-dating method, we show here that the gene cluster responsible for biomineralization of magnetosomes, and the arrangement of magnetosome chain(s) within cells, both originated before or near the Archean divergence between the Nitrospirae and Proteobacteria This phylogenetic divergence occurred well before the Great Oxygenation Event. Magnetotaxis likely evolved due to environmental pressures conferring an evolutionary advantage to navigation via the geomagnetic field. Earth's dynamo must therefore have been sufficiently strong to sustain microbial magnetotaxis in the Archean, suggesting that magnetotaxis coevolved with the geodynamo over geological time.

  12. Geochemistry of carbon and sulfur in the 2.7 Ga stromatolitic carbonate and shale (ABDP#10 core) from Meentheena, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomiuka, T.; Yamaguchi, K. E.

    2014-12-01

    Earth's surface environments about 2.7 Ga ago likely experienced drastic changes such as rapid continental growth, negative excursion of organic carbon isotopes, and positive excursion of mass-independently fractionated sulfur isotopes. Discovery of biomarkers indicating cyanobacteria, although questionable, was also claimed. The coeval shallow ocean could have contained appreciable amount of molecular O2 produced by cyanobacteria, but it has been unknown whether deep sea was oxygenated by ocean circulation. In order to unravel the shallow water environment, we obtained modern-weathering-free 2.7 Ga drilcore samples of stromatolitic carbonate and shale by Archean Biosphere Drilling Project (ABDP#10 core) in Meentheena, NE Western Australia. The purpose of this study is to extract information regarding the surface ocean chemistry by abundance (of various species) and corresponding stable isotope compositions of carbon and sulfur. Based on mass balance calculation, we obtained a much reduced fraction of organic carbon to total carbon (forg) to be 0.11 (c.f., Phanerozoic average is 0.2), suggesting that aerobic and/or anaerobic decomposition of organic matter was vigorous. The very low δ13Corg values suggest carbon recycling involving methanogenesis by methanogen (e.g., 2CH2O → CH4 + CO2) accompanied by large isotope fractionation. Generated CH4 was oxidized by methylotroph to CO2, which was reused to form organic matter by biochemical processes such as photosynthesis. Either O2 or SO42- was required to facilitate CH4 oxidation, suggesting availability of oxidized species in the 2.7 Ga shallow sea environment. Abundance of Spy with near zero δ34Spy values suggest syndepositional and/or diagenetic formation of bacteriogenic pyrite utilizing sulfate formed by oxidation of mantle-derived sulfur (δ34S ≈ 0‰). A plot of Spy vs. Corg abundance shows a trend falling between a Phanerozoic normal marine trend (Spy/Corg = 0.36) and a freshwater trend (Spy << Corg

  13. Workshop on a Cross Section of Archean Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ashwal, L. D. (Editor); Card, K. D. (Editor)

    1983-01-01

    Various topics relevant to crustal genesis, especially the relationship between Archean low - and high-grade terrains, were discussed. The central Superior Province of the Canadian Shield was studied. Here a 120 km-wide transition from subgreenschist facies rocks of the Michipicoten greenstone belt to granulite facies rocks of the Kapuskasing structural zone represents an oblique cross section through some 20 km of crust, uplifted along a northwest-dipping thrust fault.

  14. Modeling Archean Subduction Initiation from Continental Spreading with a Free-Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, A.; Thielmann, M.; Golabek, G.

    2017-12-01

    Earth is the only planet known to have plate tectonics, however the onset of plate tectonics and Earth's early tectonic environment are highly uncertain. Modern plate tectonics are characterized by the sinking of dense lithosphere at subduction zones; however this process may not have been feasible if Earth's interior was hotter in the Archean, resulting in thicker and more buoyant oceanic lithosphere than observed at present [van Hunen and van den Berg, 2008]. Previous studies have proposed gravitational spreading of early continents at passive margins as a mechanism to trigger early episodes of plate subduction using numerical simulations with a free-slip upper boundary condition [Rey et al., 2014]. This study utilizes 2D thermo-mechanical numerical experiments using the finite element code MVEP2 [Kaus, 2010; Thielmann et al., 2014] to investigate the viability of this mechanism for subduction initiation in an Archean mantle for both free-slip and free-surface models. Radiogenic heating, strain weakening, and eclogitization were systematically implemented to determine critical factors for modeling subduction initiation. In free-slip models, results show episodes of continent spreading and subduction initiation of oceanic lithosphere for low limiting yield stresses (100-150 MPa) and increasing continent width with no dependency on radiogenic heating, strain weakening, or eclogitization. For models with a free-surface, subduction initiation was observed at low limiting yield stresses (100-225 MPa) with increasing continent width and only in models with eclogitization. Initial lithospheric stress states were studied as a function of density and viscosity ratios between continent and oceanic lithosphere, and results indicate the magnitude of lithospheric stresses increases with increasing continental buoyancy. This work suggests continent spreading may trigger episodes of subduction in models with a free-surface with critical factors being low limiting yield stresses

  15. Geochemistry of Archean shales from the Pilbara Supergroup, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLennan, Scott M.; Taylor, S. R.; Eriksson, K. A.

    1983-07-01

    Archean clastic sedimentary rocks are well exposed in the Pilbara Block of Western Australia. Shales from turbidites in the Gorge Creek Group ( ca. 3.4 Ae) and shales from the Whim Creek Group ( ca. 2.7 Ae) have been examined. The Gorge Creek Group samples, characterized by muscovite-quartzchlorite mineralogy, are enriched in incompatible elements (K, Th, U, LREE) by factors of about two, when compared to younger Archean shales from the Yilgarn Block. Alkali and alkaline earth elements are depleted in a systematic fashion, according to size, when compared with an estimate of Archean upper crust abundances. This depletion is less notable in the Whim Creek Group. Such a pattern indicates the source of these rocks underwent a rather severe episode of weathering. The Gorge Creek Group also has fairly high B content (85 ± 29 ppm) which may indicate normal marine conditions during deposition. Rare earth element (REE) patterns for the Pilbara samples are characterized by light REE enrichment ( La N/Yb N ≥ 7.5 ) and no or very slight Eu depletion ( Eu/Eu ∗ = 0.82 - 0.99 ). A source comprised of about 80% felsic igneous rocks without large negative Eu-anomalies (felsic volcanics, tonalites, trondhjemites) and 20% mafic-ultramafic volcanics is indicated by the trace element data. Very high abundances of Cr and Ni cannot be explained by any reasonable provenance model and a secondary enrichment process is called for.

  16. The Role of Cyanobacteria in Stromatolite Morphogenesis, Highborn Cay Bahamas: An Integrated Field and Laboratory Simulation Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prufert-Bebout, Leslie; Shepard, Rebekah; Reid, Pamela R.; Fonda, Mark (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Geomicrobiological phenomena are among the most fundamental of interactions between Earth and its biosphere. Actively growing and lithifying stromatolites at Highborne Cay Bahamas, have recently been documented and allow for detailed examination of the roles microbes play in the mineralization process. These stromatolites contain a variety of complex microbial communities with distinct distribution patterns for different microbial groups. Cyanobacteria are the primary producers in this system providing energy, directly or indirectly, for the entire stromatolite microbial community. They also play key roles in the trapping and binding of sediments. Most of these species are highly motile and can adjust their position and orientation within the sediment matrix in order to optimize their access to irradiance and nutrients. As individual species have different physical and metabolic properties, this motility generally results in segregated distributions of species, which in turn contributes to the laminated textures observed in these actively forming stromatolites. Increasingly our studies suggest that the activities and locations of various cyanobacterial species also contribute greatly to the localization of new mineral precipitation through a variety of processes. We are investigating these contributions using an integrated approach combining detailed observations of field samples with manipulative experiments using both field samples and cultures of specific organisms isolated from these stromatolites. Experiments are conducted both in standard laboratory conditions and in outdoor running seawater flumes. A variety of standard techniques; SEM (scanning electron microscopy), petrographic analyses, TEM (transmission electron microscopy), are used to compare mineralization processes in field samples with those generated in laboratory-flume simulations. Using this approach we are able to more thoroughly investigate the effects of irradiance, CaCO3 saturation, and

  17. Emerged Oceanic Plateaux and Their Role in Regulating Archean Ocean and Atmosphere Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kamber, B. S.

    2009-05-01

    destructive plate margins. The disappearance of emerged oceanic plateaux, at ca. 2.6 Ga, is related to the temperature of plumes, which apparently dropped at this time. The re-organization of the landmass at the A-P boundary also significantly changed the supply of essential nutrients to the ocean. This included Ni, a key nutrient for methanogens. Furthermore, the existence of emerged oceanic plateaux throughout the Archean provided weathering template to bind the early atmospheric greenhouse in time for the planet-wide glaciation. In summary, the temperature distribution in the mantle, in particular the potential temperature in plume sources, not only governed the type of melts produced (e.g. komatiite vs. basalt) but by creating horizontal volcanic piles (plateaux) of sufficient thickness to emerge from the ocean, it was also the single most important factor affecting atmospheric composition and climate and therefore the evolution of life.

  18. Hazy Archean Earth as an Analog for Hazy Earthlike Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arney, Giada; Meadows, Victoria; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Claire, Mark; Schwieterman, Edward

    2015-01-01

    Hazy exoplanets may be common (Bean et al. 2010, Sing et al. 2011, Kreidberg et al 2014), and in our solar system, Venus and Titan have photochemically-produced hazes. There is evidence that Earth itself had a hydrocarbon haze in the Archean (Zerkle et al. 2012, Domagal-Goldman et al. 2008) with important climatic effects (Pavlov et al. 2001, Trainer et al. 2006, Haqq-Misra et al. 2008, Wolf and Toon 2012). We use a 1D coupled photochemical-climate model and a line-by-line radiative transfer model to investigate the climactic and spectral impacts of a fractal hydrocarbon haze on Archean Earth. The haze absorbs significantly at shorter wavelengths and can strongly suppress the Rayleigh scattering tail, a broadband effect that would be remotely detectable at low spectral resolution at wavelengths less than 0.5 μm. Hazes may have a more significant impact on transit transmission spectra. Using the transit transmission radiative transfer model developed by Misra et al. (2014) to generate hazy Archean spectra, we find that even a thin hydrocarbon haze masks the lower atmosphere from the visible into the near infrared where the haze optical depth exceeds unity. The transit transmission spectra we generate for hazy Archean Earth are steeply sloped like the Titan solar occultation spectrum observed by Robinson et al. (2014). Thick hazes can also cool the planet significantly: for example, the thick fractal haze generated around Archean Earth with 0.3% CH4, 1% CO2 and 1 ppm C2H6 cools the planet from roughly 290 K without the haze to below freezing with the haze. Finally, we investigate the impact of host star spectral type on haze formation, comparing the hazes generated around a solar-type star to those generated at an Earth analog planet around the M dwarf AD Leo. Our results indicate hazes around M dwarfs for the same initial atmospheric composition may be thinner due to decreased UV photolysis of methane and other hydrocarbons needed for haze formation. Earthlike

  19. Timing and sources of late Archean magmatism, Kolar area, south India: Implications for Archean tectonics

    SciT

    Krogstad, E.J.

    1988-01-01

    The N-S trending 80 km long by 4-8 km wide Kolar Schist Belt in the Achean Dharwar craton of south India is bounded on its east and west by gneiss terranes. The contacts between the schist belt and surrounding gneisses are tectonic, rather than intrusive or unconformable. On the west side of the schist belt, monzodioritic to granitic gneisses have U-Pb zircon ages of 2631 +6.5/{minus}6 Ma, 2610 +10/{minus}10 Ma, and 2551 +3/{minus}3 Ma. The U-Pb sphene ages of these orthogneisses are between 2553 and 2551 Ma. Later granitic intrusions have U-Pb sphene and garnet ages as young as 2400more » Ma. Gneisses occurring as tectonic and magmatic inclusions in the area contain zircons older than 3140 Ma. The dominant gneiss unit on the east side of the schist belt has a U-Pb zircon age of 2532 +3.5/{minus}3Ma; U-Pb sphene ages east of the belt range from 2520 to 2500 Ma. The last major shearing episode, probably represented by Pb-Pb K-feldspar-whole rock ages on both sides of the schist belt, and by an {sup 40}Ar/{sup 39}Ar muscovite plateau age from sheared gneisses, occurred between 2520 and 2420 Ma. Pb, Nd and Sr initial ratios for the western gneisses suggest that their parent magmas were mantle-derived, but were contaminated by continental crust older than 3200 Ma. Nd, Sr and Pb initial ratios for the eastern gneisses show no evidence of older continental crust either having contaminated the magmas, or acting as part of the source materials. The Kolar Schist Belt is interpreted as the site of a latest Archean or earliest Proterozoic (2520 to 2420 Ma) suture zone where newly generated continental crust on the east was tectonically accreted to the margin of an older (3400 to 2550 Ma) continental nucleus to the west.« less

  20. Ediacaran stromatolites and intertidal phosphorite of the Salitre Formation, Brazil: Phosphogenesis during the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caird, R. A.; Pufahl, P. K.; Hiatt, E. E.; Abram, M. B.; Rocha, A. J. D.; Kyser, T. K.

    2017-04-01

    The Ediacaran Nova America and Gabriel members of the Salitre Formation are composed of limestone and economic phosphorite that accumulated on an unrimmed epeiric ramp along the margins of the Irecê Basin, Brazil. Deposition occurred during a marine transgression punctuated by higher-order fluctuations in relative sea-level that produced m-scale, shallowing-upward peritidal cycles. Cycles consist of six lithofacies rich in microbial sedimentary structures including subtidal, cross-stratified grainstones and hemispheroidal columnar stromatolite reefs overlain by intertidal flat sediments indicative of decreasing accommodation. Phosphorite is restricted to the paleocoast where digitate stromatolite biostromes colonized tidal flats. Phosphorite accumulation is interpreted to have been associated with biostromes because photosynthetic oxygen production created a redox gradient beneath the seafloor that phosphogenic chemosynthetic bacteria exploited. The concentration of francolite or sedimentary apatite in microbial laminae suggests these bacteria actively stored, released, and concentrated phosphate to promote in situ precipitation. The sealing effect of interbedded, fine-grained tidal deposits was also critical for maintaining the high levels of pore water phosphate required. The absence of francolite in subtidal columnar stromatolite reefs implies phosphogenesis was prevented in deeper, more energetic environments because wave pumping of oxygenated seawater through reefs surrounded by constantly moving grainy sediment promoted the recycling of P directly back to the water column. The Salitre Formation has a complex paragenesis, including hydrothermal alteration that produced Mississippi Valley-type Pb-Zn mineralization. δ18O values of Nova America member dolomites range from - 10.2‰ to - 0.5‰ (mean = - 3.9‰) and δ13C ranges from - 9.2‰ to + 10.0‰ (mean = + 2.8‰). Samples contain varying proportions of low-Mg calcite and saddle dolomite. δ18O values

  1. Carbonate organo-mineral micro- and ultrastructures in sub-fossil stromatolites: Marion lake, South Australia.

    PubMed

    Perri, E; Tucker, M E; Spadafora, A

    2012-03-01

    Sub-fossil stromatolites (5000-3000 years old) occur on the marginal flat surrounding Marion Lake (South Australia). A micrite/microsparite crystal fabric characterises these fine-grained, well-laminated stromatolites, which lack trapped grains. The internal lamination is characterised by a sub-millimetric alternation of porous and dense laminae. The microfabric of the laminae is ubiquitously composed of a fine (10-20 μm) peloidal texture, with many thinner aphanitic layers. Aggregates of very fine, low-Mg calcite and aragonite constitute both peloidal and aphanitic micrite, which is coated, respectively, by spherulitic and fringing acicular microspar. Micrite, with a high organic matter content, is formed of coalescing nanospheres grading into small polyhedrons, probably composed mainly of aragonite, with less calcite enriched in Mg, Sr, Na and S. Bacteria-like microfossils and relics of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) occur abundantly within this micritic framework. The former consist of empty moulds and mineralised bodies of coccoid forms, whereas EPS relics consist of sheet-like or filamentous structures that appear both mineralised and more often still preserved as a C-enriched dehydrated substance that represents the main organic matter component of the deposit. Acicular crystals, which show a prismatic elongate shape, are composed of Mg-depleted aragonite that lacks fossils or organic relicts. Degrading EPS and micro-organisms appear gradually to be replaced and entombed by the nanospherical precipitates, implying the existence of processes of organo-mineralisation within an original syn-sedimentary microbial community. Succeeding micron-scale crystals merge to form isolated or connected micritic aggregates (the peloids), followed by the gradual formation of the acicular crystals as purely inorganic precipitates. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  2. Xenon Fractionation and Archean Hydrogen Escape

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, K. J.

    2015-01-01

    Xenon is the heaviest gas found in significant quantities in natural planetary atmospheres. It would seem the least likely to escape. Yet there is more evidence for xenon escape from Earth than for any element other than helium and perhaps neon. The most straightforward evidence is that most of the radiogenic Xe from the decay of (129)I (half-life 15.7 Myr) and (244)Pu (half-life 81 Myr) that is Earth's birthright is missing. The missing xenon is often attributed to the impact erosion of early atmospheres of Earth and its ancestors. It is obvious that if most of the radiogenic xenon were driven off by impacts, most of the rest of the atmophiles fared the same fate. The other line of evidence is in the nonradiogenic isotopes of xenon and its silent partner, krypton. Atmospheric xenon is strongly mass fractionated (at about 4% per amu) compared to any known solar system source (Figure 1). This is in stark contrast to krypton, which may not be fractionated at all: atmospheric Kr is slightly heavier than solar Kr (at about 0.5% per amu), but it is the same as in carbonaceous chondrites. Nonradiogenic xenon is also under abundant relative to krypton (the so-called "missing xenon" problem). Together these observations imply that xenon has been subject to fractionating escape and krypton not.

  3. Multiple sulfur isotopes monitor fluid evolution of an Archean orogenic gold deposit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LaFlamme, Crystal; Sugiono, Dennis; Thébaud, Nicolas; Caruso, Stefano; Fiorentini, Marco; Selvaraja, Vikraman; Jeon, Heejin; Voute, François; Martin, Laure

    2018-02-01

    The evolution of a gold-bearing hydrothermal fluid from its source to the locus of gold deposition is complex as it experiences rapid changes in thermochemical conditions during ascent through the crust. Although it is well established that orogenic gold deposits are generated during time periods of abundant crustal growth and/or reworking, the source of fluid and the thermochemical processes that control gold precipitation remain poorly understood. In situ analyses of multiple sulfur isotopes offer a new window into the relationship between source reservoirs of Au-bearing fluids and the thermochemical processes that occur along their pathway to the final site of mineralisation. Whereas δ34S is able to track changes in the evolution of the thermodynamic conditions of ore-forming fluids, Δ33S is virtually indelible and can uniquely fingerprint an Archean sedimentary reservoir that has undergone mass independent fractionation of sulfur (MIF-S). We combine these two tracers (δ34S and Δ33S) to characterise a gold-bearing laminated quartz breccia ore zone and its sulfide-bearing alteration halo in the (+6 Moz Au) structurally-controlled Archean Waroonga deposit located in the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Over 250 analyses of gold-associated sulfides yield a δ34S shift from what is interpreted as an early pre-mineralisation phase, with chalcopyrite-pyrrhotite (δ34S = +0.7‰ to +2.9‰) and arsenopyrite cores (δ34S = ∼-0.5‰), to a syn-mineralisation stage, reflected in Au-bearing arsenopyrite rims (δ34S = -7.6‰ to +1.5‰). This shift coincides with an unchanging Δ33S value (Δ33S = +0.3‰), both temporally throughout the Au-hosting hydrothermal sulfide paragenesis and spatially across the Au ore zone. These results indicate that sulfur is at least partially recycled from MIF-S-bearing Archean sediments. Further, the invariant nature of the observed MIF-S signature demonstrates that sulfur is derived from a

  4. A Hot Spring Origin of Life and Early Adaptive Pathway from Woese Progenotes to Marine Stromatolites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norkus, R.; Damer, B. F.; Deamer, D. W.

    2017-07-01

    An origin of life on land is visualized as: organic compounds accumulating in hydrothermal pools, wet-dry cycling of protocells encapsulating synthesized polymers, arising of a Woese progenote and its evolution into living microbial communities.

  5. Geological Mapping of Fortuna Tessera (V-2): Venus and Earth's Archean Process Comparisons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Head, James W.; Hurwitz,D. M.; Ivanov, M. A.; Basilevsky, A. T.; Kumar, P. Senthil

    2008-01-01

    The geological features, structures, thermal conditions, interpreted processes, and outstanding questions related to both the Earth's Archean and Venus share many similarities and we are using a problem-oriented approach to Venus mapping, guided by insight from the Archean record of the Earth, to gain new insight into the evolution of Venus and Earth's Archean. The Earth's preserved and well-documented Archean record provides important insight into high heat-flux tectonic and magmatic environments and structures and the surface of Venus reveals the current configuration and recent geological record of analogous high-temperature environments unmodified by subsequent several billion years of segmentation and overprinting, as on Earth. Elsewhere we have addressed the nature of the Earth's Archean, the similarities to and differences from Venus, and the specific Venus and Earth-Archean problems on which progress might be made through comparison. Here we present the major goals of the Venus-Archean comparison and show how preliminary mapping of the geology of the V-2 Fortuna Tessera quadrangle is providing insight on these problems. We have identified five key themes and questions common to both the Archean and Venus, the assessment of which could provide important new insights into the history and processes of both planets.

  6. A preliminary report on a possible stromatolite find from the Elephant Moraine, Antarctica: A potential directional indicator for ice movement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sipiera, P. P.; Landis, C. A.

    1986-01-01

    During the 1983 to 1984 Antarctic Search for Meteorites field season, numerous specimens of a shiny black rock were collected from among the glacial debris at the Elephant Moraine. From a distance these black rocks gave the appearance of meteorites, but upon closer inspection, distinct layering and radial crystal growth patterns became clearly visible. Laboratory investigations showed that these unusual specimens are primarily composed of carbonate minerals. Petrographically, microscopic examination of twelve randomly collected specimens revealed a variety in the habits of the carbonates, but the overall trend tends to be one of radiating acicular crystals that have the appearance of a pseudo-cellular structure reminiscent of stromatolites. It is not possible at this time to specifically identify this possible stromatolite material or its source locality.

  7. Key Role of Alphaproteobacteria and Cyanobacteria in the Formation of Stromatolites of Lake Dziani Dzaha (Mayotte, Western Indian Ocean).

    PubMed

    Gérard, Emmanuelle; De Goeyse, Siham; Hugoni, Mylène; Agogué, Hélène; Richard, Laurent; Milesi, Vincent; Guyot, François; Lecourt, Léna; Borensztajn, Stephan; Joseph, Marie-Béatrice; Leclerc, Thomas; Sarazin, Gérard; Jézéquel, Didier; Leboulanger, Christophe; Ader, Magali

    2018-01-01

    Lake Dziani Dzaha is a thalassohaline tropical crater lake located on the "Petite Terre" Island of Mayotte (Comoros archipelago, Western Indian Ocean). Stromatolites are actively growing in the shallow waters of the lake shores. These stromatolites are mainly composed of aragonite with lesser proportions of hydromagnesite, calcite, dolomite, and phyllosilicates. They are morphologically and texturally diverse ranging from tabular covered by a cauliflower-like crust to columnar ones with a smooth surface. High-throughput sequencing of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) analysis revealed that the microbial composition of the mats associated with the stromatolites was clearly distinct from that of the Arthrospira -dominated lake water. Unicellular-colonial Cyanobacteria belonging to the Xenococcus genus of the Pleurocapsales order were detected in the cauliflower crust mats, whereas filamentous Cyanobacteria belonging to the Leptolyngbya genus were found in the smooth surface mats. Observations using CLSM, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy indicated that the cauliflower texture consists of laminations of aragonite, magnesium-silicate phase and hydromagnesite. The associated microbial mat, as confirmed by laser microdissection and whole-genome amplification (WGA), is composed of Pleurocapsales coated by abundant filamentous and coccoid Alphaproteobacteria. These phototrophic Alphaproteobacteria promote the precipitation of aragonite in which they become incrusted. In contrast, the Pleurocapsales are not calcifying but instead accumulate silicon and magnesium in their sheaths, which may be responsible for the formation of the Mg-silicate phase found in the cauliflower crust. We therefore propose that Pleurocapsales and Alphaproteobacteria are involved in the formation of two distinct mineral phases present in the cauliflower texture: Mg-silicate and aragonite, respectively. These results

  8. Iron isotopes in ancient and modern komatiites: Evidence in support of an oxidised mantle from Archean to present

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hibbert, K. E. J.; Williams, H. M.; Kerr, A. C.; Puchtel, I. S.

    2012-03-01

    The mantle of the modern Earth is relatively oxidised compared to the initially reducing conditions inferred for core formation. The timing of the oxidation of the mantle is not conclusively resolved but has important implications for the timing of the development of the hydrosphere and atmosphere. In order to examine the timing of this oxidation event, we present iron isotope data from three exceptionally well preserved komatiite localities, Belingwe (2.7 Ga), Vetreny (2.4 Ga) and Gorgona (0.089 Ga). Measurements of Fe isotope compositions of whole-rock samples are complemented by the analysis of olivine, spinel and pyroxene separates. Bulk-rock and olivine Fe isotope compositions (δ57Fe) define clear linear correlations with indicators of magmatic differentiation (Mg#, Cr#). The mean Fe isotope compositions of the 2.7-2.4 Ga and 0.089 Ga samples are statistically distinct and this difference can be explained by greater extent of partial melting represented by the older samples and higher mantle ambient temperatures in the Archean and early Proterozoic relative to the present day. Significantly, samples of all ages define continuous positive linear correlations between bulk rock δ57Fe and V/Sc and δ57Fe and V, and between V/Sc and V with TiO2, providing evidence for the incompatible behaviour of V (relative to Sc) and of isotopically heavy Fe. Partial melting models calculated using partition coefficients for V at oxygen fugacities (fO2s) of 0 and + 1 relative to the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer (FMQ) best match the data arrays, which are defined by all samples, from late Archean to Tertiary. These data, therefore, provide evidence for komatiite generation under moderately oxidising conditions since the late Archean, and argue against a change in mantle fO2 concomitant with atmospheric oxygenation at ~ 2.4 Ga.

  9. Carbonate Platform Development and Stromatolite Morphogenesis: Constraints on Environmental and Biological Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grotzinger, John P.

    2003-01-01

    Work has been completed on the digital mapping of a terminal Proterozoic reef complex in Namibia. This complex formed an isolated carbonate platform developed downdip on a carbonate ramp of the Nama Group. The stratigraphic evolution of the platform was digitally reconstructed from an extensive dataset that was compiled by using digital surveying technologies. The platform comprises three accommodation cycles in which each subsequent cycle experienced progressively greater influence of a long-term accommodation increase. Aggradation and progradation during the first cycle resulted in a flat, uniform, sheet-like platform. The coarsening and shallowing-upward sequence representing the first cycle is dominated by columnar stromatolitic thrombolites and massive dolostones with interbedded mudstone-grainstone at the base of the sequence grading into cross-bedded dolostones. The second cycle features aggradation, formation of a distinct margin containing thrombolite mounds and domes, and the development of a bucket geometry. Columnar stromatolitic thrombolites dominate the platform interior. The final stage of platform development shows a deepening trend with initial aggradation and formation of well-bedded, thin deposits in the interior and mound development at the margins. While the interior drowned, the platform margin kept up with rising sea level and a complex pinnacle reef formed containing fused and coalesced thrombolite mounds flanked by bioclastic grainstones (containing Cloudina and Namacalathus fossils) and collapse breccias. A set of isolated large thrombolite mounds flanked by shales indicate the final stage of the carbonate platform. During a progressive increase in accommodation, a flat-topped isolated carbonate platform becomes aerially less extensive by either backstepping or formation of smaller pinnacles or a combination of both. The overall geometric evolution of the studied platform from flat-topped to bucket with elevated margins is recorded in many

  10. Paleo-watertable definition using cave ferromanganese stromatolites and associated cave-wall notches (Sierra de Arnero, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossi, Carlos; Villalaín, Juan J.; Lozano, Rafael P.; Hellstrom, John

    2016-05-01

    The steeply-dipping-dolostone-hosted caves of the Sierra de Arnero (N Spain) contain low-gradient relict canyons with up to ten mapped levels of ferromanganese stromatolites and associated wall notches over a vertical range of 85 m, the highest occurring 460 m above base level. Despite a plausible speleogenetic contribution by pyrite oxidation, and the irregular cave-wall mesomorphologies suggestive of hypogenic speleogenesis, the Arnero relict caves are dominantly epigenic, as indicated by the conduit pattern and the abundant allogenic sediments. Allogenic input declined over time due to a piracy-related decrease in the drainage area of allogenic streams, explaining the large size of the relict Arnero caves relative to the limited present-day outcrop area of the karstified carbonates. Allogenic-sediment input also explains the observed change from watertable canyons to phreatic conduits in the paleo-downstream direction. Stromatolites and notches arguably formed in cave-stream passages at the watertable. The best-defined paleo-watertables show an overall slope of 1.7°, consistent with the present-day relief of the watertable, with higher-slope segments caused by barriers related to sulfide mineralization. The formation of watertable stromatolites favored wall notching by the combined effect of enhanced acidity by Mn-Fe oxidation and shielding of cave floors against erosion. Abrasive bedload further contributed to notch formation by promoting lateral mechanical erosion and protecting passage floors. The irregular wallrock erosional forms of Arnero caves are related partly to paragenesis and partly to the porous nature of the host dolostones, which favored irregular dissolution near passage walls, generating friable halos. Subsequent mechanical erosion contributed to generate spongework patterns. The dolostone porosity also contributes to explain the paradox that virtually all Arnero caves are developed in dolostone despite being less soluble than adjacent

  11. First Archean Zircons Found in Oceanic Crustal Rocks of Mauritius

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashwal, L. D.; Wiedenbeck, M.; Torsvik, T. H.

    2016-12-01

    A fragment of continental crust has been postulated to underlie the young plume-related lavas of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, on both the basis of inversion of gravity anomaly data (crustal thickness) and the recovery of Proterozoic zircons (660-1971 Ma) from basaltic beach sands (Torsvik et al., Nature Geosci. 6, 227, 2013). We recovered 13 zircon grains from a trachyte associated with the Older Series basalts (9.0-4.7 Ma) of Mauritius, the second youngest member of a hot-spot track extending from the active plume site of Réunion. Extreme care was taken to avoid contamination during sample processing. Ten of the 13 grains are featureless, with no internal structures, and SIMS analyses (Cameca 1280-HR instrument) yield 49 spots with Miocene U-Pb systematics and a mean age of 5.7 ± 0.2 Ma (1 sd), constraining the magmatic crystallization age of the trachyte. Three grains with partially resorbed magmatic zoning, partial metamictization and mineral inclusions (quartz, K-feldspar, monazite) show uniquely mid- to late-Archean systematics: 20 spot analyses give concordant to near-concordant ages of 3030 ± 5 Ma to 2766 ± 13 Ma. This suggests that during ascent, the trachytic magmas incorporated silicic continental crustal material that preserves a record of several hundred m.y. of Archean evolution. This is consistent with Sr-Nd isotope systematics of the Mauritian trachytes, which can be modelled as having been contaminated with 0.4-3.5% of ancient granitoid crustal components. Our new age results, combined with the Proterozoic ages of zircons recovered from Mauritian beach sands, are best correlated with continental crust of east-central Madagascar, presently 700 km west of Mauritius, where Archean gneisses and Neoproterozoic intrusive rocks are juxtaposed such that a 2000 km2 area could correspond to a fragment of continent presently underlying Mauritius. This, and other continental fragments formed during Gondwana break-up, may be scattered across the

  12. Decoding mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes in modern atmosphere using cosmogenic 35S: A five-isotope approach and possible implications for Archean sulfur isotope records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, M.; Thiemens, M. H.; Shen, Y.; Zhang, X.; Huang, X.; Chen, K.; Zhang, Z.; Tao, J.

    2017-12-01

    The signature of sulfur isotopic mass-independent fractionation (S-MIF) observed in Archean sediments have been interpreted as a proxy of the origins and evolution of atmospheric oxygen and early life on Earth [1]. Photochemistry of SOx in the short (< 290 nm) wavelength region accounts for much of the Archean record, but the S-MIF widely observed in modern tropospheric sulfate aerosols remains unexplained, indicating embedded uncertainties in interpreting Archean S-MIF records [2]. Here we present combined measurements of cosmogenic 35S (a stratospheric tracer) [3] and all four stable sulfur isotopes in the same modern atmospheric sulfate samples to define the mechanisms. The five-sulfur-isotope approach reveals that an altitude-dependent process (probably SOx photochemistry) mainly contributes to a positive Δ33S and a combustion-related process mainly leads to a negative Δ36S. After eliminating combustion impacts, the obtained Δ36S/Δ33S slope of -4.0 in the modern atmosphere is close to the Δ36S/Δ33S slope (-3.6) in some records from Paleoarchean [4], an era probably with active volcanism [5]. The significant role of volcanic OCS in the Archean atmosphere has been called for in terms of its ability to provide a continual SO2 high altitude source for photolysis [2]. The strong but previously underappreciated stratospheric signature of S-MIF in tropospheric sulfates suggests that a more careful investigation of wavelength-dependent sulfur isotopic fractionation at different altitudes are required. The combustion-induced negative Δ36S may be linked to recombination reactions of elemental sulfur [6], and relevant experiments are being conducted to test the isotope effect. Although combustion is unlikely in Archean, recombination reactions may occur in other previously unappreciated processes such as volcanism and may contribute in part to the heavily depleted 36S in some Paleoarchean records [5,7]. The roles of both photochemical and non

  13. Archean evolution of the Leo Rise and its Eburnean reworking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thiéblemont, Denis; Goujou, Jean Christian; Egal, Emmanuel; Cocherie, Alain; Delor, Claude; Lafon, Jean Michel; Fanning, C. Mark

    2004-06-01

    Recent geological mapping in southeastern Guinea, supported by zircon dating, has called into question traditional understanding concerning the evolution of the Leo Rise. Gneiss dated at about 3540 Ma appears to constitute the earliest evidence for continental accretion within the Leo Rise. The existence of a Leonian depositional cycle at about 3000 Ma is confirmed, marked by volcanic and sedimentary rocks that can be correlated with the Loko Group in Sierra Leone. The span of ages (3244-3050 Ma) suggests that the Leonian cycle comprises different episodes whose respective chronology is as yet uncertain. Clearly distinct from the Leonian cycle, the Liberian cycle (˜2900-2800 Ma) is represented in Guinea by granite and migmatite (˜2910-2800 Ma), reflecting remobilization of the ancient Archean basement and deformation of the Leonian rocks; no deposition is associated with this cycle. After the Liberian, the Nimba and Simandou successions, containing Liberian detrital zircons, are assigned to the Birimian (˜2200-2000 Ma). Finally, Eburnean tectonism caused intense deformation of the Archean craton, accompanied by high-grade metamorphism and the intrusion of granite and syenite with ages between 2080 and 2020 Ma. The evolution of the Kénéma-Man domain, attributed to the cumulated effect of the Leonian and Liberian cycles, is thus in part Eburnean. We can suppose, therefore, that the NNE-SSW-trending structures attributed to the Liberian in Sierra Leone are, in fact, Eburnean. The Kambui Supergroup, also affected by this tectonism, should thus be assigned to the Birimian rather than the Liberian, which would explain its similarities with the Nimba and Simandou successions.

  14. The oldest records of photosynthesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, S. M.

    1992-01-01

    There is diverse, yet controversial fossil evidence for the existence of photosynthesis 3500 million years ago. Among the most persuasive evidence is the stromatolites described from low grade metasedimentary rocks in Western Australia and South Africa. Based on the understanding of the paleobiology of stromatolites and using pertinent fossil and Recent analogs, these Early Archean stromatolites suggest that phototrophs evolved by 3500 million years ago. The evidence allows further interpretation that cyanobacteria were involved. Besides stromatolites, microbial and chemical fossils are also known from the same rock units. Some microfossils morphologically resemble cyanobacteria and thus complement the adduced cyanobacterial involvement in stromatolite construction. If cyanobacteria had evolved by 3500 million years ago, this would indicate that nearly all prokaryotic phyla had already evolved and that prokaryotes diversified rapidly on the early Earth.

  15. Geological and Chemical Factors that Impacted the Biological Utilization of Cobalt in the Archean Eon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Eli K.; Hao, Jihua; Prabhu, Anirudh; Zhong, Hao; Jelen, Ben I.; Meyer, Mike; Hazen, Robert M.; Falkowski, Paul G.

    2018-03-01

    The geosphere and biosphere coevolved and influenced Earth's biological and mineralogical diversity. Changing redox conditions influenced the availability of different transition metals, which are essential components in the active sites of oxidoreductases, proteins that catalyze electron transfer reactions across the tree of life. Despite its relatively low abundance in the environment, cobalt (Co) is a unique metal in biology due to its importance to a wide range of organisms as the metal center of vitamin B12 (aka cobalamin, Cbl). Cbl is vital to multiple methyltransferase enzymes involved in energetically favorable metabolic pathways. It is unclear how Co availability is linked to mineral evolution and weathering processes. Here we examine important biological functions of Co, as well as chemical and geological factors that may have influenced the utilization of Co early in the evolution of life. Only 66 natural minerals are known to contain Co as an essential element. However, Co is incorporated as a minor element in abundant rock-forming minerals, potentially representing a reliable source of Co as a trace element in marine systems due to weathering processes. We developed a mineral weathering model that indicates that dissolved Co was potentially more bioavailable in the Archean ocean under low S conditions than it is today. Mineral weathering, redox chemistry, Co complexation with nitrogen-containing organics, and hydrothermal environments were crucial in the incorporation of Co in primitive metabolic pathways. These chemical and geological characteristics of Co can inform the biological utilization of other trace metals in early forms of life.

  16. Archean geochemistry of formaldehyde and cyanide and the oligomerization of cyanohydrin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arrhenius, T.; Arrhenius, G.; Paplawsky, W.

    1994-01-01

    The sources and speciation of reduced carbon and nitrogen inferred for the early Archean are reviewed in terms of current observations and models, and known chemical reactions. Within this framework hydrogen cyanide and cyanide ion in significant concentration would have been eliminated by reaction with excess formaldehyde to form cyanohydrin (glycolonitrile), and with ferrous ion to formferrocyanide. Natural reactions of these molecules would under such conditions deserve special consideration in modeling of primordial organochemical processes. As a step in this direction, transformation reactions have been investigated involving glycolonitrile in the presence of water. We find that glycolonitrile, formed from formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide or cyanide ion, spontaneously cyclodimerizes to 4-amino-2-hydroxymethyloxazole. The crystalline dimer is the major product at low temperatue (approximately 0 C); the yield diminishes with increasing temperature at the expense of polymerization and hydrolysis products. Hydrolysis of glycolamide and of oxazole yields a number of simpler organic molecules, including ammonia and glycolamide. The spontaneous polymerization of glycolonitrile and its dimer gives rise to soluble, cationic oligomers of as yet unknown structure, and, unless arrested, to a viscous liquid, insoluble in water. A loss of cyanide by reaction with formaldehyde, inferred for the early terrestrial hydrosphere and cryosphere would present a dilemma for hypotheses invoking cyanide and related compounds as concentrated reactants capable of forming biomolecular precursor species. Attempts to escape from its horns may take advantage of the efficient concentration and separation of cyanide as solid ferriferrocyanide, and most directly of reactions of glycolonitrile and its derivatives.

  17. Stromatolitic structures associated with sulfur-bearing limestones from the Miocene (Badenian) of the Carpathian Foredeep (S Poland)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siewicz, Andrzej Gä; Olchowy, Piotr

    2010-05-01

    The Middle Badenian (Miocene) evaporitic unit is widespread in the Miocene of the Carpathian Foredeep (South Poland). The unit is predominated by sulfates (gypsum + anhydrite) and locally in the northern marginal part of the foredeep contains carbonate complexes up to 45 m thick. The carbonate series are lithologically heterogenous and change from clayey and marl interlayers through marly to pure limestones and may be either sulfur-bearing or barren limestones locally intercalated by sulfate beds and layers. The bulk of the limestones consist of more or less calcareous, either non-bedded or bedded, laminated or streaky mudstones. The series is locally intercalated by breccia, rudstone (nodular) and gypsum-ghost facies. A characteristic feature of the carbonate mudstones lithofacies is the presence of variously developed sparse, thin and finely laminated layers and small (up to few centimeters in height) domal forms clearly resembling stromatolitic structures. The laminated layers usually are up to about 20 cm, discontinuous (up to a few tens meters long) and occur in various stratigraphic positions. The structures reveal wavy or flat, thin and subtle lamination consisting of intercalation of discontinuous native sulfur and calcareous laminae. They are lacking of gypsum selenite relics. There are two kinds of laminae: 1) thicker ones composed of finer to coarser crystalline calcite, sometimes with various clay admixtures and 2) thinner, commonly more or less discontinuous composed of subtle, fine crystalline and pure native sulfur. The calcite laminae are commonly barren with microfossils. The native sulfur laminae are commonly re-crystallized but often contain honey-comb like structures and local pockets with variously preserved sulfur microbial remains. The microfossils are poorly preserved and include coccoid and filamentous remains. The microbial structures are locally associated with irregular patches of structureless amorphous material resembling mucilage

  18. Carbon isotope discrepancy between precambrian stromatolites and their modern analogs: Inferences from hypersaline microbial mats of the sinai coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schidlowski, Manfred

    1985-12-01

    The isotopic composition of organic carbon from extant stromatolite-type microbial ecosystems is commonly slanted toward heavy δ13 C values as compared to respective compositions of average organic matter (including that from Precambrian stromatolites). This seems the more enigmatic as the bulk of primary producers from benthic microbial communities are known to fix carbon via the C3 pathway normally entailing the sizable fractionations of the RuBP carboxylase reaction. There is reason to believe that the small fractionations displayed by aquatic microorganisms result from the limitations of a diffusion-controlled assimilatory pathway in which the isotope effect of the enzymatic reaction is largely suppressed. Apart from the diffusion-control exercised by the aqueous environment, transport of CO2 to the photosynthetically active sites will be further impeded by the protective slime (polysaccharide) coatings commonly covering microbial mats in which gas diffusivities are extremely low. Ineffective discrimination against13C becomes, however, most pronounced in hypersaline environments where substantially reduced CO2 solubilities tend to push carbon into the role of a limiting nutrient (brine habitats constitute preferential sanctuaries of mat-forming microbenthos since the emergence of Metazoan grazers ˜ 0.7 Ga ago). As the same microbial communities had been free to colonize normal marine environments during the Precambrian, the CO2 concentration effect was irrelevant to the carbon-fixing pathway of these ancient forms. Therefore, it might not surprise that organic matter from Precambrian stromatolites displays the large fractionations commonly associated with C3 photosynthesis. Increased mixing ratios of CO2 in the Precambrian atmosphere may have additionally contributed to the elimination of the diffusion barrier in the carbon-fixing pathways of ancient mat-forming microbiota.

  19. Carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur geochemistry of Archean and Proterozoic shales from the Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, Yumiko; Naraoka, Hiroshi; Wronkiewicz, David J.; Condie, Kent C.; Ohmoto, Hiroshi

    1997-08-01

    (1983), and from the observations by Simoneit et al. (1981) on natural samples. These evaluations suggest that the magnitudes of δ 13C org increase are much less than those estimated by Hayes et al. (1983) and Des Marais et al. (1992), and only about 2 to 3%‰ for the kerogens that decreased their H/C ratios from 1.5 to less than 0.3. Based on the relationships among sulfide-S contents, organic-C contents, and δ 13C org values, four different types of depositional environments are identified for the Archean and early Proterozoic shales in the Kaapvaal Craton: (I) euxinic marine basins, characterized by normal marine organisms with δ 13C org= -33 ± 3%‰ (II) near-shore, oxic marine environment, characterized by normal marine organisms with δ 13C org = -31 ± 3%‰; (III) hypersaline, low-sulfate lakes, characterized by organisms with δ 13C org= -2 ± 3%‰; and (IV) euxinic, marine basins which supported the activity of methanogenic and methanotrophic bacteria and accumulated organic matter with δ 13C org= -43 ± 3%‰. In contrast to the currently popular model positing a global anoxic ocean prior to ˜2.2 Ga (e.g., Des Marais et al, 1992; Hayes, 1994; Logan et al., 1995), this study suggests that the development of anoxic basins, which accumulated Group II and IV sediments, occurred only regionally and episodically during the period between 3.0 Ga and 2.1 Ga. This further suggests that the normal ocean has been oxic since at least ˜3.0 Ga. Diversifications of environments, as well as of biological species, had already occurred ˜3.0 Ga. The carbon isotope mass balance calculation suggests that the removal rates of organic C and carbonate C from the ocean and the weathering rates of organic C and carbonate C on the continents during the 3.0-2.1 Ga period were basically the same as those in the Phanerozoic era. This would have been possible only if the atmospheric P O 2 level had been basically constant since at least 3.0 Ga. The results of this study

  20. Alteration of submarine volcanic rocks in oxygenated Archean oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohmoto, H.; Bevacqua, D.; Watanabe, Y.

    2009-12-01

    Most submarine volcanic rocks, including basalts in diverging plate boundaries and andesites/dacites in converging plate boundaries, have been altered by low-temperature seawater and/or hydrothermal fluids (up to ~400°C) under deep oceans; the hydrothermal fluids evolved from shallow/deep circulations of seawater through the underlying hot igneous rocks. Volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits (VMSDs) and banded iron formations (BIFs) were formed by mixing of submarine hydrothermal fluids with local seawater. Therefore, the behaviors of various elements, especially of redox-sensitive elements, in altered submarine volcanic rocks, VMSDs and BIFs can be used to decipher the chemical evolution of the oceans and atmosphere. We have investigated the mineralogy and geochemistry of >500 samples of basalts from a 260m-long drill core section of Hole #1 of the Archean Biosphere Drilling Project (ABDP #1) in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. The core section is comprised of ~160 m thick Marble Bar Chert/Jasper Unit (3.46 Ga) and underlying, inter-bedded, and overlying submarine basalts. Losses/gains of 65 elements were quantitatively evaluated on the basis of their concentration ratios against the least mobile elements (Ti, Zr and Nb). We have recognized that mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of many of these samples are essentially the same as those of hydrothermally-altered modern submarine basalts and also those of altered volcanic rocks that underlie Phanerozoic VMSDs. The similarities include, but are not restricted to: (1) the alteration mineralogy (chlorite ± sericite ± pyrophyllite ± carbonates ± hematite ± pyrite ± rutile); (2) the characteristics of whole-rock δ18O and δ34S values; (3) the ranges of depletion and enrichment of Si, Al, Mg, Ca, K, Na, Fe, Mn, and P; (4) the enrichment of Ba (as sulfate); (5) the increases in Fe3+/Fe2+ ratios; (6) the enrichment of U; (7) the depletion of Cr; and (8) the negative Ce anomalies. Literature data

  1. Comparative chronology of Archean HT/UHT crustal metamorphism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caddick, Mark; Dragovic, Besim; Guevara, Victor

    2017-04-01

    Attainment of high crustal heat fluxes and consequent partial melting is critical to the stabilization of continental roots. Understanding the processes and timescales behind partial melting of continental crust in the Archean is thus paramount for understanding Archean tectonic modes and how stable cratons formed. High-temperature (HT) to ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) metamorphic rocks can record evidence for dynamic processes that result in advective heat fluxes and a substantial deviation from normal crustal geothermal gradients. Examination of the pressure-temperature conditions and timescales of HT/UHT metamorphism is thus essential to understanding the tectonic processes behind extreme crust heat fluxes and the formation of stable cratonic crust. Here, utilizing both traditional and nontraditional petrologic and geochronologic techniques, we compare the pressure-temperature-time paths of two Neoarchean terranes: the eastern Beartooth Mountains of the Wyoming Craton and the Pikwitonei Granulite Domain of the Superior Province. The Beartooth Mountains of Montana, USA, expose Archean rocks of the Wyoming Craton that are dominated by an ˜2.8 Ga calc-alkaline granitoid batholith known as the Long Lake Magmatic Complex (LLMC). The LLMC contains widespread, up to km-scale metasedimentary roof pendants, with ID-TIMS Sm-Nd garnet geochronology and laser ablation split stream (LASS) monazite geochronology suggesting that metamorphism occurred almost 100 Ma after entrainment by the LLMC [1]. Phase equilibria modeling and Zr-in-rutile thermometry constrain peak pressures and temperatures of ˜6-7 kbar and ˜780-800˚ C. Major element diffusion modeling of garnet suggest that granulite-facies temperatures were only maintained for a short duration, < 2 Ma. In contrast, the Pikwitonei Granulite Domain consists of >150,000 km2 of high-grade metamorphic rocks situated in the NW Superior Province. Phase equilibria modeling and trace element thermometry constrain peak

  2. Deep-Time drilling in the Australian Archean: the Agouron Institute geobiological drilling project. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buick, R.

    2010-12-01

    The Agouron Institute has sponsored deep-time drilling across the South African Archean-Proterozoic boundary, investigating the rise of oxygen over an onshore-offshore environmental transect. It is now supporting a drilling program in the Australian Archean of the Pilbara Craton, addressing a similar theme but with the added goal of resolving controversy over the age and origin of hydrocarbon biomarker molecules in ancient kerogenous shales. As these have been claimed to provide evidence for the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis long before the rise of atmospheric oxygen to persistently high levels during the ~2.3 Ga “Great Oxidation Event”, their syngenesis with their host shales is thus of critical importance for the interpretation of Earth’s early oxygenation history. During the first drilling season, 3 holes were drilled using techniques and equipment to minimize organic geochemical contamination (new drill-string components cleaned before drilling potentially biomarker-bearing rocks, pre-contamination of drilling fluid with a synthetic organic compound of similar geochemical characteristics to biomarkers, sterile cutting and storage of samples immediately upon retrieval from the core-barrel). The initial hole was a blank control for organic geochemistry, drilled into rocks too metamorphosed to retain biomarker molecules. These rocks, cherts, carbonates and pelites of the 3.52 Ga Coucal Formation, Coonterunah Group, have been metamorphosed to upper greenschist facies at temperatures near 500°C and so should have had any ancient soluble hydrocarbons destroyed. However, because they contain both carbonate and organic carbon, these rocks can instead provide isotopic information about the earliest evolution of biological metabolism as they possess residues of both the reactant and product sides of the carbon-fixation reaction. The second hole sampled an on-shore section of carbonates and kerogenous shales in the ~2.65 Ga Carawine Dolomite and Lewin Shale

  3. Archean Earth Atmosphere Fractal Haze Aggregates: Light Scattering Calculations and the Faint Young Sun Paradox

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boness, D. A.; Terrell-Martinez, B.

    2010-12-01

    As part of an ongoing undergraduate research project of light scattering calculations involving fractal carbonaceous soot aggregates relevant to current anthropogenic and natural sources in Earth's atmosphere, we have read with interest a recent paper [E.T. Wolf and O.B Toon,Science 328, 1266 (2010)] claiming that the Faint Young Sun paradox discussed four decades ago by Carl Sagan and others can be resolved without invoking heavy CO2 concentrations as a greenhouse gas warming the early Earth enough to sustain liquid water and hence allow the origin of life. Wolf and Toon report that a Titan-like Archean Earth haze, with a fractal haze aggregate nature due to nitrogen-methane photochemistry at high altitudes, should block enough UV light to protect the warming greenhouse gas NH3 while allowing enough visible light to reach the surface of the Earth. To test this hypothesis, we have employed a rigorous T-Matrix arbitrary-particle light scattering technique, to avoid the simplifications inherent in Mie-sphere scattering, on haze fractal aggregates at UV and visible wavelenths of incident light. We generate these model aggregates using diffusion-limited cluster aggregation (DLCA) algorithms, which much more closely fit actual haze fractal aggregates than do diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA) algorithms.

  4. Archean foreland basin tectonics in the Witwatersrand, South Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, K.; Kidd, W. S. F.; Kusky, T. M.

    1986-01-01

    The Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa is the best-known of Archean sedimentary basins and contains some of the largest gold reserves in the world. Sediments in the basin include a lower flysch-type sequence and an upper molassic facies, both of which contain abundant silicic volcanic detritus. The strata are thicker and more proximal on the northwestern side of the basin which is, at least locally, bound by thrust faults. These features indicate that the Witwatersrand strata may have been deposited in a foreland basin and a regional geologic synthesis suggests that this basin developed initially on the cratonward side of an Andean-type arc. Remarkably similar Phanerozoic basins may be found in the southern Andes above zones of shallow subduction. It is suggested that the continental collision between the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe Cratons at about 2.7 Ga caused further subsidence and deposition in the Witwatersrand Basin. Regional uplift during this later phase of development placed the basin on the cratonward edge of a collision-related plateau, now represented by the Limpopo Province. Similarities are seen between this phase of Witwatersrand Basin evolution and that of active basins north of the Tibetan Plateau. The geologic evidence does not agree with earlier suggestions that the Witwatersrand strata were deposited in a rift or half-graben.

  5. Generation of felsic crust in the Archean: a geodynamic modeling perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sizova, Elena; Gerya, Taras; Stüwe, Kurt; Brown, Michael

    2015-04-01

    The relevance of contemporary tectonics to the formation of the Archean terrains is a matter of vigorous debate. Higher mantle temperatures and higher radiogenic heat production in the past would have impacted on the thickness and composition of the oceanic and continental crust. As a consequence of secular cooling, there is generally no modern analog to assist in understanding the tectonic style that may have operated in the Archean. For this reason, well-constrained numerical modeling, based on the fragmentary evidence preserved in the geological record, is the most appropriate tool to evaluate hypotheses of Archean crust formation. The main lithology of Archean terrains is the sodic tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) suite. Melting of hydrated basalt at garnet-amphibolite to eclogite facies conditions is considered to be the dominant process for the generation of the Archean TTG crust. Taking into account geochemical signatures of possible mantle contributions to some TTGs, models proposed for the formation of Archean crust include subduction, melting at the bottom of thickened continental crust and fractional crystallization of mantle-derived melts under water-saturated conditions. We evaluated these hypotheses using a 2D coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical model with initial conditions appropriate to the Eoarchean-Mesoarchean. As a result, we identified three tectonic settings in which intermediate to felsic melts are generated by melting of hydrated primitive basaltic crust: 1) delamination and dripping of the lower primitive basaltic crust into the mantle; 2) local thickening of the primitive basaltic crust; and, 3) small-scale crustal overturns. In addition, we consider remelting of the fractionated products derived from underplated dry basalts as an alternative mechanism for the formation of some Archean granitoids. In the context of a stagnant lid tectonic regime which is intermittently terminated by short-lived subduction, we identified

  6. Magnetotelluric survey to locate the Archean/Proterozoic suture zone north of Wells, Nevada

    Williams, Jackie M.; Rodriguez, Brian D.

    2006-01-01

    It is important to know whether major mining districts in the Northern Nevada Gold Province are underlain by rocks of the Archean Wyoming craton, which are known to contain orogenic gold deposits, or by accreted rocks of the Paleoproterozoic Mojave province. It is also important to know the location and orientation of the Archean/Proterozoic suture zone between these provinces as well as major basement structures within these terranes because they may influence subsequent patterns of sedimentation, deformation, magmatism, and hydrothermal activity. The Archean was the main gold-mineralization period, and Archean lode-gold deposits were formed at mid-crustal depths along major shear zones. The nature of the crystalline basement below the Northern Nevada Gold Province and the location of major faults within it are relevant to Rodinian reconstructions, crustal development, and ore deposit models (e.g., Hofstra and Cline, 2000; Grauch and others, 2003). According to Whitmeyer and Karlstrom (2004), the Archean cratons of the northwestern United States and Canada had stabilized as continental lithosphere by 2.5 Ga, and were rifted and assembled into a large continental mass by 1.8 Ga, to which the 1.73-1.68 Ga Mohave province was accreted by 1.65 Ga. The Archean/Proterozoic suture zone has a west-southwest strike where it is exposed (Reed, 1993) at the eastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming border (Cheyenne Belt) where it is characterized by an up to 7-km-thick mylonite zone (Smithson and Boyd, 1998). In the Great Basin, the strike of the Archean/Proterozoic suture zone is poorly constrained because it is largely concealed below a Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic miogeocline and basin fill. East-west and southwest-northeast strikes for the Archean/Proterozoic suture zone have been inferred based on Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic compositions of granitoid intrusions (Tosdal and others, 2000). To better constrain the location and strike of the Archean/Proterozoic suture zone below cover

  7. Paleomagnetism of Hadean and Archean Detrital Zircons from the Jack Hills, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, B. P.; Lima, E. A.; Alexander, E.; Bell, E. A.; Boehnke, P.; Wielicki, M. M.; Harrison, M.; Fu, R. R.; Kehayias, P.; Glenn, D. R.; Walsworth, R. L.; Araujo, J. F. D.; Einsle, J. F.; Harrison, R.; Trail, D.; Watson, E. B.

    2016-12-01

    Determining the history of Earth's dynamo prior to the oldest known well-preserved rock record is one of the ultimate challenges in the field of paleomagnetism. The dynamo's early history has major implications for the evolution of the core, the initiation of plate tectonics, the physics of magnetic field generation, and the habitability of the early Earth. The only known minerals that might retain paleomagnetic records from well before 3.5 billion years ago (Ga) are detrital zircon crystals found in sedimentary rocks in Western Australia. Ranging up to 4.38 Ga in age, they are the oldest known terrestrial minerals. Tarduno et al. (2015) argued that detrital zircons contain records of an active dynamo dating back to 4.2 Ga. However, it has not been demonstrated that the zircons have escaped remagnetization during the intervening time since their formation (Weiss et al. 2016). Therefore, the age of magnetization in the Jack Hills zircons and the existence of a dynamo prior to 3.5 Ga have yet to be established. To address this issue, we have been studying the magnetism and thermal and aqueous alteration histories of single Archean and Hadean Jack Hills zircon crystals. Peak unblocking temperatures combined with electron backscatter diffraction indicate that the zircons contain inclusions of magnetite and hematite. Electron microscopy, X-ray tomography, and quantum diamond magnetometry indicate that much of the iron oxides in the zircons are associated with cracks and are therefore likely secondary. However, our newly developed Li-in-zircon geospeedometry technique shows for the first time that a small fraction of Hadean zircons retain sharp gradients in Li concentration (see figure), indicating they likely have never heated above the magnetite Curie temperature since their formation at >4 Ga. We describe thermal demagnetization and Thellier-Thellier paleointensity studies of these zircons and implications for the existence of a Hadean dynamo.

  8. Possible Microfossils (Warrawoona Group, Towers Formation, Australia, approximately 3.3 - 3.5 Ga)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, P. A.; Wentworth, S. J.; Allen, C. C.; McKay, D. S.

    1998-01-01

    Early in the twentieth century there were reports of Archean stromatolite-like structures that were similar to organic rich stromatolites from the base of the Cambrian (600 m.y.). It was not until the latter half of this century that fossilized Archean-age (3.9-2.5 Ga) life forms were found in the Fig Tree Formation of South Africa and the Towers Formation of Australia. Some of the ancient stromatolites contained streaks and clots of kerogen, pyrite grains, remnants of microbial cells, and filaments that represented various stages of preservation, while others appeared to lack fossils. A set of physical criteria was established for evaluating the biogenicity of these Archean discoveries: (1) rocks of unquestionable Archean age; (2) microfossils indigenous to Archean sediments; and (3) microfossils occurring in clasts that are syngenetic with deposition of the sedimentary unit. In the case of bedded cherts, the fossils should predate the cherts; (4) the microfossils are biogenic; and (5) replicate sampling of the fossil-iferous outcrop firmly demonstrates the provenance of these microfossils. Sample 002 from the Precambrian Paleobiology Research Group (PPRG) was examined. This stromatolitic carbonaceous chert contains microbial remains that meet the established criteria [10]. Using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), we have analyzed the morphologies and chemistry of these possible microbial remains.

  9. Archean recycled oceanic crust sampled in Azores lavas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beguelin, P.; Bizimis, M.; Beier, C.; Turner, S.

    2016-12-01

    Azores lava compositions extend below the mantle array in ɛNd-ɛHf space and define the steepest slope of all plume provinces [1], but this pattern is largely controlled by low ɛHf lavas from Eastern São Miguel island (SM). Here we present new Hf isotope data on well-characterized on-land and submarine Azores lavas from several islands, the Terceira Rift and João do Castro seamount (JdC), in order to further constrain this trend. While Azores lavas fall along the mantle array with relatively steep slopes (e.g. São Jorge slope = 2.1), both SM and JdC fall below the mantle array as two distinct steep arrays with slopes of 2.0 and 2.6 respectively, extending to ɛHf = 0 at ɛNd = 2 (SM) and 4 (JdC). This is a unique feature in OIBs. The new Hf-Nd data overlaps the HIMU-type Mangaia and St Helena compositions. However, SM and JdC have distinctly less radiogenic and more variable Pb isotopes (e.g. 206Pb/204Pb = 18.8 to 20.2) than HIMU. Hf-Nd isotope decoupling below the mantle array is therefore not an exclusive HIMU signature. The coupled Hf-Nd-Pb-Sr isotope compositions of the enriched SM and JdC end-members can be modeled by recycled 2.5-3.0 Ga N-MORB, with some E-MORB affinity for SM. Unlike HIMU however, no Pb-loss during subduction is required for recycled MORB to explain their Pb isotopes. The relatively high κ (232Th/238U 4.3) required by the Azores data is also consistent with a high Th/U Archean mantle [2]. Aged, metasomatised mantle lithosphere based on a global peridotite and pyroxenite compilation is too variable and only fortuitously could explain the Azores compositions. Both enriched JdC and SM endmembers can therefore be explained by a recycled Archean oceanic crust that is locally heterogeneous, as presently observed in some MOR segments where N-and E-MORB exist closely [3, 4]. The lack of mixing between SM and JdC end-members some 100 km apart further implies that this recycled crust has retained its distinct signature through mantle convection

  10. 182W and HSE constraints from 2.7 Ga komatiites on the heterogeneous nature of the Archean mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Puchtel, Igor S.; Blichert-Toft, Janne; Touboul, Mathieu; Walker, Richard J.

    2018-05-01

    While the isotopically heterogeneous nature of the terrestrial mantle has long been established, the origin, scale, and longevity of the heterogeneities for different elements and isotopic systems are still debated. Here, we report Nd, Hf, W, and Os isotopic and highly siderophile element (HSE) abundance data for the Boston Creek komatiitic basalt lava flow (BCF) in the 2.7 Ga Abitibi greenstone belt, Canada. This lava flow is characterized by strong depletions in Al and heavy rare earth elements (REE), enrichments in light REE, and initial ε143Nd = +2.5 ± 0.2 and intial ε176Hf = +4.2 ± 0.9 indicative of derivation from a deep mantle source with time-integrated suprachondritic Sm/Nd and Lu/Hf ratios. The data plot on the terrestrial Nd-Hf array suggesting minimal involvement of early magma ocean processes in the fractionation of lithophile trace elements in the mantle source. This conclusion is supported by a mean μ142Nd = -3.8 ± 2.8 that is unresolvable from terrestrial standards. By contrast, the BCF exhibits a positive 182W anomaly (μ182W = +11.7 ± 4.5), yet is characterized by chondritic initial γ187Os = +0.1 ± 0.3 and low inferred source HSE abundances (35 ± 5% of those estimated for the present-day Bulk Silicate Earth, BSE). Collectively, these characteristics are unique among Archean komatiite systems studied so far. The deficit in the HSE, coupled with the chondritic Os isotopic composition, but a positive 182W anomaly, are best explained by derivation of the parental BCF magma from a mantle domain characterized by a predominance of HSE-deficient, differentiated late accreted material. According to the model presented here, the mantle domain that gave rise to the BCF received only ∼35% of the present-day HSE complement in the BSE before becoming isolated from the rest of the convecting mantle until the time of komatiite emplacement at 2.72 Ga. These new data provide strong evidence for a highly heterogeneous Archean mantle in terms of absolute

  11. Exploring ancient microbial community assemblages by creating complex lipid biomarker profiles for stromatolites and microbial mats in Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myers, E.; Summons, R. E.; Schubotz, F.; Matys, E. D.

    2015-12-01

    Stromatolites that are biogenic in origin, a characteristic that can be determined by the coexistence of microbial mats (active microbial communities) and stromatolites (lithified structures) like in Hamelin Pool, comprise one of the best modern analogs to ancient microbial community assemblages. Comprehensive lipid biomarker profiles that include lipids of varying persistence in the rock record can help determine how previously living microbial communities are represented in lithified stromatolites. To create these profiles, the samples analyzed included non-lithified smooth, pustular, and colloform microbial mats, as well as smooth and colloform stromatolites. Select samples were separated into upper and lower layers of 5cm depth each. Intact polar lipids, glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers, and bacteriohopanepolyols were analyzed via liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) coupled to a Quadropole Time-of-Flight (QTOF) mass spectrometer; additionally, fatty acids from each sample were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to prove consistent signatures with those determined by Allen et al. in 2010 for similar microbial mat samples. In accordance with those findings, 2-methylhopanoids were detected, as well as limited signals from higher (vascular) plants, the latter of which suggests terrestrial inputs, potentially from runoff. The rarely detected presence of 3-methylhopanoids appears in a significant portion of the samples, though further isolations of the molecule are needed to confirm. While all lipid profiles were relatively similar, certain differences in relative composition are likely attributable to morphological differences of the mats, some of which allow deeper oxygen and/or sunlight penetration, which influence the microbial community. However, overall similarities of transient and persistent lipids suggest that the microbial communities of both the non-lithified microbial mats and stromatolites are similar.

  12. Vertical microbial community variability of carbonate-based cones may provide insight into ancient conical stromatolite formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, James; Daille, Leslie; Trivedi, Christopher; Bojanowski, Caitlin; Nunn, Heather; Stamps, Blake; Johnson, Hope; Stevenson, Bradley; Berelson, Will; Corsetti, Frank; Spear, John

    2016-04-01

    Stromatolite morphogenesis is poorly understood, and the process by which microbial mats become mineralized is a primary question in microbialite formation. Ancient conical stromatolites are primarily carbonate-based whereas the few modern analogues in hot springs are either non-mineralized or mineralized by silica. A team from the 2015 International GeoBiology Course investigated carbonate-rich microbial cones from near Little Hot Creek (LHC), Long Valley Caldera, California, to investigate how conical stromatolites might form in a hot spring carbonate system. The cones rise up from a layered microbial mat on the east side of a 45° C pool with very low flow that is super-saturated with respect to CaCO3. Cone structures are 8-30 mm in height, are rigid and do not deform when removed from the pool. Morphological characterization through environmental scanning electronic microscopy revealed that the cone structure is maintained by a matrix of intertwining microbial filaments around carbonate grains. This matrix gives rise to cone-filaments that are arranged vertically or horizontally, and provides further stability to the cone. Preliminary 16S rRNA gene analysis indicated variability of community composition between different vertical levels of the cone. The cone tip had comparatively greater abundance of filamentous cyanobacteria including Leptolingbya, Phormidium and Isosphaera and fewer heterotrophs (e.g. Chloroflexi) compared to the cone bottom. This supports the hypothesis that cone formation may depend on the differential abundance of the microbial community and their potential functional roles. Metagenomic analyses of the cones revealed potential genes related to chemotaxis and motility. Specifically, a genomic bin identified as a member of the genus Isosphaera contained an hmp chemotaxis operon implicated in gliding motility in the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. Isosphaera is a Planctomycete shown to have phototactic capabilities, and may play a role in

  13. The geological record of life 3500 Ma ago: Coping with the rigors of a young earth during late accretion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowe, Donald R.

    1989-01-01

    Thin cherty sedimentary layers within the volcanic portions of the 3,500 to 3,300 Ma-old Onverwacht and Fig Tree Groups, Barberton Greenstone belt, South Africa, and Warrawoona Group, eastern Pilbara Block, Western Australia, contain an abundant record of early Archean life. Five principal types of organic and probably biogenic remains and or structures can be identifed: stromatolites, stromatolite detritus, carbonaceous laminite or flat stromalite, carbonaceous detrital particles, and microfossils. Early Archean stromatolites were reported from both the Barberton and eastern Pilbara greenstone belts. Systematic studies are lacking, but two main morphological types of stromatolites appear to be represented by these occurrences. Morphology of the stromalites is described. Preserved early Archean stromatolites and carbonaceous matter appear to reflect communities of photosynthetic cyanobacteria inhabiting shallow, probably marine environments developed over the surfaces of low-relief, rapidly subsiding, simatic volcanic platforms. The overall environmental and tectonic conditions were those that probably prevailed at Earth's surface since the simatic crust and oceans formed sometime before 3,800 Ma. Recent studies also suggest that these early Archean sequences contain layers of debris formed by large-body impacts on early Earth. If so, then these early bacterial communities had developed strategies for coping with the disruptive effects of possibly globe-encircling high-temperature impact vapor clouds, dust blankets, and impact-generated tsunamis. It is probable that these early Archean biogenic materials represent organic communities that evolved long before the beginning of the preserved geological record and were well adapted to the rigors of life on a young, volcanically active Earth during late bombardment. These conditions may have had parallels on Mars during its early evolution.

  14. Methylhopane Biomarker and Carbon Isotopic Evidence for Late Archean Aerobic Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Freeman, Katherine H.; Summons, Roger E.

    2007-01-01

    Molecular fossils are particularly valuable in early Earth studies because they provide information about microbial sources and ecology. Here we report on the distribution of 2- methyl and 3-methylhopanes preserved in a 2.72-2.56 billion-year-old section of shallow and deepwater sediments of the Hamersley Province [Eigenbrode et aI., submitted]. These biomarkers are mostly from cyanobacteria and oxygen-respiring methanotrophs, respectively. The relative abundance of 2-methylhopanes increases with carbonate abundance in shallow-water facies indicating cyanobacteria were key microbes in shallow ecosystems and suggesting they supplied both molecular oxygen and fixed carbon. The relative abundance of 3-methylhopane strongly correlates with kerogen-carbon isotopic values, and is more abundant in the samples with 13C-enriched signatures. Thus, molecular data provides evidence for cycling of methane in shallow settings, even though the anoxic deeper environments bear stronger 13C-depletion, which together suggests a more complex methane cycle than previously envisioned. Detailed facies analysis of the Hamersley carbon-isotope record reveals temporal changes suggesting continued oxidation of shallow settings favoring the expansion of aerobic ecosystems and respiring organisms [Eigenbrode et aI., 2006, PNAS, 103: 15759]. Similar analysis of published carbon-isotopic records suggests similar, but diachronous, expansion of oxygenated habitats in shallow then deep waters as anaerobic microbial communities gave way to respiring communities fueled by oxygenic photosynthesis before the post 2.45-Ga atmospheric oxygenation event [Eigenbrode et aI., 2006]. The robust relationships observed provide geochemical support for methanogenesis, aerobic methanotrophy, and oxygenic photosynthesis in the late Archean, as well as major ecological shifts linked to biogeochemical reorganization.

  15. Geological Setting of Diamond Drilling for the Archean Biosphere Drilling Project, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickman, A.

    2004-12-01

    The Archean Biosphere Drilling Project (ABDP) is a collaborative international research project conducting systematic (bio)geochemical investigations to improve our understanding of the biosphere of the early Earth. The Pilbara Craton of Western Australia, which includes exceptionally well preserved 3.52 to 2.70 Ga sedimentary sequences, was selected for an innovative sampling program commencing in 2003. To avoid near-surface alteration and contamination effects, sampling was by diamond drilling to depths of between 150 and 300 m, and was located at sites where the target lithologies were least deformed and had lowest metamorphic grade (below 300°C). The first of five successful drilling sites (Jasper Deposit) targeted red, white and black chert in the 3.46 Ga Marble Bar Chert Member. This chert marks the top of a thick mafic-felsic volcanic cycle, the third of four such cycles formed by mantle plumes between 3.52 and 3.43 Ga. The geological setting was a volcanic plateau founded on 3.72 to 3.60 Ga sialic crust (isotopic evidence). The second hole (Salgash) was sited on the basal section of the fourth cycle, and sampled sulfidic (Cu-Zn-Fe), carbon-rich shale and sandstone units separated by flows of peridotite. The third hole (Eastern Creek) was sited on the margin of a moderately deep-water rift basin, the 2.95 to 2.91 Ga Mosquito Creek Basin. This is dominated by turbidites, but the sandstones and carbon-rich shales intersected at the drilling site were deposited in shallower water. The fourth and fifth holes, located 300 km apart, sampled 2.77 to 2.76 Ga continental formations of the Fortescue Group; both holes included black shales.

  16. Magmatism and Tectonics in the Meso-Archean Pongola Supergroup, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Allan

    2013-04-01

    vents is a feature of this uniquely preserved magmatic record. New precise zircon U-Pb ages give an indication that the entire basin formed in a remarkably short period of geological time between 2980 ±10 Ma and 2954 ±9 Ma, although complications arising from inherited zircons cannot be ruled out. While komatiites are not present in the Pongola a sequence of volcaniclastic rocks with well-preserved bombs of picrite composition and contained within a sandy matrix gives rise to a geochemical signature high in Cr and Ni which is the first evidence of an ultramafic component to this succession. Evidence of rapid deposition, a preponderance of intermediate lavas, discordance of bounding (earlier) crustal blocks and consistent structural trends in the area, are similar to features found in continental arc basins currently observed in the south-western USA, and may present an alternative model to those currently accepted for Archean terranes in early-formed cratons.

  17. Geological sulfur isotopes indicate elevated OCS in the Archean atmosphere, solving faint young sun paradox.

    PubMed

    Ueno, Yuichiro; Johnson, Matthew S; Danielache, Sebastian O; Eskebjerg, Carsten; Pandey, Antra; Yoshida, Naohiro

    2009-09-01

    Distributions of sulfur isotopes in geological samples would provide a record of atmospheric composition if the mechanism producing the isotope effects could be described quantitatively. We determined the UV absorption spectra of 32SO2, 33SO2, and 34SO2 and use them to interpret the geological record. The calculated isotopic fractionation factors for SO2 photolysis give mass independent distributions that are highly sensitive to the atmospheric concentrations of O2, O3, CO2, H2O, CS2, NH3, N2O, H2S, OCS, and SO2 itself. Various UV-shielding scenarios are considered and we conclude that the negative Delta33S observed in the Archean sulfate deposits can only be explained by OCS shielding. Of relevant Archean gases, OCS has the unique ability to prevent SO2 photolysis by sunlight at lambda >202 nm. Scenarios run using a photochemical box model show that ppm levels of OCS will accumulate in a CO-rich, reducing Archean atmosphere. The radiative forcing, due to this level of OCS, is able to resolve the faint young sun paradox. Further, the decline of atmospheric OCS may have caused the late Archean glaciation.

  18. Molecular evidence of Late Archean archaea and the presence of a subsurface hydrothermal biosphere

    PubMed Central

    Ventura, Gregory T.; Kenig, Fabien; Reddy, Christopher M.; Schieber, Juergen; Frysinger, Glenn S.; Nelson, Robert K.; Dinel, Etienne; Gaines, Richard B.; Schaeffer, Philippe

    2007-01-01

    Highly cracked and isomerized archaeal lipids and bacterial lipids, structurally changed by thermal stress, are present in solvent extracts of 2,707- to 2,685-million-year-old (Ma) metasedimentary rocks from Timmins, ON, Canada. These lipids appear in conventional gas chromatograms as unresolved complex mixtures and include cyclic and acyclic biphytanes, C36–C39 derivatives of the biphytanes, and C31–C35 extended hopanes. Biphytane and extended hopanes are also found in high-pressure catalytic hydrogenation products released from solvent-extracted sediments, indicating that archaea and bacteria were present in Late Archean sedimentary environments. Postdepositional, hydrothermal gold mineralization and graphite precipitation occurred before metamorphism (≈2,665 Ma). Late Archean metamorphism significantly reduced the kerogen's adsorptive capacity and severely restricted sediment porosity, limiting the potential for post-Archean additions of organic matter to the samples. Argillites exposed to hydrothermal gold mineralization have disproportionately high concentrations of extractable archaeal and bacterial lipids relative to what is releasable from their respective high-pressure catalytic hydrogenation product and what is observed for argillites deposited away from these hydrothermal settings. The addition of these lipids to the sediments likely results from a Late Archean subsurface hydrothermal biosphere of archaea and bacteria. PMID:17726114

  19. Geological sulfur isotopes indicate elevated OCS in the Archean atmosphere, solving faint young sun paradox

    PubMed Central

    Ueno, Yuichiro; Johnson, Matthew S.; Danielache, Sebastian O.; Eskebjerg, Carsten; Pandey, Antra; Yoshida, Naohiro

    2009-01-01

    Distributions of sulfur isotopes in geological samples would provide a record of atmospheric composition if the mechanism producing the isotope effects could be described quantitatively. We determined the UV absorption spectra of 32SO2, 33SO2, and 34SO2 and use them to interpret the geological record. The calculated isotopic fractionation factors for SO2 photolysis give mass independent distributions that are highly sensitive to the atmospheric concentrations of O2, O3, CO2, H2O, CS2, NH3, N2O, H2S, OCS, and SO2 itself. Various UV-shielding scenarios are considered and we conclude that the negative Δ33S observed in the Archean sulfate deposits can only be explained by OCS shielding. Of relevant Archean gases, OCS has the unique ability to prevent SO2 photolysis by sunlight at λ >202 nm. Scenarios run using a photochemical box model show that ppm levels of OCS will accumulate in a CO-rich, reducing Archean atmosphere. The radiative forcing, due to this level of OCS, is able to resolve the faint young sun paradox. Further, the decline of atmospheric OCS may have caused the late Archean glaciation. PMID:19706450

  20. Constraining the location of the Archean--Proterozoic suture in the Great Basin based on magnetotelluric soundings

    Rodriguez, Brian D.; Sampson, Jay A.

    2012-01-01

    It is important to understand whether major mining districts in north-central Nevada are underlain by Archean crust, known to contain major orogenic gold deposits, or, alternatively, by accreted crust of the Paleoproterozoic Mojave province. Determining the location and orientation of the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone between the Archean crust and Mojave province is also critical because it may influence subsequent patterns of sedimentation, deformation, magmatism, and hydrothermal activity. In the Great Basin, the attitude of the suture zone is unknown because it is concealed below cover. A regional magnetotelluric sounding profile along the Utah-Nevada State line reveals a deeply penetrating, broad electrical conductor that may be the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone in the northwest corner of Utah. This major crustal conductor's strike direction is northwest, where it broadens to about 80 km wide below about 3-km depth. These results suggest that the southwestern limit of intact Archean crust in this part of the Great Basin is farther north than previously reported. These results also suggest that the major gold belts in north-central Nevada are located over the Paleoproterozoic Mojave province, and the Archean terrain lies northeast in the northwest corner of Utah. Rifted Archean crust segments south and west of the suture suggest that future mineral exploration northeast of current mineral trends may yield additional gold deposits.

  1. The origin or the Archean Jardine iron formation-hosted lode gold deposit. Montana

    SciT

    Ping, Liu.

    1992-06-09

    While there is considerable controversy concerning the origin of greenstone-hosted lode gold deposits of Archean age, there is a general consensus that these deposits are epigenetic. By contrast, iron formation-hosted lode gold deposits of Archean or Proterozoic age are considered either epigenetic or syngenetic. At least three genetic models have been proposed for these gold deposits: a syngenetic model involving simultaneous deposition of gold and the iron formation; an epigenetic model involving a later introduction of gold, arsenic, and sulfur into the iron formation; and a multistage model involving primary concentration of gold during deposition of iron formation followed bymore » remobilization and reconcentration of gold during later events. The Jardine district is one of only three Archean lode gold districts in the United States that have reserves of greater than 300,000 ounces of gold. The other two are the South Pass-Atlantic City district, Wyoming, and the Ropes mine, Michigan. The fact that two of the three districts are in the Wyoming province suggests that the province might be an Archean gold province similar to Archean provinces in Canada. Placer gold was discovered near Jardine in 1866, and gold quartz veins were mined in the 1880's at Mineral Hill. Exploration by the Jardine Joint Venture has concentrated on the Jardine area, including Crevasse Mountain, where minor lode gold mineralization occurs in quartz-biotite schists. In order to complement previous geochemical, mineralogical, petrological and structural studies, the present study has concentrated on fluid inclusion, stable isotope, and electron microprobe studies with the intention of determining: (1) the source of the ore-forming fluids and gold, and (2) the genetic relationship between gold mineralization and iron formation, alteration and metamorphism.« less

  2. The origin or the Archean Jardine iron formation-hosted lode gold deposit. Montana

    SciT

    Ping, Liu

    1992-06-09

    While there is considerable controversy concerning the origin of greenstone-hosted lode gold deposits of Archean age, there is a general consensus that these deposits are epigenetic. By contrast, iron formation-hosted lode gold deposits of Archean or Proterozoic age are considered either epigenetic or syngenetic. At least three genetic models have been proposed for these gold deposits: a syngenetic model involving simultaneous deposition of gold and the iron formation; an epigenetic model involving a later introduction of gold, arsenic, and sulfur into the iron formation; and a multistage model involving primary concentration of gold during deposition of iron formation followed bymore » remobilization and reconcentration of gold during later events. The Jardine district is one of only three Archean lode gold districts in the United States that have reserves of greater than 300,000 ounces of gold. The other two are the South Pass-Atlantic City district, Wyoming, and the Ropes mine, Michigan. The fact that two of the three districts are in the Wyoming province suggests that the province might be an Archean gold province similar to Archean provinces in Canada. Placer gold was discovered near Jardine in 1866, and gold quartz veins were mined in the 1880`s at Mineral Hill. Exploration by the Jardine Joint Venture has concentrated on the Jardine area, including Crevasse Mountain, where minor lode gold mineralization occurs in quartz-biotite schists. In order to complement previous geochemical, mineralogical, petrological and structural studies, the present study has concentrated on fluid inclusion, stable isotope, and electron microprobe studies with the intention of determining: (1) the source of the ore-forming fluids and gold, and (2) the genetic relationship between gold mineralization and iron formation, alteration and metamorphism.« less

  3. Geochemistry of Archean Mafic Amphibolites from the Amsaga Area, West African Craton, Mauritania: What Is the Message?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Atrassi, F.; Debaille, V.; Mattielli, N. D. C.; Berger, J.

    2014-12-01

    While Archean terrains are mainly composed of a TTG (Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite) suite, more mafic lithologies such as amphibolites are also a typical component of those ancient terrains. Although mafic rocks represent only ~10% of the Archean cratons, they may provide key evidence of the role and nature of basaltic magmatism in the formation of the Archean crust as well as the evolution of the Archean mantle. This study focuses on the Archean crust from the West African Craton in Mauritania (Amsaga area). The Amsaga Archean Crust mainly consists of TTG and thrust-imbricated slices of mafic volcanic rocks, which have been affected by polymetamorphic events from the amphibolite to granulite facies. Our main objectives aim to the identification of the mafic lithology origin and a better understanding of their role in the continental crust emplacement. Our petrological observations show that these amphibolites have fine to medium granoblastic and nematoblastic textures. The amphibolites are dominated by amphibolite-facies mineral assemblages (mainly amphibole and plagioclase), but garnet and clinopyroxene occur in a few samples. Two groups are distinct in their geochemical characteristics (major and trace elements), although both have tholeiitic basalt composition. The first group show LREE-enriched patterns and negative Nb-Ta anomalies. The second group is characterized by near-flat LREE patterns and flat HREE patterns. This second group clearly shows no Nb-Ta anomalies. The first group could be related to arc-like basalts, as it is many similarities with some Archean amphibolites probably formed in a supra-subduction zone, for instance the volcanic rocks from the southern edge of the Isua Supracrustal Belt. On the contrary, the second group has a MORB-like signature which is more unusual during the Archean. Different scenarios will be discussed regards to the Archean geodynamics.

  4. Sulfur mass-independent fractionation during photolysis and photoexcitation of SO2 and CS2 and implications to the source reactions for Archean sulfur isotope anomaly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ono, S.; Whitehill, A. R.; Oduro, H. D.

    2012-12-01

    Signatures of sulfur mass-independent fractionations (S-MIF) in Archean sedimentary rocks provide critical constraints on the atmospheric oxygen level of an early atmosphere and documents fundamental difference in early sulfur biogeochemical cycle from that of today. Archcean sulfide and sulfate minerals often yield correlated relationships among δ34S, Δ33S and Δ36S values. Our goal is to use this S-MIF pattern to pinpoint the S-MIF source reaction(s), and to constrain early atmospheric conditions beyond the oxygen level. Such an effort may lead to a new hypothesis about the cause of the Great Oxidation Event at 2.4 Billion years ago. We will present new results of laboratory photochemical experiments that are designed to calibrate the pattern of S-MIF during the photochemistry of SO2 and CS2 as a function of UV spectrum regions, partial pressure of SO2 and CS2 (0.1 mbar and above) and total N2 pressure (0.25 to 1.0 bar). Both SO2 and CS2 exhibit high energy absorption band (190 to 220 nm) that leads to direct photolysis (SO2 → SO + O or CS2 → CS + S), and low energy band (>240 nm for SO2 and 280 nm for CS2) that excites molecules to low lying electronic states under dissociation thresholds. Broadband UV light sources (Xenon or Deuterium arc lamps) are used in combination with a series of bandpass (200±35 nm), longpass (250 or 280 nm) filters to isolate specific electronic transitions. Excited state SO2 is trapped by acetylene and excited state CS2 polymerizes in the reactor, and are collected for sulfur isotope ratio analysis. Although SO2 photolysis under 190 to 220 nm is thought to be the main Archean S-MIF source reaction, its S-MIF is characterized by high δ34S values (up to 140 ‰) and relatively low Δ36S/Δ33S values (-3.3 to -5.9) compared to Archean data (-0.9 to -1.5). Strong pSO2 dependence suggests S-MIF is primarily due to isotopologue self-shielding at least under our experimental conditions. In contrast, SO2 photoexciation under >250 nm

  5. Structural development of high-temperature mylonites in the Archean Wyoming province, northwestern Madison Range, Montana

    Kellogg, Karl S.; Mogk, David W.

    2009-01-01

    The Crooked Creek mylonite, in the northwestern Madison Range, southwestern Montana, is defined by several curved lenses of high non-coaxial strain exposed over a 7-km-wide, northeast-trending strip. The country rocks, part of the Archean Wyoming province, are dominantly trondhjemitic to granitic orthogneiss with subordinate amphibolite, quartzite, aluminous gneiss, and sills of metabasite (mafic granulite). Data presented here support an interpretation that the mylonite formed during a period of rapid, heterogeneous strain at near-peak metamorphic conditions during an early deformational event (D1) caused by northwest–southeast-directed transpression. The mylonite has a well-developed L-S tectonite fabric and a fine-grained, recrystallized (granoblastic) texture. The strong linear fabric, interpreted as the stretching direction, is defined by elongate compositional “fish,” fold axes, aligned elongate minerals, and mullion axes. The margins of the mylonitic zones are concordant with and grade into regions of unmylonitized gneiss. A second deformational event (D2) has folded the mylonite surface to produce meter- to kilometer-scale, tight-to-isoclinal, gently plunging folds in both the mylonite and country rock, and represents a northwest–southeast shortening event. Planar or linear fabrics associated with D2 are remarkably absent. A third regional deformational event (D3) produced open, kilometer-scale folds generally with gently north-plunging fold axes. Thermobarometric measurements presented here indicate that metamorphic conditions during D1 were the same in both the mylonite and the country gneiss, reaching upper amphibolite- to lower granulite-facies conditions: 700 ± 50° C and 8.5 ± 0.5 kb. Previous geochronological studies of mylonitic and cross-cutting rocks in the Jerome Rock Lake area, east of the Crooked Creek mylonite, bracket the timing of this high-grade metamorphism and mylonitization between 2.78 and 2.56 Ga, nearly a billion years

  6. Structural development of an Archean Orogen, Western Point Lake, Northwest Territories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kusky, Timothy M.

    1991-08-01

    The Point Lake orogen in the central Archean Slave Province of northwestern Canada preserves more than 10 km of structural relief through an eroded antiformal thrust stack and deeper anastomosing midcrustal mylonites. Fault restoration along a 25 km long transect requires a minimum of 69 km slip and 53 km horizontal shortening. In the western part of the orogen the basal decollement places mafic plutonic/volcanic rocks over an ancient tonalitic gneiss complex. Ten kilometers to the east in the Keskarrah Bay area, slices of gneiss unroofed on brittle thrusts shed molasse into several submerged basins. Conglomerates and associated thinly bedded sedimentary rocks are interpreted as channel, levee, and overbank facies of this thrust-related sedimentary fan system. The synorogenic erosion surface at the base of the conglomerate truncates premetamorphic or early metamorphic thrust faults formed during foreland propagation, while other thrusts related to hinterland-progressing imbrication displace this unconformity. Tightening of synorogenic depositional troughs resulted in the conglomerates' present localization in synclines to the west of associated thrust faults and steepening of structural dips. Eastern parts of the orogen consist of isoclinally folded graywackes composed largely of Mutti and Ricci-Lucchi turbidite facies B, C, and D, interpreted as submarine fan deposits eroded from a distant volcanic arc. Thrust faults in the metasedimentary terrane include highly disrupted slate horizons with meter-scale duplex structures, and recrystallized calcmylonites exhibiting sheath folds and boudin trains with very large interboudin distances. The sequence of fabric development and the overall geometry of this metasedimentary terrane strongly resembles younger forearc accretionary prisms. Conditions of deformation along the thrusts parallel the regional metamorphic zonation: amphibolite facies in the basal decollement through greenschist facies shear zones to cataclastic

  7. A model for late Archean chemical weathering and world average river water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hao, Jihua; Sverjensky, Dimitri A.; Hazen, Robert M.

    2017-01-01

    Interpretations of the geologic record of late Archean near-surface environments depend very strongly on an understanding of weathering and resultant riverine transport to the oceans. The late Archean atmosphere is widely recognized to be anoxic (pO2,g =10-5 to 10-13 bars; pH2,g =10-3 to 10-5 bars). Detrital siderite (FeCO3), pyrite (FeS2), and uraninite (UO2) in late Archean sedimentary rocks also suggest anoxic conditions. However, whether the observed detrital minerals could have been thermodynamically stable during weathering and riverine transport under such an atmosphere remains untested. Similarly, interpretations of fluctuations recorded by trace metals and isotopes are hampered by a lack of knowledge of the chemical linkages between the atmosphere, weathering, riverine transport, and the mineralogical record. In this study, we used theoretical reaction path models to simulate the chemistry involved in rainwater and weathering processes under present-day and hypothetical Archean atmospheric boundary conditions. We included new estimates of the thermodynamic properties of Fe(II)-smectites as well as smectite and calcite solid solutions. Simulation of present-day weathering of basalt + calcite by world-average rainwater produced hematite, kaolinite, Na-Mg-saponite, and chalcedony after 10-4 moles of reactant minerals kg-1 H2O were destroyed. Combination of the resultant water chemistry with results for granitic weathering produced a water composition comparable to present-day world average river water (WARW). In contrast, under late Archean atmospheric conditions (pCO2,g =10-1.5 and pH2,g =10-5.0 bars), weathering of olivine basalt + calcite to the same degree of reaction produced kaolinite, chalcedony, and Na-Fe(II)-rich-saponite. Late Archean weathering of tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) formed Fe(II)-rich beidellite and chalcedony. Combining the waters from olivine basalt and TTG weathering resulted in a model for late Archean WARW with the

  8. Fiskenaesset Anorthosite Complex: Stable isotope evidence for shallow emplacement into Archean ocean crust

    SciT

    Peck, W.H.; Valley, J.W.

    1996-06-01

    Oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios indicate that unusual rocks at the upper contact of the Archean Fiskenaesset Anorthosite Complex at Fiskenaesset Harbor (southwest Greenland) are the products of hydrothermal alteration by seawater at the time of anorthosite intrusion. Subsequent granulite-facies metamorphism of these Ca-poor and Al- and Mg-rich rocks produced sapphirine- and kornerupine-bearing assemblages. Because large amounts of surface waters cannot penetrate to depths of 30 km during granulite-facies metamorphism, the isotopic signature of the contact rocks must have been obtained prior to regional metamorphism. The stable isotope and geochemical characteristics of the contact rocks support a model of shallowmore » emplacement into Archean ocean crust for the Fiskenaesset Anorthosite Complex. 45 refs., 3 figs., 2 tabs.« less

  9. The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth

    PubMed Central

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Wolf, Eric T.; Schwieterman, Edward; Charnay, Benjamin; Claire, Mark; Hébrard, Eric; Trainer, Melissa G.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Recognizing whether a planet can support life is a primary goal of future exoplanet spectral characterization missions, but past research on habitability assessment has largely ignored the vastly different conditions that have existed in our planet's long habitable history. This study presents simulations of a habitable yet dramatically different phase of Earth's history, when the atmosphere contained a Titan-like, organic-rich haze. Prior work has claimed a haze-rich Archean Earth (3.8–2.5 billion years ago) would be frozen due to the haze's cooling effects. However, no previous studies have self-consistently taken into account climate, photochemistry, and fractal hazes. Here, we demonstrate using coupled climate-photochemical-microphysical simulations that hazes can cool the planet's surface by about 20 K, but habitable conditions with liquid surface water could be maintained with a relatively thick haze layer (τ ∼ 5 at 200 nm) even with the fainter young Sun. We find that optically thicker hazes are self-limiting due to their self-shielding properties, preventing catastrophic cooling of the planet. Hazes may even enhance planetary habitability through UV shielding, reducing surface UV flux by about 97% compared to a haze-free planet and potentially allowing survival of land-based organisms 2.7–2.6 billion years ago. The broad UV absorption signature produced by this haze may be visible across interstellar distances, allowing characterization of similar hazy exoplanets. The haze in Archean Earth's atmosphere was strongly dependent on biologically produced methane, and we propose that hydrocarbon haze may be a novel type of spectral biosignature on planets with substantial levels of CO2. Hazy Archean Earth is the most alien world for which we have geochemical constraints on environmental conditions, providing a useful analogue for similar habitable, anoxic exoplanets. Key Words: Haze—Archean Earth

  10. The transition from an Archean granite-greenstone terrain into a charnockite terrain in southern India

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Condie, K. C.; Allen, P.

    1983-01-01

    In southern India, it is possible to study the transition from an Archean granite-greenstone terrain (the Karnataka province) into high grade charnockites. The transition occurs over an outcrop width of 20-35 km and appears to represent burial depths ranging from 15 to 20 km. Field and geochemical studies indicate that the charnockites developed at the expense of tonalites, granites, and greenstones. South of the transition zone, geobarometer studies indicate burial depths of 7-9 kb.

  11. The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth.

    PubMed

    Arney, Giada; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D; Meadows, Victoria S; Wolf, Eric T; Schwieterman, Edward; Charnay, Benjamin; Claire, Mark; Hébrard, Eric; Trainer, Melissa G

    2016-11-01

    Recognizing whether a planet can support life is a primary goal of future exoplanet spectral characterization missions, but past research on habitability assessment has largely ignored the vastly different conditions that have existed in our planet's long habitable history. This study presents simulations of a habitable yet dramatically different phase of Earth's history, when the atmosphere contained a Titan-like, organic-rich haze. Prior work has claimed a haze-rich Archean Earth (3.8-2.5 billion years ago) would be frozen due to the haze's cooling effects. However, no previous studies have self-consistently taken into account climate, photochemistry, and fractal hazes. Here, we demonstrate using coupled climate-photochemical-microphysical simulations that hazes can cool the planet's surface by about 20 K, but habitable conditions with liquid surface water could be maintained with a relatively thick haze layer (τ ∼ 5 at 200 nm) even with the fainter young Sun. We find that optically thicker hazes are self-limiting due to their self-shielding properties, preventing catastrophic cooling of the planet. Hazes may even enhance planetary habitability through UV shielding, reducing surface UV flux by about 97% compared to a haze-free planet and potentially allowing survival of land-based organisms 2.7-2.6 billion years ago. The broad UV absorption signature produced by this haze may be visible across interstellar distances, allowing characterization of similar hazy exoplanets. The haze in Archean Earth's atmosphere was strongly dependent on biologically produced methane, and we propose that hydrocarbon haze may be a novel type of spectral biosignature on planets with substantial levels of CO 2 . Hazy Archean Earth is the most alien world for which we have geochemical constraints on environmental conditions, providing a useful analogue for similar habitable, anoxic exoplanets. Key Words: Haze-Archean Earth-Exoplanets-Spectra-Biosignatures-Planetary habitability

  12. Experimentally Determined Emplacement Conditions of the Ultra-Depleted Komatiites of Commondale, South Africa: More wet Archean Komatiites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barr, J. A.; Grove, T. L.; Wilson, A. H.; Singh, R.

    2005-12-01

    This study examines the emplacement conditions of the 3.33 Ga ultramafic suite from Commondale, South Africa. With a parental liquid Mg# of 0.91, Al2O3 wt% / TiO2 wt% of 80, and SiO2 content of 49.7wt%, the suite of magmas represent some of the most compositionally distinct examples of Archean komatiites yet identified (Wilson, Nature 2003, 423, 858). The well-preserved lavas contain spinifex zones, cumulate zones and well preserved chill margins. Orthopyroxene is present in both spinifex and cumulate zones; another unique characteristic of these komatiites. Phase equilibrium experiments performed under anhydrous conditions at 0.1 MPa (1 bar) indicate an olivine liquidus temperature of 1540°C. A very low-Ca pyroxene (protoenstatite) joins olivine as a crystallizing phase at 1335°C. Despite the late appearance of this initial pyroxene, the Mg# is 0.95. In the Commondale lavas, orthopyroxene is present in the cores of unaltered pyroxene grains. These natural pyroxenes are less primitive, with the average natural pyroxene having an Mg# of 0.88. The minor element compositions of the 1-atm experimental pyroxenes also do not match those from the natural samples, with Al2O3 being 1.00 wt% in the 1-atm pyroxenes compared to 2.85 wt% for the natural samples. Preliminary experiments under water saturated conditions at 200 MPa (2 kbar) indicate that the appearance of pyroxene is suppressed by >200°C, similar to the behavior seen in Barberton komatiite experiments (Parman, EPSL 1997, 150, 323). This serves to stabilize orthopyroxene, decrease the initial Mg#, and increase the amount of Al2O3 present in the equilibrium crystals, causing them to better mimic the composition of natural samples. The initial liquid composition, under water saturated conditions, would have contained >5.0 wt% H2O. Thus, mineral chemistry supports a high H2O content and hydrous melting origin for these Early Archean komatiites.

  13. Controls on the Archean climate system investigated with a global climate model.

    PubMed

    Wolf, E T; Toon, O B

    2014-03-01

    The most obvious means of resolving the faint young Sun paradox is to invoke large quantities of greenhouse gases, namely, CO2 and CH4. However, numerous changes to the Archean climate system have been suggested that may have yielded additional warming, thus easing the required greenhouse gas burden. Here, we use a three-dimensional climate model to examine some of the factors that controlled Archean climate. We examine changes to Earth's rotation rate, surface albedo, cloud properties, and total atmospheric pressure following proposals from the recent literature. While the effects of increased planetary rotation rate on surface temperature are insignificant, plausible changes to the surface albedo, cloud droplet number concentrations, and atmospheric nitrogen inventory may each impart global mean warming of 3-7 K. While none of these changes present a singular solution to the faint young Sun paradox, a combination can have a large impact on climate. Global mean surface temperatures at or above 288 K could easily have been maintained throughout the entirety of the Archean if plausible changes to clouds, surface albedo, and nitrogen content occurred.

  14. Were kinetics of Archean calcium carbonate precipitation related to oxygen concentration?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sumner, D. Y.; Grotzinger, J. P.

    1996-01-01

    Archean carbonates commonly contain decimetre- to metre-thick beds consisting entirely of fibrous calcite and neomorphosed fibrous aragonite that precipitated in situ on the sea floor. The fact that such thick accumulations of precipitated carbonate are rare in younger marine carbonates suggests an important change in the modes of calcium carbonate precipitation through time. Kinetics of carbonate precipitation depend on the concentration of inhibitors to precipitation that reduce crystallization rates and crystal nuclei formation, leading to kinetic maintenance of supersaturated solutions. Inhibitors also affect carbonate textures by limiting micrite precipitation and promoting growth of older carbonate crystals on the sea floor. Fe2+, a strong calcite-precipitation inhibitor, is thought to have been present at relatively high concentrations in Archean seawater because oxygen concentrations were low. The rise in oxygen concentration at 2.2-1.9 Ga led to the removal of Fe2+ from seawater and resulted in a shift from Archean facies, which commonly include precipitated beds, to Proterozoic facies, which contain more micritic sediment and only rare precipitated beds.

  15. Geochemistry of Precambrian carbonates: 3-shelf seas and non-marine environments of the Archean

    SciT

    Veizer, J.; Clayton, R.N.; Hinton, R.W.

    1990-10-01

    A comprehensive whole-rock study of mineralogical, chemical, and isotopic attributes of Archean carbonates suggests that their lithologies and facies have been controlled by tectonic setting. In the first two papers of this series they have shown that the dominant lithology of sedimentary carbonates in greenstone belt settings is limestone. In this paper the authors suggest that the Archean shelf sequences are mostly dolostone, and the contemporaneous lacustrine playa lakes are characterized by limestone facies. The present study is of the shelf environments of the Archean, represented by the Pongola Supergroup of South Africa and the Hamersley Group of Australia. Themore » lacustrine playa examples have been sampled from the Ventersdorp Supergroup of South Africa and the Fortescue Group of Australia. Geological, trace element, and oxygen isotope considerations of the shelf carbonates suggest that their original mineralogy may have been aragonite and that the Pongola dolostones probably represent a direct dolomitization product of this precursor. In contrast, the stabilization of the Hamersley carbonates may have involved an additional step of transformation of a metastable precursor into limestone prior to dolomitization.« less

  16. Sm-Nd isotopic data from Archean metavolcanic rocks at Holenarsipur, South India

    SciT

    Drury, S.A.; Van Calsteren, P.C.; Reeves-Smith, G.J.

    1987-11-01

    Results of a Sm-Nd isotopic analysis of Archean metavolcanics in the Holenarsipur greenstone belt, Karnataka, South India, give a whole-rock isochron age of 2.62 Ga for lightly deformed metabasaltic amphibolites in the northern part of the belt. This is within error of the age of high-grade metamorphism and crustal thickening which affected areas further to the south during the late Archean. Together with the geochemical affinities of these and other metavolcanics in Karnataka, and results of regional structural analysis, this unexpected age supports a model relating volcanism and crustal thickening to northward subduction and crustal accretion during the late Archean.more » Data from basic and ultrabasic metavolcanics from the more strongly deformed and higher-grade southern arm of the Holenarsipur belt do not permit an age greater than 3.0 Ga. Previously, these rocks were regarded as part of an older supracrustal sequence that predated the local 3.0 to 3.3 Ga gneissic complex. The new dates therefore considerably simplify attempts at accounting for greenstone evolution in South India.« less

  17. 2.9-1.9 Ga paleoalterations of Archean granitic basement of the Franceville basin (Gabon)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mouélé, Idalina Moubiya; Dudoignon, Patrick; El Albani, Abderrazak; Meunier, Alain; Boulvais, Philippe; Gauthier-Lafaye, François; Paquette, Jean-Louis; Martin, Hervé; Cuney, Michel

    2014-09-01

    The Archean granitoids in the Kiéné area, Gabon, are overlained by the Paleoproterozoic sediments of the Franceville basin (2.1 Ga). The basin is known for its high-grade uranium deposits among which some have been forming natural nuclear fission reactors. Most of the studies were dedicated to the FA-FB Paleoproterozoic sediments hosting these uranium deposits. Little is known on the Archean basement itself and specifically on the hydrous alteration events it experienced before and after the sediment deposition. The present work is focused on their petrographical, mineralogical and geochemical characterization. Dating the successive alteration events has been attempted on altered monazite crystals. Rocks in different alteration states have been sampled from eight drill cores crosscutting the Archean - Paleoproterozoic unconformity. The Archean granitoids observed in the deepest levels exhibit typical petrographical features of a propylitic alteration while they are intensely illitized up to the unconformity. The propylitic alteration is mainly pervasive but the original texture of the granitoïds is conserved in spite of the formation of new minerals: Mg-chlorite, allanite and epidote forming a typical paragenesis. The illitic alteration is much more invasive near the unconformity. The illitization process leads to the replacement of feldspars and the corrosion of quartz crysals by an illitic matrix while the ferromagnesian minerals are pseudomorphosed by a Fe-chlorite + phengite + hematite assemblage. The final fluid-rock interaction step is marked by fissural deposits of calcite and anhydrite. The δ13C isotopic data show that the fissural carbonates precipitated from diagenetic fluids enriched carbon products deriving from the maturation of organic matter. The U-Pb isotopic analyzes performed on monazite crystals have dated three distinct events: 3.0-2.9 Ga (magmatic), 2.6 Ga (propylitic alteration) and 1.9 Ga (diagenetic illitization). The calculation of

  18. 187Os-enriched domain in an Archean mantle plume: evidence from 2.8 Ga komatiites of the Kostomuksha greenstone belt, NW Baltic Shield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Puchtel, Igor S.; Brügmann, Gerhard E.; Hofmann, Albrecht W.

    2001-04-01

    The Re-Os data on Archean komatiites from the Kostomuksha greenstone belt in the Baltic Shield are presented. This greenstone belt has been previously interpreted to represent a former oceanic plateau formed by the emplacement of an ancient plume head [Puchtel et al., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 155 (1998) 57-74]. Samples of flowtop breccia, spinifex-textured and cumulate komatiites and a chromite separate, all collected from the core of a 300 m deep diamond drill hole, yielded a Re-Os isochron with an age of 2795±40 Ma and an initial 187Os/188Os of 0.1117±0.0011 (γ187Os=+3.6±1.0). The high positive γ187Os(T) implies that the komatiites were derived from a mantle source with a time-integrated suprachondritic Re/Os ratio. Recycling of oceanic lithosphere to produce the enriched 187Os isotope signature is considered unlikely, as 15-25% crustal component is required to be incorporated into the plume source as early as 3.5-4.3 Ga. Such a substantial proportion of mafic material in the source would likely destroy the major and trace element characteristics of the komatiites. Our tentative interpretation is that the 187Os-enrichment in the Kostomuksha plume represents an outer core signature. If confirmed by the ongoing Pt-Os isotope studies, the results would provide evidence for the existence of whole-mantle convection in the late Archean, and might place constraints on the timing of core differentiation in the early Earth.

  19. Hopanoid Biomarker Preservation In Coniform (Phormidium) Stromatolites in Siliceous Thermal Springs, Yellowstone National Park

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahnke, Linda L.; Summons, Roger E.; Farmer, Jack D.; Klein, Harold P.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The microbial communities that characterize modem hydrothermal ecosystems serve as modern analogs to those thought to have dominated early environments on Earth and possibly Mars. The importance of such hydrothermal systems as targets in exploring for an early biosphere on Mars is well established. Such work provides an important basis for the analysis of Martian samples associated with such environments. The surviving molecular structure and isotopic signature of diagnostic lipid biomarkers found as chemical fossils can provide a link between modern bacterially dominated ecosystems and their ancient counterparts. We are interested in the processes involved in the deposition and/or degradation of organic material in moderately thermal, silicifying microbial mats, particularly as this relates to the potential for preservation of some biomarker components known to be more highly resistant to microbial degradation. Several excellent biomarker molecules are associated with the cyanobacteria that dominate these mats, particularly the 2-methylbacteriohopanepolyols (2-MeBHP). These compounds are ubiquitous on Earth and are not easily degraded in nature, a fact documented by their detection in ancient Earth rocks dating back as far as 2,700 Ma.

  20. EPR study of thermally treated Archean microbial mats analogues and comparison with Archean cherts: towards a possible marker of oxygenic photosynthesis?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bourbin, M.; Derenne, S.; Westall, F.; Gourier, D.; Gautret, P.; Rouzaud, J.-N.; Robert, F.

    2012-04-01

    The datation of photosynthesis apparition remains an open question nowadays: did oxygenic photosynthesis appear just before the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) of the atmosphere, 2.3 to 2.4 Gyr ago, or does it originate much earlier? It is therefore of uttermost interest to find markers of oxygenic photosynthesis, applicable to samples of archean age. In order to handle this problem, Microcoleus Chtonoplastes cyanobacteria and Chloroflexus-like non-oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, were studied using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, a high sensitivity technique for the study of organic radicals in mature geological samples (coals, cherts, meteorites...). M. chtonoplastes and Chloroflexus-like bacteria were sampled in mats from the hypersaline lake "La Salada de Chiprana" (Spain), an analogue to an Archean environment, and were submitted to accelerated ageing through cumulative thermal treatments. For thermal treatment temperatures higher than 620° C, a drastic increase in the EPR linewidth of the oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria (M. chtonoplastes) occurred, as compared with the anoxygenic photosynthetic one (Chloroflexus-like). The EPR study of a thermally treated mixture of the two bacteria evidences that this linewidth increase is driven by catalytic reaction at high temperatures on an element selectively fixed by M. chtonoplastes. Based on comparative EDS analyses, Mg is a potential candidate for this catalytic activity but its precise role and the nature of the reaction are still to be determined. The EPR study of organic radicals in chert rocks of ages ranging from 0.42 to 3.5 Gyr, from various localities and that underwent various metamorphisms, revealed a dispersion of the signal width for the most mature samples. This comparative approach between modern bacterial samples and Precambrian cherts leads to propose the EPR linewidth of mature organic matter in cherts as a potential marker of oxygenic photosynthesis. If confirmed, this marker

  1. Rhenium-osmium isotopes and highly siderophile elements in ultramafic rocks from the Eoarchean Saglek Block, northern Labrador, Canada: implications for Archean mantle evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishikawa, Akira; Suzuki, Katsuhiko; Collerson, Kenneth D.; Liu, Jingao; Pearson, D. Graham; Komiya, Tsuyoshi

    2017-11-01

    We determined highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re) concentrations and 187Os/188Os ratios for ultramafic rocks distributed over the Eoarchean gneiss complex of the Saglek-Hebron area in northern Labrador, Canada in order to constrain to what extent variations in HSE abundances are recorded in Early Archean mantle that have well-resolved 182W isotope anomalies relative to the present-day mantle (∼+11 ppm: Liu et al., 2016). The samples analysed here have been previously classified into two suites: mantle-derived peridotites occurring as tectonically-emplaced slivers of lithospheric mantle, and metakomatiites comprising mostly pyroxenitic layers in supracrustal units dominated by amphibolites. Although previous Sm-Nd and Pb-Pb isotope studies provided whole-rock isochrons indicative of ∼3.8 Ga protolith formation for both suites, our whole-rock Re-Os isotope data on a similar set of samples yield considerably younger errorchrons with ages of 3612 ± 130 Ma (MSWD = 40) and 3096 ± 170 Ma (MSWD = 10.2) for the metakomatiite and lithospheric mantle suites, respectively. The respective initial 187Os/188Os = 0.10200 ± 18 for metakomatiites and 0.1041 ± 18 for lithospheric mantle rocks are within the range of chondrites. Re-depletion Os model ages for unradiogenic samples from the two suites are consistent with the respective Re-Os errorchrons (metakomatiite TRD = 3.4-3.6 Ga; lithospheric mantle TRD = 2.8-3.3 Ga). These observations suggest that the two ultramafic suites are not coeval. However, the estimated mantle sources for the two ultramafics suites are similar in terms of their broadly chondritic evolution of 187Os/188Os and their relative HSE patterns. In detail, both mantle sources show a small excess of Ru/Ir similar to that in modern primitive mantle, but a ∼20% deficit in absolute HSE abundances relative to that in modern primitive mantle (metakomatiite 74 ± 18% of PUM; lithospheric mantle 82 ± 10% of PUM), consistent with the

  2. Leucogranites of the Teton Range, Wyoming: A record of Archean collisional orogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frost, Carol D.; Swapp, Susan M.; Frost, B. Ronald; Finley-Blasi, Lee; Fitz-Gerald, D. Braden

    2016-07-01

    Leucogranitic rocks formed by crustal melting are a prominent feature of collisional orogens of all ages. This study describes leucogranitic gneisses associated with an Archean collisional orogeny preserved in the Teton Range of northwestern Wyoming, USA. These leucogneisses formed at 2.68 Ga, and initial Nd isotopic compositions suggest they are derived from relatively juvenile sources. Two distinct groups of leucogneisses, both trondhjemitic, are identified on the basis of field relations, petrology, and geochemistry. The Webb Canyon gneiss forms large, sheet-like bodies of hornblende biotite trondhjemite and granodiorite. This gneiss is silica-rich (SiO2 = 70-80%), strongly ferroan, comparatively low in alumina, and is characterized by high Zr and Y, low Sr, and high REE contents that define ;seagull;-shaped REE patterns. The Bitch Creek gneiss forms small sills, dikes, and plutons of biotite trondhjemite. Silica, Zr, Y, and REE are lower and alumina and Sr are higher than in the Webb Canyon gneiss. These differences reflect different melting conditions: the Webb Canyon gneiss formed by dehydration melting in which amphibole and quartz breaks down, accounting for the low alumina, high FeO, high silica content and observed trace element characteristics. The Bitch Creek gneiss formed by H2O-excess melting in which plagioclase breaks down leaving an amphibole-rich restite, producing magmas higher in alumina and Sr and lower in FeO and HREE. Both melt mechanisms are expected in collisional environments: dehydration melting accompanies gravitational collapse and tectonic extension of dramatically thickened crust, and water-excess melting may occur when collision places a relatively cool, hydrous lower plate beneath a hotter upper plate. The Archean leucogranitic gneisses of the Teton Range are calcic trondhjemites and granodiorites whereas younger collisional leucogranites typically are true granites. The difference in leucogranite composition reflects the

  3. The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arney, Giada; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Wolf, Eric T.; Schwieterman, Edward; Charnay, Benjamin; Claire, Mark; Hébrard, Eric; Trainer, Melissa G.

    2016-11-01

    Recognizing whether a planet can support life is a primary goal of future exoplanet spectral characterization missions, but past research on habitability assessment has largely ignored the vastly different conditions that have existed in our planet's long habitable history. This study presents simulations of a habitable yet dramatically different phase of Earth's history, when the atmosphere contained a Titan-like, organic-rich haze. Prior work has claimed a haze-rich Archean Earth (3.8-2.5 billion years ago) would be frozen due to the haze's cooling effects. However, no previous studies have self-consistently taken into account climate, photochemistry, and fractal hazes. Here, we demonstrate using coupled climate-photochemical-microphysical simulations that hazes can cool the planet's surface by about 20 K, but habitable conditions with liquid surface water could be maintained with a relatively thick haze layer (τ ˜ 5 at 200 nm) even with the fainter young Sun. We find that optically thicker hazes are self-limiting due to their self-shielding properties, preventing catastrophic cooling of the planet. Hazes may even enhance planetary habitability through UV shielding, reducing surface UV flux by about 97% compared to a haze-free planet and potentially allowing survival of land-based organisms 2.7-2.6 billion years ago. The broad UV absorption signature produced by this haze may be visible across interstellar distances, allowing characterization of similar hazy exoplanets. The haze in Archean Earth's atmosphere was strongly dependent on biologically produced methane, and we propose that hydrocarbon haze may be a novel type of spectral biosignature on planets with substantial levels of CO2. Hazy Archean Earth is the most alien world for which we have geochemical constraints on environmental conditions, providing a useful analogue for similar habitable, anoxic exoplanets.

  4. Stromatolitic fabric of authigenic carbonate crusts: result of anaerobic methane oxidation at cold seeps in 4,850 m water depth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greinert, Jens; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Elvert, Marcus

    2002-08-01

    Methane seepage leads to Mg-calcite and aragonite precipitation at a depth of 4,850 m on the Aleutian accretionary margin. Stromatolitic and oncoid growth structures imply encrustation of microorganisms (microbial mats) in the host sediment with a unique growth direction downward into the sediment, forming crust-shaped lithologies. Biomarker investigations of the residue after carbonate dissolution show strong enrichments in crocetane and archaeol, which contain extremely low δ13C values. This indicates the presence of methane-consuming archaea, and δ13C values of -42 to -51‰ PDB indicate that methane is the carbon source for the carbonate crusts. Thus, it appears that stromatolitic encrustations of methanotrophic anaerobic archaea probably occurs in a consortium with sulphate-reducing bacteria and that carbonate precipitation proceeds downward into the sediment, where ascending cold fluids provide a methane source. Strontium and oxygen isotope analyses as well as 14C ages of the carbonates suggest that the fluids come from deep within the sediment and that carbonate precipitation began about 3,000 years ago.

  5. Archean Arctic continental crust fingerprints revealing by zircons from Alpha Ridge bottom rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sergeev, Sergey; Petrov, Oleg; Morozov, Andrey; Shevchenko, Sergey; Presnyakov, Sergey; Antonov, Anton; Belyatsky, Boris

    2015-04-01

    Whereas thick Cenozoic sedimentary cover overlapping bedrock of the Arctic Ocean, some tectonic windows were sampled by scientific submarine manipulator, as well as by grabbing, dredging and drilling during «Arctic-2012» Russian High-Arctic expedition (21 thousands samples in total, from 400-km profile along Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges). Among others, on the western slope of Alpha Ridge one 10x10 cm fragment without any tracks of glacial transportation of fine-layered migmatitic-gneiss with prominent quartz veinlets was studied. Its mineral (47.5 vol.% plagioclase + 29.6% quartz + 16.6% biotite + 6.1% orthoclase) and chemical composition (SiO2:68.2, Al2O3:14.9, Fe2O3:4.44, TiO2:0.54, MgO:2.03, CaO:3.13, Na2O:3.23, K2O:2.16%) corresponds to trachydacite vulcanite, deformed and metamorphozed under amphibolite facies. Most zircon grains (>80%) from this sample has an concordant U-Pb age 3450 Ma with Th/U 0.8-1.4 and U content of 100-400 ppm, epsilon Hf from -4 up to 0, and ca 20% - ca 3.3 Ga with Th/U 0.7-1.4 and 90-190 ppm U, epsilon Hf -6.5 to -4.5, while only 2% of the grains show Proterozoic age of ca 1.9 Ga (Th/U: 0.02-0.07, U~500 ppm, epsilon Hf about 0). No younger zircons were revealed at all. We suppose that magmatic zircon crystallized as early as 3450 Ma ago during acid volcanism, the second phase zircon crystallization from partial melt (or by volcanics remelting) under amphibolite facies metamorphism was at 3.3 Ga ago with formation of migmatitie gneisses. Last zircon formation from crustal fluids under low-grade metamorphic conditions was 1.9 Ga ago. There are two principal possibilities for the provenance of this metavolcanic rock. The first one - this is ice-rafted debris deposited by melted glacial iceberg. However, presently there are no temporal and compositional analogues of such rocks in basement geology of peri-oceanic regions, including Archean Itsaq Gneiss Complex, Lewisian Complex and Baltic Shield but these regions are far from the places of

  6. Archean cherts: field, petrographic and geochemical criteria to determine their origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ledevin, Morgane; Arndt, Nicholas T.; Simionovici, Alexandre

    2013-04-01

    Archean cherts provide valuable information about conditions on the sea floor during the early history of Earth. We conducted field, petrological and geochemical studies on examples from different environments in the Barberton Greenstone Belt (3.2-3.5 Ga), South Africa, with the aim of improving our understanding of these enigmatic rocks. We distinguish three different origins for cherts: direct precipitation from seawater (C-cherts); precipitation in fractures from silica-rich fluids (F-cherts); and replacement of preexisting rocks (silicification) either at or near the surface (S-cherts). The three types were distinguished using a combination of sedimentary and deformation structures, petrological observations (RAMAN, electron microprobe, X-Ray microfluorescence, cathodoluminescence) and geochemical data. C-cherts best record the composition and physical conditions in primitive oceans and the depositional environment because they precipitated from seawater. Based on sedimentary structures, we show that the silica was deposited as a siliceous ooze or amorphous gel on the seafloor, with variable precipitation rates that depend on the amount and nature of co-precipitated phases (called here the "contaminant"), such as detrital grains, carbonates, carbonaceous matter and oxides. We observe a complex rheology of C-cherts, which show both ductile to brittle deformation structures, sometimes in the same layer. We infer that the cherts underwent extremely rapid diagenetic induration at or near the surface, a process that proceeded faster when contaminants are lacking. Geochemical data (ICP-MS/ICP-AES) indicate that whole rock chemistries are dominated by the contaminant phases. Detrital grains with continental signatures dominate the compositions of cherts in the turbidite sequence of the Komati River whereas carbonates preserving modern, seawater-like compositions control the compositions of cherts of Fig Tree Fm in the Barite Valley. The silica minerals do not

  7. The western Wabigoon Subprovince, Superior Province, Canada: Archean greenstone succession in rifted basement complex

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edwards, G. R.; Davis, D. W.

    1986-01-01

    The Wabigoon Subprovince, interposed between the predominantly metasedimentary-plutonic and gneissic English River and Quetico Subprovinces to the north and south respectively, exposed Archean greenstone and granitoid rocks for a strike length of greater than 700 km. Based on predominating rock types, the western part of the subprovince is divided into two terrains: the northern Wabigoon volcano-sedimentary and pluonic terrain (NWW) and the Wabigoon Diapiric Axis terrain (WDA). Both the NWW and WDA are described according to volcanic sequence, geological faults, chemical composition and evolutionary history.

  8. Controls on Atmospheric O2: The Anoxic Archean and the Suboxic Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kasting, J. F.

    2015-12-01

    Geochemists have now reached consensus that the Archean atmosphere was mostly anoxic, that a Great Oxidation Event (GOE) occurred at around 2.5 Ga, and that the ensuing Proterozoic atmosphere was consistently oxidized [1,2]. Evidence for this broad-scale change in atmospheric composition comes from a variety of sources, most importantly from multiple sulfur isotopes [3,4]. The details of both the Archean and Proterozoic environments remain controversial, however, as does the underlying cause of the GOE. Evidence of 'whiffs' of oxygen during the Archean [5] now extend back as far as 3.0 Ga, based on Cr isotopes [6]. This suggests that O2 was being produced by cyanobacteria well before the GOE and that the timing of this event may have been determined by secular changes in O2 sinks. Catling et al. [7] emphasized escape of hydrogen to space, coupled with progressive oxidation of the continents and a concomitant decrease in the flux of reduced gases from metamorphism. But hydrogen produced by serpentinization of seafloor could also have been a controlling factor [8]. Higher mantle temperatures during the Archean should have resulted in thicker, more mafic seafloor and higher H2 production; decreasing mantle temperatures during the Proterozoic should have led to seafloor more like that of today and a corresponding decrease in H2 production, perhaps by enough to trigger the GOE. Once the atmosphere became generally oxidizing, it apparently remained that way during the rest of Earth's history. But O2 levels in the mid-Proterozoic could have been as low at 10-3 times the Present Atmospheric Level (PAL) [9]. The evidence, once again, is based on Cr isotopes. Possible mechanisms for maintaining such a 'suboxic' Proterozoic atmosphere will be discussed. Refs: 1. H. D. Holland, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 66, 3811 (2002). 2. H. D. Holland, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 361, 903 (Jun 29, 2006). 3. J. Farquhar, H. Bao, M. Thiemans, Science

  9. An Archean Geomagnetic Reversal in the Kaap Valley Pluton, South Africa

    PubMed

    Layer; Kroner; McWilliams

    1996-08-16

    The Kaap Valley pluton in South Africa is a tonalite intrusion associated with the Archean Barberton Greenstone Belt. Antipodal paleomagnetic directions determined from the central and marginal parts of the pluton record a geomagnetic reversal that occurred as the pluton cooled. The age of the reversal is constrained by an 40Ar/39Ar plateau age from hornblende at 3214 +/- 4 million years, making it the oldest known reversal. The data presented here suggest that Earth has had a reversing, perhaps dipolar, magnetic field since at least 3.2 billion years ago.

  10. Late Archean mineralised cyanobacterial mats and their modern analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kazmierczak, J.; Altermann, W.; Kremer, B.; Kempe, S.; Eriksson, P. G.

    2008-09-01

    ,c) reminiscent of common sheaths (glycocalix), typical for coccoidal colonial (pseudoparenchymatous) entophysalidacean or pleurocapsalean cyanobacteria (Fig. 2d-f). The remains of the coccoid sheaths and capsules are visible as a system of rimmed subglobular or irregularly polygonal pits separated from adjacent pits by 2-3 μm thick walls. Microprobe analyses show that the interiors of the pits are composed of almost pure calcium carbonate whereas the rims and walls of calcium carbonate with high admixture of silicates (mostly Al-Fe clay-like silicates) and dolomite. High magnification images of rims and walls confirm the microprobe data indicating authigenic character of the minerals forming both the carbonate infilling the pits interiors (CaCO3) and their rims and walls (CaCO3 + Al-Fe silicates + dolomite). EPSC Abstracts, Vol. 3, EPSC2008-A-00493, 2008 European Planetary Science Congress, Author(s) 2008 It seems that carbonates were the first mineral phase filling the spaces remained after the plasmolysis of the cyanobacterial cell contents, whereas the formation of silicates within the exopolysaccharides forming the bulk of the sheaths and capsules was a later diagenetic process. Microprobe analyses of mineralised modern coccoid cyanobacterial mats forming tower-like structures in the highly alkaline Lake Van, Turkey [3,4] display a set of elements indicative for the presence of authigenic carbonate and silicate minerals which are almost identical with that occurring in the studied Neoarchean samples. Also the optical and SEM images of polished and etched platelets of permineralised Lake Van microbialites are strikingly similar (Fig. 2d-f). Similarly as in modern cyanobacterial and other microbial mats, the process of early post mortem mineralisation, in the case of the Nauga Formation, was most probably associated with the action of heterotrophic bacteria upon the dead cyanobacterial biomass. Heterotrophic bacteria occupying EPS layers of living and dead cyanobacterial

  11. New Constraints on the Extent of Paleoproterozoic and Archean Basement in the Northwest U.S. Cordillera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brewer, R. A.; Vervoort, J.; Lewis, R. S.; Gaschnig, R. M.; Hart, G.

    2008-12-01

    The Laurentian basement west of the Wyoming craton in southwest Montana and northern Idaho has been interpreted as a collage of Archean and Proterozoic terranes which accreted to the North American craton and incorporated into Laurentia at ~ 1.86 Ga [1]. This basement and the geometry of the Archean and Proterozoic crust are poorly understood due to coverage by metasediments of the Belt-Purcell Supergroup and are further obscured by Mesozoic magmatism (Idaho Batholith, sensu lato). Exposures of the basement are rare but have been documented in a few regions including the Priest River Complex in northern Idaho and the Sevier fold and thrust belt just northwest of the Wyoming craton in the Great Falls tectonic zone (Foster et al. 2006). New ages and isotopic data from orthogneisses in north-central Idaho provide evidence for previously undocumented exposures of both Paleoproterozoic and Archean basement that may place important constraints on the reconstruction of Laurentia and its tectonic setting. The orthogneisses analyzed in this study (all previously mapped as deformed Cretaceous plutons) fall into two distinct age groups of 1.86 Ga and 2.67 Ga. The zircons from both the Archean and Proterozoic rocks have simple systematics. The zircons from three Archean samples have ɛHf(i) values of 2.4 ± 2.1, 3.8 ± 1.8, and 5.2 ± 3.5 (average values based on 6 individual zircon Hf analyses per sample). Zircons from the Paleoproterozoic gneisses have different but internally consistent ɛHf(i) values of -8.0 ± 0.9 and -0.6 ± 1.4. In contrast, both Hf and Nd whole rock data are highly scattered in these samples especially in the Archean samples in which ɛHf(i) varies from -25 to +21 and ɛNd(i) varies from -8 to +11. These extreme values are implausible for initial compositions and indicate open system behavior in both Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd in the whole rocks. The zircons, in contrast, appear to be closed to significant Hf mobility on the scale of the laser analyses. The data

  12. Archean inheritance in zircon from late Paleozoic granites from the Avalon zone of southeastern New England: an African connection

    Zartman, R.E.; Don, Hermes O.

    1987-01-01

    In southeastern New England the Narragansett Pier Granite locally intrudes Carboniferous metasedimentary rocks of the Narragansett basin, and yields a monazite UPb Permian emplacement age of 273 ?? 2 Ma. Zircon from the Narragansett Pier Granite contains a minor but detectable amount of an older, inherited component, and shows modern loss of lead. Zircon from the late-stage, aplitic Westerly Granite exhibits a more pronounced lead inheritance -permitting the inherited component to be identified as Late Archean. Such old relict zircon has not been previously recognized in Proterozoic to Paleozoic igneous rocks in New England, and may be restricted to late Paleozoic rocks of the Avalon zone. We suggest that the Archean crustal component reflects an African connection, in which old Archean crust was underplated to the Avalon zone microplate in the late Paleozoic during collision of Gondwanaland with Avalonia. ?? 1987.

  13. Archean Age Fossils from Northwestern Australia (Approximately 3.3 to 3.5 GA, Warrawoona Group, Towers Formation)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Penny A. Morris

    1999-01-01

    Archean aged rocks from the Pilbara Block area of western Australia (Warrawoona Group, Towers Formation, -3.3-3.5 Ga) contain microfossils that are composed of various sizes of spheres and filaments. The first descriptions of these microfossils were published in the late 1970's (Dunlop, 1978; Dunlop, et. al., 1978). The authenticity of the microfossils is well established. The small size of the microfossils prevents isotope dating, at least with the present technology. Microbiologists, however, have established guidelines to determine the authenticity of the Archean aged organic remains (Schopf, Walter, 1992).

  14. Redox state of the Archean mantle: Evidence from V partitioning in 3.5-2.4 Ga komatiites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nicklas, Robert W.; Puchtel, Igor S.; Ash, Richard D.

    2018-02-01

    Oxygen fugacity of the mantle is a crucial thermodynamic parameter that controls such fundamental processes as planetary differentiation, mantle melting, and possible core-mantle exchange. Constraining the evolution of the redox state of the mantle is of paramount importance for understanding the chemical evolution of major terrestrial reservoirs, including the core, mantle, and atmosphere. In order to evaluate the secular evolution of the redox state of the mantle, oxygen fugacities of six komatiite systems, ranging in age from 3.48 to 2.41 Ga, were determined using high-precision partitioning data of the redox-sensitive element vanadium between liquidus olivine, chromite and komatiitic melt. The calculated oxygen fugacities range from -0.11 ± 0.30 ΔFMQ log units in the 3.48 Ga Komati system to +0.43 ± 0.26 ΔFMQ log units in the 2.41 Ga Vetreny system. Although there is a slight hint in the data for an increase in the oxygen fugacity of the mantle between 3.48 and 2.41 Ga, these values generally overlap within their respective uncertainties; they are also largely within the range of oxygen fugacity estimates for modern MORB lavas of +0.60 ± 0.30 ΔFMQ log units that we obtained using the same technique. Our results are consistent with the previous findings that argued for little change in the mantle oxygen fugacity since the early Archean and indicate that the mantle had reached its nearly-present day redox state by at least 3.48 Ga.

  15. Petrogenesis of basalts from the Archean Matachewan Dike Swarm Superior Province of Canada

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nelson, Dennis O.

    1987-01-01

    The Matachewan Dike swarm of eastern Ontario comprises Archean age basalts that were emplaced in the greenstone, granite-greenstone, and metasedimentary terrains of the Superior Province of Canada. The basalts are Fe-rich tholeiites, characterized by the near ubiquitos presence of large, compositionally uniform, calcic plagioclase. Major and trace element whole-rock compositions, along with microprobe analyses of constituent phases, from a group of dikes from the eastern portion of the province, were evaluated to constrain petrological processes that operated during the formation and evolution of the magmas. Three compositional groupings, were identified within the dikes. One group has compositional characteristics similar to modern abyssal tholeiites and is termed morb-type. A second group, enriched in incompatible elements and light-REE enriched, is referred to as the enriched group. The third more populated group has intermediate characteristics and is termed the main group. The observation of both morb-type and enriched compositions within a single dike strongly argues for the contemporaneous existence of magmas derived through different processes. Mixing calculations suggest that two possibilities exist. The least evolved basalts lie on a mixing line between the morb-type and enriched group, suggesting mixing of magmas derived from heterogeneous mantle. Mixing of magmas derived from a depleted mantle with heterogeneous Archean crust can duplicate certain aspects of the Matachewan dike composition array.

  16. Transient episodes of mild environmental oxygenation and oxidative continental weathering during the late Archean

    PubMed Central

    Kendall, Brian; Creaser, Robert A.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Lyons, Timothy W.; Anbar, Ariel D.

    2015-01-01

    It is not known whether environmental O2 levels increased in a linear fashion or fluctuated dynamically between the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and the later Great Oxidation Event. New rhenium-osmium isotope data from the late Archean Mount McRae Shale, Western Australia, reveal a transient episode of oxidative continental weathering more than 50 million years before the onset of the Great Oxidation Event. A depositional age of 2495 ± 14 million years and an initial 187Os/188Os of 0.34 ± 0.19 were obtained for rhenium- and molybdenum-rich black shales. The initial 187Os/188Os is higher than the mantle/extraterrestrial value of 0.11, pointing to mild environmental oxygenation and oxidative mobilization of rhenium, molybdenum, and radiogenic osmium from the upper continental crust and to contemporaneous transport of these metals to seawater. By contrast, stratigraphically overlying black shales are rhenium- and molybdenum-poor and have a mantle-like initial 187Os/188Os of 0.06 ± 0.09, indicating a reduced continental flux of rhenium, molybdenum, and osmium to seawater because of a drop in environmental O2 levels. Transient oxygenation events, like the one captured by the Mount McRae Shale, probably separated intervals of less oxygenated conditions during the late Archean. PMID:26702438

  17. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study of a Photosynthetic Microbial Mat and Comparison with Archean Cherts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bourbin, M.; Derenne, S.; Gourier, D.; Rouzaud, J.-N.; Gautret, P.; Westall, F.

    2012-12-01

    Organic radicals in artificially carbonized biomass dominated by oxygenic and non-oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, Microcoleus chthonoplastes-like and Chloroflexus-like bacteria respectively, were studied by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. The two bacteria species were sampled in mats from a hypersaline lake. They underwent accelerated ageing by cumulative thermal treatments to induce progressive carbonization of the biological material, mimicking the natural maturation of carbonaceous material of Archean age. For thermal treatments at temperatures higher than 620 °C, a drastic increase in the EPR linewidth is observed in the carbonaceous matter from oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria and not anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria. This selective EPR linewidth broadening reflects the presence of a catalytic element inducing formation of radical aggregates, without affecting the molecular structure or the microstructure of the organic matter, as shown by Raman spectroscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. For comparison, we carried out an EPR study of organic radicals in silicified carbonaceous rocks (cherts) from various localities, of different ages (0.42 to 3.5 Gyr) and having undergone various degrees of metamorphism, i.e. various degrees of natural carbonization. EPR linewidth dispersion for the most primitive samples was quite significant, pointing to a selective dipolar broadening similar to that observed for carbonized bacteria. This surprising result merits further evaluation in the light of its potential use as a marker of past bacterial metabolisms, in particular oxygenic photosynthesis, in Archean cherts.

  18. Community living long before man: fossil and living microbial mats and early life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.; Lopez Baluja, L.; Awramik, S. M.; Sagan, D.

    1986-01-01

    Microbial mats are layered communities of bacteria that form cohesive structures, some of which are preserved in sedimentary rocks as stromatolites. Certain rocks, approximately three and a half thousand million years old and representing the oldest known fossils, are interpreted to derive from microbial mats and to contain fossils of microorganisms. Modern microbial mats (such as the one described here from Matanzas, Cuba) and their fossil counterparts are of great interest in the interpretation of early life on Earth. Since examination of microbial mats and stromatolites increases our understanding of long-term stability and change, within the global environment, such structures should be protected wherever possible as natural science preserves. Furthermore, since they have existed virtually from the time of life's origin, microbial mats have developed exemplary mechanisms of local community persistence and may even play roles in the larger global environment that we do not understand.

  19. A Geological Model for the Evolution of Early Continents (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rey, P. F.; Coltice, N.; Flament, N. E.; Thébaud, N.

    2013-12-01

    Geochemical probing of ancient sediments (REE in black shales, strontium composition of carbonates, oxygen isotopes in zircons...) suggests that continents were a late Archean addition at Earth's surface. Yet, geochemical probing of ancient basalts reveals that they were extracted from a mantle depleted of its crustal elements early in the Archean. Considerations on surface geology, the early Earth hypsometry and the rheology and density structure of Archean continents can help solve this paradox. Surface geology: The surface geology of Archean cratons is characterized by thick continental flood basalts (CFBs, including greenstones) emplaced on felsic crusts dominated by Trondhjemite-Tonalite-Granodiorite (TTG) granitoids. This simple geology is peculiar because i/ most CFBs were emplaced below sea level, ii/ after their emplacement, CFBs were deformed into relatively narrow, curviplanar belts (greenstone basins) wrapping around migmatitic TTG domes, and iii/ Archean greenstone belts are richly endowed with gold and other metals deposits. Flat Earth hypothesis: From considerations on early Earth continental geotherm and density structure, Rey and Coltice (2008) propose that, because of the increased ability of the lithosphere to flow laterally, orogenic processes in the Archean produced only subdued topography (Archean CFB were emplaced on flooded continents, Flament et al. (2008) proposed a theory for the hypsometry of the early Earth showing that, until the late Archean, most continents were flooded and Earth was largely a water world. From this, a model consistent with many of the peculiar attributes of Archean geology, can be proposed: 1/ Continents appeared at Earth's surface at an early stage during the Hadean/Archean. However, because they were i/ covered by continental flood basalts, ii/ below sea level, and iii/ deprived of modern-style mountain belts and orogenic plateaux, early felsic

  20. Punctuated HT/UHT metamorphism during prolonged Archean orogenesis in the Pikwitonei Granulite Domain revealed by garnet petrochronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dragovic, Besim; Guevara, Victor; Caddick, Mark; Couëslan, Chris; Baxter, Ethan

    2017-04-01

    Fundamental to every modern continent's early (Archean) history is the generation of high temperature conditions required to produce the dense, strong, relatively anhydrous rocks that comprise most of Earth's stable cratonic crust. While the thermal gradients supported in Archean terranes are better understood, the timescales over which these conditions occur are more enigmatic. Garnet petrochronology allows for the interrogation of a semi-continuous record of these tectonometamorphic conditions, by linking pressure-temperature-fluid conditions (using phase equilibria modeling, trace element thermometry, stable isotope geochemistry) to a precise chronologic/chronometric record (e.g. high-precision Sm-Nd geochronology, geospeedometry of major and trace element diffusion profiles). Here, we utilize techniques from this burgeoning field of study to elucidate the rates and conditions of high temperature/ultra-high temperature (HT/UHT) metamorphism in the 2.7 Ga Pikwitonei Granulite Domain (PGD). The PGD represents over 150,000 km2 of dominantly granulite-facies metamorphic rocks situated at the NW edge of the Superior Province. Peak temperatures in the region range from 760°C in the southernmost part of the PGD, to 900-960˚C in the central/western PGD ( 40-60 km apart). Previous studies have suggested that metamorphism was long-lived in the region, occurring over 100 Ma, from 2.71-2.60 Ga [1, 2, 3]. High-precision garnet geochronology on microsampled garnets provides a detailed growth history of several lithologies across the region. Where necessary, bulk garnet analysis (i.e. dating based upon multiple whole garnet crystals rather than portions thereof) was also performed. While cooling from HT/UHT will result in some degree of intra-mineral age resetting, a detailed isotopic study of a range of large garnet porphyroblasts from the PGD (those which would be variably reset depending on peak T, grain size, and initial cooling rate) can retain information about both

  1. Fractionation products of basaltic komatiite magmas at lower crustal pressures: implications for genesis of silicic magmas in the Archean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mandler, B. E.; Grove, T. L.

    2015-12-01

    Hypotheses for the origin of crustal silicic magmas include both partial melting of basalts and fractional crystallization of mantle-derived melts[1]. Both are recognized as important processes in modern environments. When it comes to Archean rocks, however, partial melting hypotheses dominate the literature. Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG)-type silicic magmas, ubiquitous in the Archean, are widely thought to be produced by partial melting of subducted, delaminated or otherwise deeply buried hydrated basalts[2]. The potential for a fractional crystallization origin for TTG-type magmas remains largely unexplored. To rectify this asymmetry in approaches to modern vs. ancient rocks, we have performed experiments at high pressures and temperatures to closely simulate fractional crystallization of a basaltic komatiite magma in the lowermost crust. These represent the first experimental determinations of the fractionation products of komatiite-type magmas at elevated pressures. The aim is to test the possibility of a genetic link between basaltic komatiites and TTGs, which are both magmas found predominantly in Archean terranes and less so in modern environments. We will present the 12-kbar fractionation paths of both Al-depleted and Al-undepleted basaltic komatiite magmas, and discuss their implications for the relative importance of magmatic fractionation vs. partial melting in producing more evolved, silicic magmas in the Archean. [1] Annen et al., J. Petrol., 47, 505-539, 2006. [2] Moyen J-F. & Martin H., Lithos, 148, 312-336, 2012.

  2. Benthic iron cycling in a high-oxygen environment: Implications for interpreting the Archean sedimentary iron isotope record.

    PubMed

    McCoy, V E; Asael, D; Planavsky, N

    2017-09-01

    The most notable trend in the sedimentary iron isotope record is a shift at the end of the Archean from highly variable δ 56 Fe values with large negative excursions to less variable δ 56 Fe values with more limited negative values. The mechanistic explanation behind this trend has been extensively debated, with two main competing hypotheses: (i) a shift in marine redox conditions and the transition to quantitative iron oxidation; and (ii) a decrease in the signature of microbial iron reduction in the sedimentary record because of increased bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR). Here, we provide new insights into this debate and attempt to assess these two hypotheses by analyzing the iron isotope composition of siderite concretions from the Carboniferous Mazon Creek fossil site. These concretions precipitated in an environment with water column oxygenation, extensive sediment pile dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) but limited bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR). Most of the concretions have slightly positive iron isotope values, with a mean of 0.15‰ and limited iron isotope variability compared to the Archean sedimentary record. This limited variability in an environment with high DIR and low BSR suggests that these conditions alone are insufficient to explain Archean iron isotope compositions. Therefore, these results support the idea that the unusually variable and negative iron isotope values in the Archean are due to dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) coupled with extensive water column iron cycling. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Constraining mechanisms of quartz precipitation in the Archean ocean using silicon isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brengman, L. A.; Fedo, C.; Martin, W.

    2017-12-01

    To constrain reservoir values for the Archean silica cycle we measured silicon isotope compositions (δ30Si) of 28 igneous, siliciclastic sedimentary, hydrothermal, and chemical sedimentary rock samples from three Archean greenstone belts representing different times (>3.7 - 2.7 Ga) and tectonic regimes. We posit that silicon isotope compositions of quartz (746 analyses measured in situ by secondary ion mass spectrometry at the NORDSIM facility) are linked to changes in key geochemical parameters that vary within local depositional environments, coupled with a dependency on size and δ30Si composition of the source reservoir. Collectively, siliceous precipitates from even a single basin span a 7‰ range in δ30Si values. Such heterogeneity, regardless of basinal position or presence of Fe-phases demonstrates that δ30Si values of chemical sediments are linked to neither a well-mixed water column representative of a single ocean composition, nor a specific time in Earth history. Combining data from all three greenstone belts we discern that all measured Algoma-type iron formation (IF) and about 50% of associated chert samples possess δ30Si values <0‰, while the majority of silicified volcanic rocks and the remaining 50% of chert samples have δ30Si values >0‰. Negative values of Algoma-type IF can be explained by rate-dependent fractionation during precipitation and/or adsorption to Fe/Al. Combined experimental and natural data for quartz precipitates suggest slow precipitation rates coupled with closed system, Rayleigh type distillation could produce the isotopically heavy values. Such results suggest the quartz-precipitating fluid for these rocks evolves from an open system in disequilibrium, to one that is closed, and in equilibrium with the host rock. In contrast to the static range of values through time for Algoma-type IF, associated cherts and silicified rocks, compiled data for Superior-type IF from 3 - 1.8 Ga record a systematic increasing trend from

  4. Transition From Archean Plume-Arc Orogens to Phanerozoic Style Convergent Margin Orogens, and Changing Mantle Lithosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerrich, R.; Jia, Y.; Wyman, D.

    2001-12-01

    Mantle plume activity was more intense in the Archean and komatiite-basalt volcanic sequences are a major component of many Archean greenstone belts. Tholeiitic basalts compositionally resemble Phanerozoic and Recent ocean plateau basalts, such as those of Ontong Java and Iceland. However, komatiite-basalt sequences are tectonically imbricated with bimodal arc lavas and associated trench turbidites. Interfingering of komatiite flows with boninite series flows, and primitive to evolved arc basalts has recently been identified in the 2.7 Ga Abitibi greenstone belt, demonstrating spatially and temporally associated plume and arc magmatism. These observations are consistent with an intra-oceanic arc migrating and capturing an ocean plateau, where the plateau jams the arc and imbricated plateau-arc crust forms a greenstone belt orogen. Melting of shallowly subducted plateau basalt crust (high Ba, Th, LREE) accounts for the areally extensive and voluminous syntectonic tonalite batholiths. In contrast, the adakite-Mg-andesite-Niobium enriched basalt association found in Archean greenstone belts and Cenozoic arcs are melts of LREE depleted MORB slab. Buoyant residue from anomalously hot mantle plume melting at > 100km rises to couple with the composite plume-arc crust to form the distinctively thick and refractory Archean continental lithospheric mantle. New geochemical data for structurally hosted ultramafic units along the N. American Cordillera, from S. California to the Yukon, show that these are obducted slices of sub-arc lithospheric mantle. Negatively fractionated HREE with high Al2O3/TiO2 ratios signify prior melt extraction, and variably enriched Th and LREE with negative Nb anomalies a subduction component in a convergent margin. A secular decrease of mantle plume activity and temperature results in plume-arc dominated geodynamics in the Archean with shallow subduction and thick CLM, whereas Phanerozoic convergent margins are dominated by arc-continent, arc

  5. Origin of Archean migmatites from the Gwenoro Dam area, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Condie, Kent C.; Allen, Philip

    1980-09-01

    Archean migmatites in the vicinity of Gwenoro Dam in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia are composed chiefly of trondhjemite gneiss (TR), mafic tonalite (MT), amphibolite (AM), leuco-trondhjemite veins (LTR), and pegmatites. The gneiss is intruded in nearby areas with small tonalite plutons (TN). Geochemical model studies together with field relationships are consistent with the following model for migmatite production: AM is produced by partial melting of a partly depleted ultramafic parent in which neither garnet nor amphibole remain in the residue; TR and TN are produced by partial melting of undepleted to variably depleted amphibolite in which garnet does not remain in the residue; MT is produced by mixing of plagioclase-rich TR with AM; and LTR represents the solid residue after fractional crystallization of TR.

  6. Evidence for crustal recycling during the Archean: The parental magmas of the stillwater complex

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mccallum, I. S.

    1988-01-01

    The petrology and geochemistry of the Stillwater Complex, an Archean (2.7 Ga) layered mafic intrusion in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana is discussed. Efforts to reconstruct the compositions of possible parental magmas and thereby place some constraints on the composition and history of their mantle source regions was studied. A high-Mg andesite or boninite magma best matches the crystallization sequences and mineral compositions of Stillwater cumulates, and represents either a primary magma composition or a secondary magma formed, for example, by assimilation of crustal material by a very Mg-rich melt such as komatiite. Isotopic data do not support the extensive amounts of assimilation required by the komatiite parent hypothesis, and it is argued that the Stillwater magma was generated from a mantle source that had been enriched by recycling and homogenization of older crustal material over a large area.

  7. Seismic anisotropy of the Archean crust in the Minnesota River Valley, Superior Province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferré, Eric C.; Gébelin, Aude; Conder, James A.; Christensen, Nik; Wood, Justin D.; Teyssier, Christian

    2014-03-01

    The Minnesota River Valley (MRV) subprovince is a well-exposed example of late Archean lithosphere. Its high-grade gneisses display a subhorizontal layering, most likely extending down to the crust-mantle boundary. The strong linear fabric of the gneisses results from high-temperature plastic flow during collage-related contraction. Seismic anisotropies measured up to 1 GPa in the laboratory, and seismic anisotropies calculated through forward-modeling indicate ΔVP ~5-6% and ΔVS ~3%. The MRV crust exhibits a strong macroscopic layering and foliation, and relatively strong seismic anisotropies at the hand specimen scale. Yet the horizontal attitude of these structures precludes any substantial contribution of the MRV crust to shear wave splitting for vertically propagating shear waves such as SKS. The origin of the regionally low seismic anisotropy must lie in the upper mantle. A horizontally layered mantle underneath the United States interior could provide an explanation for the observed low SWS.

  8. Comment on "Radiative forcings for 28 potential Archean greenhouse gases" by Byrne and Goldblatt (2014)

    DOE PAGES

    Kochanov, R. V.; Gordon, I. E.; Rothman, L. S.; ...

    2015-08-25

    In the recent article by Byrne and Goldblatt, "Radiative forcing for 28 potential Archean greenhouse gases", Clim. Past. 10, 1779–1801 (2014), the authors employ the HITRAN2012 spectroscopic database to evaluate the radiative forcing of 28 Archean gases. As part of the evaluation of the status of the spectroscopy of these gases in the selected spectral region (50–1800 cm -1), the cross sections generated from the HITRAN line-by-line parameters were compared with those of the PNNL database of experimental cross sections recorded at moderate resolution. The authors claimed that for NO 2, HNO 3, H 2CO, H 2O 2, HCOOH, Cmore » 2H 4, CH 3OH and CH 3Br there exist large or sometimes severe disagreements between the databases. In this work we show that for only three of these eight gases a modest discrepancy does exist between the two databases and we explain the origin of the differences. For the other five gases, the disagreements are not nearly at the scale suggested by the authors, while we explain some of the differences that do exist. In summary, the agreement between the HITRAN and PNNL databases is very good, although not perfect. Typically differences do not exceed 10 %, provided that HITRAN data exist for the bands/wavelengths of interest. It appears that a molecule-dependent combination of errors has affected the conclusions of the authors. In at least one case it appears that they did not take the correct file from PNNL (N 2O 4 (dimer)+ NO 2 was used in place of the monomer). Finally, cross sections of HO 2 from HITRAN (which do not have a PNNL counterpart) were not calculated correctly in BG, while in the case of HF misleading discussion was presented there based on the confusion by foreign or noise features in the experimental PNNL spectra.« less

  9. Characterizing the Purple Earth: Modeling the globally integrated spectral variability of the Archean Earth

    SciT

    Sanromá, E.; Pallé, E.; López, R.

    2014-01-01

    Ongoing searches for exoplanetary systems have revealed a wealth of planets with diverse physical properties. Planets even smaller than the Earth have already been detected and the efforts of future missions are aimed at the discovery, and perhaps characterization, of small rocky exoplanets within the habitable zone of their stars. Clearly, what we know about our planet will be our guideline for the characterization of such planets. However, the Earth has been inhabited for at least 3.8 Gyr and its appearance has changed with time. Here, we have studied the Earth during the Archean eon, 3.0 Gyr ago. At thatmore » time, one of the more widespread life forms on the planet was purple bacteria. These bacteria are photosynthetic microorganisms and can inhabit both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Here, we use a radiative transfer model to simulate the visible and near-infrared radiation reflected by our planet, taking into account several scenarios regarding the possible distribution of purple bacteria over continents and oceans. We find that purple bacteria have a reflectance spectrum that has a strong reflectivity increase, similar to the red edge of leafy plants, although shifted redward. This feature produces a detectable signal in the disk-averaged spectra of our planet, depending on cloud amount and purple bacteria concentration/distribution. We conclude that by using multi-color photometric observations, it is possible to distinguish between an Archean Earth in which purple bacteria inhabit vast extensions of the planet and a present-day Earth with continents covered by deserts, vegetation, or microbial mats.« less

  10. Empirical Records of Environmental Change across the Archean-Proterozoic Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. J.

    2011-12-01

    Time-series geochemical analyses of scientific drill cores intersecting the Archean-Proterozoic transition suggest a coupling of environmental and biological change that culminated in the pervasive oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Elemental and multiple isotope measurements of sedimentary archives, including carbonate, shale, and banded iron-formation from Western Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and southern Canada, indicate important changes in the carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycles that monitor the redox state of the oceans and the cyanobacterial buildup of atmospheric oxygen and ozone. In response, continental weathering would have increased, resulting in the enhanced delivery of sulfate and nutrients to seawater, further stimulating photoautotrophic fluxes of oxygen to surface environments. The positive feedback may additionally be responsible for the decline of atmospheric methane and surface refrigeration, represented by a series of discrete ice ages beginning around 2.4 billion years ago, due to the loss of greenhouse capacity during a time of lower solar luminosity. While speculative, the linkage of surface oxidation with enhanced nutrient supply and development of stratospheric sunscreen soon after the Archean-Proterozoic boundary suggests that the earliest perturbation in the carbon cycle may be associated with the rapid expansion of single-celled eukaryotes. Both sterol synthesis in eukaryotes and aerobic respiration require significant levels of oxygen in the ambient environment. Hence, Earth's earliest ice age(s) and onset of a modern and far more energetic carbon cycle may have been directly related to the global expansion of cyanobacteria that released oxygen to the environment, and of eukaryotes that respired it.

  11. Ultraviolet radiation and the photobiology of earth's early oceans.

    PubMed

    Cockell, C S

    2000-10-01

    During the Archean era (3.9-2.5 Ga ago) the earth was dominated by an oceanic lithosphere. Thus, understanding how life arose and persisted in the Archean oceans constitutes a major challenge in understanding early life on earth. Using a radiative transfer model of the late Archean oceans, the photobiological environment of the photic zone and the surface microlayer is explored at the time before the formation of a significant ozone column. DNA damage rates might have been approximately three orders of magnitude higher in the surface layer of the Archean oceans than on the present-day oceans, but at 30 m depth, damage may have been similar to the surface of the present-day oceans. However at this depth the risk of being transported to surface waters in the mixed layer was high. The mixed layer may have been inhabited by a low diversity UV-resistant biota. But it could have been numerically abundant. Repair capabilities similar to Deinococcus radiodurans would be sufficient to survive in the mixed layer. Diversity may have been greater in the region below the mixed layer and above the light compensation point corresponding to today's 'deep chlorophyll maximum'. During much of the Archean the air-water interface was probably an uninhabitable extreme environment for neuston. The habitability of some regions of the photic zone is consistent with the evidence embodied in the geologic record, which suggests an oxygenated upper layer in the Archean oceans. During the early Proterozoic, as ozone concentrations increased to a column abundance above 1 x 10(17) cm-2, UV stress would have been reduced and possibly a greater diversity of organisms could have inhabited the mixed layer. However, nutrient upwelling from newly emergent continental crusts may have been more significant in increasing total planktonic abundance in the open oceans and coastal regions than photobiological factors. The phohobiological environment of the Archean oceans has implications for the potential

  12. Formation of an Archean tectonic mélange in the Schreiber-Hemlo greenstone belt, Superior Province, Canada: Implications for Archean subduction-accretion process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polat, Ali; Kerrich, Robert

    1999-10-01

    The late Archean (circa 2750-2670 Ma) Schreiber-Hemlo greenstone belt, Superior Province, Canada, is composed of tectonically juxtaposed fragments of oceanic plateaus (circa 2750-2700 Ma), oceanic island arcs (circa 2720-2695 Ma), and siliciclastic trench turbidites (circa 2705-2697 Ma). Following juxtaposition, these lithotectonic assemblages were collectively intruded by synkinematic tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) plutons (circa 2720-2690 Ma) and ultramafic to felsic dikes and sills (circa 2690-2680 Ma), with subduction zone geochemical signatures. Overprinting relations between different sequences of structures suggest that the belt underwent at least three phases of deformation. During D1 (circa 2695-2685 Ma), oceanic plateau basalts and associated komatiites, arc-derived trench turbidites, and oceanic island arc sequences were all tectonically juxtaposed as they were incorporated into an accretionary complex. Fragmentation of these sequences resulted in broken formations and a tectonic mélange in the Schreiber assemblage of the belt. D2 (circa 2685-2680 Ma) is consistent with an intra-arc, right-lateral transpressional deformation. Fragmentation and mixing of D2 synkinematic dikes and sills suggest that mélange formation continued during D2. The D1 to D2 transition is interpreted in terms of a trenchward migration of the magmatic arc axis due to continued accretion and underplating. The D2 intra-arc strike-slip faults may have provided conduits for uprising melts from the descending slab, and they may have induced decompressional partial melting in the subarc mantle wedge, to yield synkinematic ultramafic to felsic intrusions. A similar close relationship between orogen-parallel strike-slip faulting and magmatism has recently been recognized in several Phanerozoic transpressional orogenic belts, suggesting that as in Phanerozoic counterparts, orogen-parallel strike-slip faulting in the Schreiber-Hemlo greenstone belt played an important role in

  13. Indentation and Lateral Escape in Western Ishtar Terra, Venus — An Analog for Deformation of the Archean Abitibi Subprovince, Superior Craton, Canada Without Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, L. B.; Bédard, J. H.

    2015-05-01

    Radar about Lakshmi Planum, Venus, shows regional transcurrent shear zones, folds and thrusts formed by indentation and lateral escape. The Archean Abitibi subprovince Canada shows identical structures suggesting a similar, non-plate tectonic origin.

  14. Stromatolite- and coated-grain-bearing carbonate rocks of the western Brooks Range: A section in Geologic studies in Alaska by the U.S. Geological Survey during 1987

    Dumoulin, Julie A.

    1988-01-01

    Carbonate rocks characterized by locally abundant stromatolites and coated grains have been found at several localities in the Baird Mountains and Ambler River quadrangles (fig. 1). These rocks are part of a belt of metasedimentary and metaigneous rocks that constitutes the southwestern flank of the Brooks Range; all are included in the parautochthon (Schwatka sequence) of Mayfield and others (1983). The rocks have been deformed and metamorphosed to blueschist and greenschist facies, but primary textures and sedimentary structures are locally well preserved.

  15. Spatially Resolved, In Situ Carbon Isotope Analysis of Archean Organic Matter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williford, Kenneth H.; Ushikubo, Takayuki; Lepot, Kevin; Hallmann, Christian; Spicuzza, Michael J.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Summons, Roger E.; Valley, John W.

    2011-01-01

    Spatiotemporal variability in the carbon isotope composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM) preserves information about the evolution of the biosphere and of the exogenic carbon cycle as a whole. Primary compositions, and imprints of the post-depositional processes that obscure them, exist at the scale of individual sedimentary grains (mm to micron). Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) (1) enables analysis at these scales and in petrographic context, (2) permits morphological and compositional characterization of the analyte and associated minerals prior to isotopic analysis, and (3) reveals patterns of variability homogenized by bulk techniques. Here we present new methods for in situ organic carbon isotope analysis with sub-permil precision and spatial resolution to 1 micron using SIMS, as well as new data acquired from a suite of Archean rocks. Three analytical protocols were developed for the CAMECA ims1280 at WiscSIMS to analyze domains of varying size and carbon concentration. Average reproducibility (at 2SD) using a 6 micron spot size with two Faraday cup detectors was 0.4 %, and 0.8 % for analyses using 1 micron and 3 micron spot sizes with a Faraday cup (for C-12) and an electron multiplier (for C-13). Eight coals, two ambers, a shungite, and a graphite were evaluated for micron-scale isotopic heterogeneity, and LCNN anthracite (delta C-13 = -23.56 +/- 0.1 %, 2SD) was chosen as the working standard. Correlation between instrumental bias and H/C was observed and calibrated for each analytical session using organic materials with H/C between 0.1 and 1.5 (atomic), allowing a correction based upon a C-13H/C-13 measurement included in every analysis. Matrix effects of variable C/SiO2 were evaluated by measuring mm to sub-micron graphite domains in quartzite from Bogala mine, Sri Lanka. Apparent instrumental bias and C-12 count rate are correlated in this case, but this may be related to a crystal orientation effect in graphite. Analyses of amorphous

  16. Diamonds in an Archean greenstone belt: Diamond suites in unconventional rocks of Wawa, Northern Ontario (Canada)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kopylova, Maya; Bruce, Loryn; Ryder, John

    2010-05-01

    Diamonds typically are found on Archean cratons entrained by younger Phanerozoic kimberlites. In contrast, Wawa diamonds are hosted in "unconventional", non-kimberlitic rocks that formed contemporaneously with the mafic and sedimentary rocks of the Archean Michipicoten Greenstone Belt (MGB). We studied two diamond suites that occur within the 2.9-2.7 Ga greenschist facies rocks of MGB located in the southwest portion of the Superior Craton (E. Canada). The first diamond suite henceforth referred to as the Wawa breccia diamonds (384 stones), are hosted in the 2618-2744 Ma calc-alkaline lamprophyres and volcaniclastic breccias, contemporaneous with pillow basalts and felsic volcanics of MGB. The second suite, the Wawa conglomerate diamonds (80 crystals), are hosted in the 2697-2700 Ma poorly sorted sedimentary polymictic conglomerate which is interpreted as a proximal alluvial fan debris flow in a fan-delta environment. The majority of the diamonds was found within the matrix of the conglomerate. The diamondiferous breccia occurs 20 km north of the town of Wawa, whereas the conglomerate is found 12 km northeast of Wawa. Diamonds from the 2 occurrences were characterized and described for provenance studies. Both the breccia and conglomerate diamonds show similar crystal habits, with the predominance of octahedral single crystals and ~ 10% of cubes. The conglomerate diamonds are significantly less resorbed (no resorbtion in 43% of the stones) than the breccia diamonds (8% non-resorbed stones). In both suites, only 21-24% show high degrees of resorption. The majority of crystals in both suites are colourless, with some yellow, brown and grey stones. Conglomerate diamonds had a wider variety of colours that were not seen in the breccia diamonds, including green and pink. The breccia diamonds contain 0-740 ppm N and show two modes of N aggregation at 0-30 and 60-95%. Among the breccia diamonds, Type IaA stones comprise 17%, whereas IaAB stones make up 49% of the

  17. 3D climate-carbon modelling of the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charnay, B.; Le Hir, G.; Fluteau, F.; Forget, F.; Catling, D.

    2017-09-01

    We revisit the climate and carbon cycle of the early Earth at 3.8 Ga using a 3D climate-carbon model. Our resultsfavor cold or temperate climates with global mean temperatures between around 8°C (281 K) and 30°C (303 K) and with 0.1-0.36 bar of CO2 for the late Hadean and early Archean.

  18. Geochemistry of Archean metasedimentary rocks of the Aravalli craton, NW India: Implications for provenance, paleoweathering and supercontinent reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahmad, Iftikhar; Mondal, M. E. A.; Satyanarayanan, M.

    2016-08-01

    Basement complex of the Aravalli craton (NW India) known as the Banded Gneissic Complex (BGC) is classified into two domains viz. Archean BGC-I and Proterozoic BGC-II. We present first comprehensive geochemical study of the Archean metasedimentary rocks occurring within the BGC-I. These rocks occur associated with intrusive amphibolites in a linear belt within the basement gneisses. The association is only concentrated on the western margin of the BGC-I. The samples are highly mature (MSm) to very immature (MSi), along with highly variable geochemistry. Their major (SiO2/Al2O3, Na2O/K2O and Al2O3/TiO2) and trace (Th/Sc, Cr/Th, Th/Co, La/Sc, Zr/Sc) element ratios, and rare earth element (REE) patterns are consistent with derivation of detritus from the basement gneisses and its mafic enclaves, with major contribution from the former. Variable mixing between the two end members and closed system recycling (cannibalism) resulted in the compositional heterogeneity. Chemical index of alteration (CIA) of the samples indicate low to moderate weathering of the source terrain in a sub-tropical environment. In A-CN-K ternary diagram, some samples deceptively appear to have undergone post-depositional K-metasomatism. Nevertheless, their petrography and geochemistry (low K2O and Rb) preclude the post-depositional alteration. We propose non-preferential leaching of elements during cannibalism as the cause of the deceptive K-metasomatism as well as enigmatic low CIA values of some highly mature samples. The Archean metasedimentary rocks were deposited on stable basement gneisses, making the BGC-I a plausible participant in the Archean Ur supercontinent.

  19. Coexistence of enriched and modern-like 142Nd signatures in Archean igneous rocks of the eastern Kaapvaal Craton, southern Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Kathrin P.; Hoffmann, J. Elis; Boyet, Maud; Münker, Carsten; Kröner, Alfred

    2018-04-01

    The short-lived 146Sm-142Nd isotope system is an important tool for tracing Hadean crust-mantle differentiation processes and constraining their imprint on much younger rocks from Archean cratons. We report the first comprehensive set of high-precision 142Nd analyses for granitoids and amphibolites of the Ancient Gneiss Complex (AGC; Swaziland) and the oldest metavolcanic units of the Barberton Greenstone Belt (BGB; South Africa). The investigated samples span an age range from 3.66 Ga to 3.22 Ga and are representative of major geological units of the AGC and the lower Onverwacht Group of the BGB. Measured samples yielded μ142Nd values in the range from -8 ppm to +3 ppm relative to the JNdi-1 terrestrial standard, with typical errors smaller than 4.4 ppm. The distribution of the μ142Nd values for these 17 measured samples is bimodal with ten samples showing a tendency towards slightly negative μ142Nd anomalies, whereas seven samples have 142Nd similar to the terrestrial reference. The only confidently resolvable μ142Nd anomalies were found in a 3.44 Ga Ngwane Gneiss sample and in amphibolites of the ca. 3.45 Ga Dwalile Greenstone Remnant, revealing μ142Nd values ranging from - 7.9 ± 4.4 to - 6.1 ± 4.3 ppm. The μ142Nd deficits do not correlate with age, lithological unit, or sample locality. Instead, our results reveal that two distinct mantle domains were involved in the formation of the AGC crust. The two reservoirs can be distinguished by their μ142Nd signatures. Mantle-derived rocks tapped the enriched reservoir with negative μ142Nd at least until 3.46 Ga, whereas the granitoids preserved a negative μ142Nd signature that formed by incorporation of older AGC crust at least until 3.22 Ga. The oldest gneisses with no μ142Nd anomaly are up to 3.64 Ga in age, indicating that a modern terrestrial 142Nd reservoir was already present by early Archean times.

  20. Quantifying the timescales of Archean UHT metamorphism through U-Pb monazite and zircon petrochronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guevara, V.; MacLennan, S. A.; Schoene, B.; Dragovic, B.; Caddick, M. J.; Kylander-Clark, A. R.; Couëslan, C. G.

    2016-12-01

    Unraveling the timescales of metamorphism is crucial to understanding the mechanisms behind mass/heat transfer through Earth's crust. Though such mechanisms and their durations are becoming well constrained in modern (Phanerozoic) settings, the drivers of metamorphism in the ancient geologic record remain more enigmatic. The development of accessory phase petrochronology has allowed metamorphic evolution to be closely linked to isotopic dates, ultimately improving quantification of metamorphic durations. While in-situ petrochronological methods preserve textural and spatial context, they often lack the temporal resolution required to accurately quantify metamorphic duration in Archean terranes. Here we combine in-situ U-Pb monazite (mnz) and zircon (zrn) laser ablation split-stream (LASS) and high-precision ID-TIMS-TEA petrochronology of distinct grain domains to resolve the timescales of ultrahigh temperature (UHT) metamorphism in the Archean Pikwitonei granulite domain (PGD). The PGD encompasses >1.5x105 km2 of granulite-facies rocks on the NW edge of the Superior Province. Themodynamic modelling of a pelite from the western part of the PGD suggests peak P-T conditions of >8 kbar, 900-940 °C and UHT decompression to 8 kbar followed by cooling. LASS analysis of zrn inclusions in garnet (grt) yields a date of 2701 Ma, with Ti in zrn thermometry yielding T of 800-900 °C. LASS analysis of mnz yields dates of 2720-2680 Ma for low HREE domains with no to shallow negative Eu anomalies, suggestive of growth during plagioclase (plg) breakdown and grt stability. ID-TIMS analysis of a mnz fragment with a strong negative Eu anomaly, suggestive of growth during plg stability, gives a concordant 207Pb/206Pb date of 2666 Ma, consistent with LASS results of 2660-2640 Ma for chemically similar domains. ID-TIMS analyses of zrn rims yield a range of 207Pb/206Pb dates from 2671 to 2656 Ma (±<1 Ma). Ti in zrn yields 800 °C for these rims, indicating they grew at similar T

  1. Seismic imaging of deep crustal melt sills beneath Costa Rica suggests a method for the formation of the Archean continental crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harmon, Nicholas; Rychert, Catherine A.

    2015-11-01

    Continental crust formed billions of years ago but cannot be explained by a simple evolution of primary mantle magmas. A multi-step process is required that likely includes re-melting of wet metamorphosed basalt at high pressures. Such a process could occur at depth in oceanic crust that has been thickened by a large magmatic event. In Central America, variations in geologically inferred, pre-existing oceanic crustal thickness beneath the arc provides an excellent opportunity to study its effect on magma storage, re-melting of meta-basalts, and the potential for creating continental crust. We use surface waves derived from ambient noise tomography to image 6% radially anisotropic structures in the thickened oceanic plateau crust of Costa Rica that likely represent deep crustal melt sills. In Nicaragua, where the arc is forming on thinner oceanic crust, we do not image these deep crustal melt sills. The presence of these deep sills correlates with more felsic arc outputs from the Costa Rican Arc suggesting pre-existing thickened crust accelerates processing of primary basalts to continental compositions. In the Archean, reprocessing thickened oceanic crust by subsequent hydrated hotspot volcanism or subduction zone volcanism may have similarly enhanced formation of early continental crust. This mechanism may have been particularly important if subduction did not initiate until 3 Ga.

  2. 3-D inversion of complex magnetotelluric data from an Archean-Proterozoic terrain in northeastern São Francisco Craton, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bologna, Mauricio S.; Egbert, Gary D.; Padilha, Antonio L.; Pádua, Marcelo B.; Vitorello, Ícaro

    2017-09-01

    We present a magnetotelluric (MT) study in the northeastern part of the São Francisco Craton that encompasses an Archean-Proterozoic terrain, the Serrinha Block, breached by a rift basin developed mostly in Early Cretaceous times during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. Even though the MT sites are regularly spaced, the profiles have different orientations from one another, making the data distribution over the area highly uneven and therefore non-ideal for 3-D modeling. However, the data set is very complex, with dimensionality analysis indicating prevalence of 3-D geoelectric structure. Results from 3-D inversion are evaluated for robustness and potentiality for yielding tectonic information. At upper crustal depths, the resulting 3-D model is coherent with surface geology, whereas at mid and lower crustal depths more cryptic structures are revealed, likely of Palaeoproterozoic age. The most striking features in the model are several strong (∼1 Ωṡm) crustal conductors beneath the central part of the Serrinha Block, which we attribute to a Palaeoproterozoic oceanic plate subduction and arc-continent collision event involving the Rio Itapicuru Greenstone Belt and the basement of the Serrinha Block. The west-dipping geometry of these conductors provides a constraint on subduction polarity and gives support to tectonic evolutionary models proposing that the Rio Itapicuru Belt was formed in an island arc environment.

  3. Molybdenum isotopes in modern marine hydrothermal Fe/Mn deposits: Implications for Archean and Paleoproterozoic Mo cycles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goto, K. T.; Hein, J. R.; Shimoda, G.; Aoki, S.; Ishikawa, A.; Suzuki, K.; Gordon, G. W.; Anbar, A. D.

    2016-12-01

    Molybdenum isotope (δ98/95Mo) variations recorded in Archean and Paleoproterozoic Fe/Mn-rich sediments have been used to constrain ocean redox conditions at the time of deposition (Canfield et al., 2013 PNAS; Planavsky et al., 2014 Nat. Geo.; Kurzweil et al., 2015 GCA). However, except for hydrogenous Fe-Mn crusts (Siebert et al., 2003), δ98/95Mo variation of modern Fe and Mn oxide deposits has been poorly investigated. Marine hydrothermal systems are thought to be the major source of Fe and Mn in Archean and Paleoproterozoic Fe- and Mn-rich sediments. Hence, to accurately interpret Mo isotope data of those ancient sedimentary rocks, it is important to evaluate the possible influence of hydrothermally derived Mo on δ98/95Mo of modern Fe- and Mn-rich sediments. In this study, we analyzed Mo isotopic compositions of one hydrothermal Fe oxide and 15 Mn oxides from five different hydrothermal systems in the modern ocean. The Fe oxide is composed mainly of goethite, and has a δ98/95Mo of 0.7‰, which is 1.4‰ lighter than that of present-day seawater. The observed offset is similar to isotope fractionation observed during adsorption experiments of Mo on goethite (Δ98/95Mogoethite-solution = -1.4 ± 0.5%; Goldberg et al., 2009 GCA). The 15 hydrothermal Mn oxides show large variations in δ98/95Mo ranging from -1.7 to 0.5‰. However, most of the values are similar to those of modern hydrogenous Fe-Mn crusts (Siebert et al., 2003 EPSL), and fall within the range of estimated δ98/95Mo of Mn oxides precipitated from present-day seawater using the isotope offset reported from adsorption experiments (Δ98/95Mo = -2.7 ± 0.3‰; Wasylenki et al., 2008 GCA). These findings indicate that seawater is the dominant source of Mo for modern hydrothermal Fe and Mn deposits. However, the observed large variation indicates that the contribution Mo from local hydrothermal systems is not negligible. The oceanic Mo inventory during the Archean and Paleoproterozoic is thought to be

  4. Geochronology of archean gneisses in the Lake Helen area, Southwestern Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

    Arth, Joseph G.; Barker, F.; Stern, T.W.

    1980-01-01

    The RbSr and UPb methods were used to study gneisses in the 7 1 2-minute Lake Helen quadrangle of the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming. Two episodes of magmatism, deformation and metamorphism occurred during the Archean. Trondhjemitic to tonalitic orthogneisses and amphibolite of the first episode (E-1) are cut by a trondhjemite pluton and a calc-alkaline intrusive series of the second episode (E-2). The E-2 series includes hornblende-biotite quartz diorite, biotite tonalite, biotite granodiorite and biotite granite. A RbSr whole-rock isochron for E-1 gneisses indicates an age of 3007 ?? 34 Ma (1 sigma) and an initial 87Sr/86Sr of 0.7001 ?? 0.0001. UPb determination on zircon from E-1 gneisses yield a concordia intercept age of 2947 ?? 50 Ma. The low initial ratio suggests that the gneisses had no significant crustal history prior to metamorphism, and that the magmas from which they formed had originated from a mafic source. A RbSr whole-rock isochron for E-2 gneisses gives an age of 2801 ?? 31 Ma. The 87Sr/86Sr initial ration is 0.7015 ?? 0.0002 and precludes the existence of the rocks for more than 150 Ma prior to metamorphism. The E-2 magmas may have originated from melting of E-1 gneisses or from a more mafic source. ?? 1980.

  5. Large sulfur-isotope anomaly in nonvolcanic sulfate aerosol and its implications for the Archean atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Shaheen, Robina; Abaunza, Mariana M; Jackson, Teresa L; McCabe, Justin; Savarino, Joël; Thiemens, Mark H

    2014-08-19

    Sulfur-isotopic anomalies have been used to trace the evolution of oxygen in the Precambrian atmosphere and to document past volcanic eruptions. High-precision sulfur quadruple isotope measurements of sulfate aerosols extracted from a snow pit at the South Pole (1984-2001) showed the highest S-isotopic anomalies (Δ(33)S = +1.66‰ and Δ(36)S = +2‰) in a nonvolcanic (1998-1999) period, similar in magnitude to Pinatubo and Agung, the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century. The highest isotopic anomaly may be produced from a combination of different stratospheric sources (sulfur dioxide and carbonyl sulfide) via SOx photochemistry, including photoexcitation and photodissociation. The source of anomaly is linked to super El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) (1997-1998)-induced changes in troposphere-stratosphere chemistry and dynamics. The data possess recurring negative S-isotope anomalies (Δ(36)S = -0.6 ± 0.2‰) in nonvolcanic and non-ENSO years, thus requiring a second source that may be tropospheric. The generation of nonvolcanic S-isotopic anomalies in an oxidizing atmosphere has implications for interpreting Archean sulfur deposits used to determine the redox state of the paleoatmosphere.

  6. Trace element differences between Archean, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic crustal components: Implications for crustal growth processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarney, J.; Wyborn, L. E. A.; Sheraton, J. W.; Wyborn, D.

    1988-01-01

    Critical to models for continental crust growth and recycling are the processes through which crustal growth takes place. In particular, it is important to know whether these processes have changed fundamentally with time in response to the earth's thermal evolution, and whether the crustal compositions generated are compatible with crustal remobilization, crustal recycling, or represent primary additions. There are some significant and consistent differences in the major and trace element compositions of crustal components with time which have important implications for crustal growth processes. These will be illustrated with reference to Archean rocks from a number of shield areas, Proterozoic granitoids from Australia and elsewhere, Palaeozoic granitoids from Australia and Scotland, and Mesozoic - recent granitoids from present continental margin belts. Surprisingly some rather simple and consistent patterns energy using this technique. There are then significant differences in compositions of granitoid crustal additions throughout geological time, with a particular type of granitoid apparently dominating a particular time period. This implies that the tectonic processes giving rise to granite generation have changed in response to the earth's thermal evolution.

  7. Archean high δ18O Mg-diorite: crustal-derived melt hybridized with enriched mafic accumulated rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Dan; Guo, Jing-Hui

    2016-04-01

    The genesis of Mg-diorite or sanukitoids has significances to understand the crustal growth and tectonic style in Archean. The chemical compositions of minerals and rocks, whole-rock Sm-Nd isotope, zircon SIMS U-Pb ages and Hf-O isotopes of Zhulagou (ZLG) Mg-diorite and their mafic enclaves (Yinshan Block, North China Craton) were studied to place constraints on their sources and genesis, and therefore provide information about dynamic processes. The ~2520 Ma ZLG diorites have intermediate SiO2 (59.4-65.5 wt.%), high Mg# (49-52), Cr (90.4-438 ppm), Ni (15.0-95.9 ppm), Sr (436-882 ppm) and Ba (237-1206 ppm) contents with fractionated rare earth elements (REE, LaN/YbN = 9.1-40.5) and depleted high field-strength element (HFSE, e.g. Nb, Ta and Ti). These geochemical signatures are similar to those Archean high-Mg diorites and sanukitoids. However, they are sodic with low K2O/Na2O (0.14-0.49) ratios, exhibiting an affinity with Archean trondhjemite-tonalite-granodiorite (TTG). Abundant coeval amphibole-bearing mafic enclaves (~2525 Ma) are enclosed within the ZLG diorites. They display low SiO2 (46.5-50.3 wt.%) contents but high concentrations of MgO (9.0-14.5 wt.%), Cr (647-1946 ppm) and Ni (197-280 ppm). They are enriched in K2O (0.64-3.43 wt.%) and large ion lithophile element (LILE), depleted in Nb, Ta and Ti. Combined with their concave REE patterns and prominent negative Eu anomaly, we suggest that they are cumulates of the melt which probably derived from subduction-related Archean metasomatized mantle source. Mineral trace element modelling results, similar ɛNd(t) (+0.6 to +2.3) and δ18O(Zrc) values (~8.6-9.0 ‰) of the diorites and mafic enclaves, strongly reflect that they had experienced intense interaction and hybridization. Evolved whole-rock Nd isotopes (TDM = 2.80-2.70 Ga), variable zircon ɛHf (t) (-1.6 to +6.0) and high δ18O (~9.0 ‰) values of the diorites indicate that they most likely originated from melting of an older continental crust (≥ 2

  8. Multiple sulfur isotope characteristics of 3.46-2.7 Ga sedimentary rocks from drill cores of the Archean Biosphere Drilling Project (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, Y.; Ohmoto, H.

    2010-12-01

    As part of the Archean Biosphere Drilling Project (ABDP), we have determined the multiple sulfur isotope ratios and examined the mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of the sulfur-bearing minerals (e.g., pyrite, sphalerite, barite) and the host rocks (e.g., major and trace element chemistry; Corg, Ccarb and S contents; δ13Corg and δ13Ccarb) of >100 samples of sedimentary rocks from five ABDP drill cores in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. The total ranges of Δ33S and δ34S values of the studied samples are -0.9 to +1.2‰ and -4 to +8‰, respectively. We have found that the Δ33S and δ34S relationships show unique values depending on their depositional environment: (1) Pyrites in the 3.46 Ga Marble Bar Chert Member (ABDP #1), which were formed by submarine hydrothermal fluids, show no AIF-S (anomalously fractionated sulfur isotope) signatures: Δ33S = -0.08 to +0.08‰ and δ34S = -3.3 to +0.6‰ (n = 5). This indicates that the H2S presented in the submarine hydrothermal fluid, which was partly generated through seawater sulfate reduction by Fe2+, did not possess AIF-S signatures. (2) Pyrites in organic C-poor lacustrine shales of the 2.76 Ga Hardey Formation (ABDP #3) also show no or very little AIF-S signatures: Δ33S = -0.38 to +0.25‰ and δ34S = -2.7 to +1.9‰ (n = 18). (3) Pyrites in organic C-poor marine shales of the 2.92 Ga Mosquito Creek Formation (ABDP#5) show no or small negative AIF-S signatures: Δ33S = -0.59 to 0.19 ‰ and all positive δ34S = +1.4 to +7.7‰ (n = 24). (4) Pyrites in organic C-rich (> 1 wt%) and hydrothermally altered marine shales in the 3.46 Ga Panorama Formation (ABDP #2) show constant and small positive AIF-S signatures (+0.44 to +0.61‰) and the smallest variation in δ34S (-1.1 to +1.6‰) (n = 35). In contrast, pyrites in organic C-rich shales in the 2.72 Ga Mt. Roe Basalt show negative Δ33S = -0.50 to -0.10‰ and δ34S = -3.7 to 1.8‰ (n = 10). (5) Pyrites in stromatolitic carbonates of the 2.7 Ga

  9. U enrichment and Th/U fractionation in Archean boninites: Implications for paleo-ocean oxygenation and U cycling at juvenile subduction zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manikyamba, C.; Said, Nuru; Santosh, M.; Saha, Abhishek; Ganguly, Sohini; Subramanyam, K. S. V.

    2018-05-01

    Phanerozoic boninites record enrichments of U over Th, giving Th/U: 0.5-1.6, relative to intraoceanic island arc tholeiites (IAT) where Th/U averages 2.6. Uranium enrichment is attributed to incorporation of shallow, oxidized fluids, U-rich but Th-poor, from the slab into the melt column of boninites which form in near-trench to forearc settings of suprasubduction zone ophiolites. Well preserved Archean komatiite-tholeiite, plume-derived, oceanic volcanic sequences have primary magmatic Th/U ratios of 4.4-3.6, and Archean convergent margin IAT volcanic sequences, having REE and HFSE compositions similar to Phanerozoic IAT equivalents, preserve primary Th/U of 4-3.6. The best preserved Archean boninites of the 3.0 Ga Olondo and 2.7 Ga Gadwal greenstone belts, hosted in convergent margin ophiolite sequences, also show relative enrichments of U over Th, with low average Th/U ∼3 relative to coeval IAT, and Phanerozoic counterparts which are devoid of crustal contamination and therefore erupted in an intraoceanic setting, with minimal contemporaneous submarine hydrothermal alteration. Later enrichment of U is unlikely as Th-U-Nb-LREE patterns are coherent in these boninites whereas secondary effects induce dispersion of Th/U ratios. The variation in Th/U ratios from Archean to Phanerozoic boninites of greenstone belts to ophiolitic sequences reflect on genesis of boninitic lavas at different tectono-thermal regimes. Consequently, if the explanation for U enrichment in Phanerozoic boninites also applies to Archean examples, the implication is that U was soluble in oxygenated Archean marine water up to 600 Ma before the proposed great oxygenation event (GOE) at ∼2.4 Ga. This interpretation is consistent with large Ce anomalies in some hydrothermally altered Archean volcanic sequences aged 3.0-2.7 Ga.

  10. Proteomic approach of adaptive response to arsenic stress in Exiguobacterium sp. S17, an extremophile strain isolated from a high-altitude Andean Lake stromatolite.

    PubMed

    Belfiore, Carolina; Ordoñez, Omar F; Farías, María Eugenia

    2013-05-01

    The North-Western part of Argentina is particularly rich in wetlands located in the Puna in an altitude between 3,600 and 4,600 m above sea level. Most of these high-altitude Andean lakes are inhospitable areas due to extreme habitat conditions such as high contents of toxic elements, particularly arsenic. Exiguobacterium sp. S17, isolated from stromatolites in Laguna Socompa, exhibited remarkable tolerance to high arsenic concentration, i.e., it tolerated arsenic concentration such as 10 mM of As(III) and 150 mM of As(V). A proteomics approach was conducted to reveal the mechanisms that provide the observed outstanding resistance of Exiguobacterium sp. S17 against arsenic. A comparative analysis of S17, exposed and unexposed to arsenic revealed 25 differentially expressed proteins. Identification of these proteins was performed by MALDI-TOF/MS revealing upregulation of proteins involved in energy metabolism, stress, transport, and in protein synthesis being expressed under arsenic stress. To our knowledge, this work represents the first proteomic study of arsenic tolerance in an Exiguobacterium strain.

  11. 3. 96 Ga zircons from an Archean quartzite, Beartooth Mountains, Montana

    SciT

    Mueller, P.A.; Wooden, J.L.; Nutman, A.P.

    1992-04-01

    U-Pb isotopic systematics of detrital zircons incorporated in a middle Archean quartzite from the Beartooth Mountains, Montana, were investigated with the SHRIMP ion microprobe. These new data reveal an extended and previously unrecognized record of crustal evolution for the northern Wyoming province. Seventy-eight analyses of 67 grains yielded a range of {sup 207}Pb/{sup 206}Pb ages from 2.69 to 3.96 Ga. Concordant analyses from 43 separate grains defined a maximum age for the deposition of the quartzite of 3.30 Ga; other provenance ages extend to 3.96 Ga. Ages of < 3.30 Ga are generally discordant, and appear to reflect late Archeanmore » disturbance of the U-Pb system, including metamorphism at {approximately}2.8 Ga. The predominance of ages at {approximately}3.3 Ga is interpreted to represent the last major episode of crust formation prior to deposition of the quartzite. The concordant analyses of > 3.30 Ga indicate that older crustal components with ages up to 3.96 Ga, or detritus from them, were also in the provenance of this quartzite. This older age is equivalent to that of the oldest known rock from the Acasta gneisses of the Slave province and is exceeded only by the > 4.0 Ga age of detrital zircons of the Yilgarn block of Western Australia. These data support an increased probability for the survival of sialic crust created before the cessation of the late bombardment at 3.8 to 3.9 Ga.« less

  12. Directional Cluster Analysis on a Sphere: Retrieval of Archean Magnetic Directions from Data with High Dispersion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bono, R. K.; Dare, M. S.; Tarduno, J. A.; Cottrell, R. D.

    2016-12-01

    Magnetic directions from coarse clastic rocks are typically highly scattered, to the point that the null hypothesis that they are drawn from a random distribution, using the iconic test of Watson (1956), cannot be rejected at a high confidence level (e.g. 95%). Here, we use an alternative approach of searching for directional clusters on a sphere. When applied to a new data set of directions from quartzites from the Jack Hills of Western Australia, we find evidence for distinct and meaningful magnetic directions at low (200 to 300 degrees C) and intermediate ( 350 to 450 degrees C) unblocking temperatures, whereas the test of Watson (1956) fails to draw a distinction from random distributions for the ensemble of directions at these unblocking temperature ranges. The robustness of the directional groups identified by the cluster analysis is confirmed by non-parametric resampling tests. The lowest unblocking temperature directional mode appears related to the present day field, perhaps contaminated by viscous magnetizations. The intermediate temperature magnetization matches an overprint recorded by the secondary mineral fuchsite (Cottrell et al., 2016) acquired at ca. 2.65 Ga. These data thus indicate that the Jack Hills carry an overprint at intermediate unblocking temperatures of Archean age. We find no evidence for a 1 Ga remagnetization. In general, the application of cluster analysis on a sphere, with directions confirmed by nonparametric tests, represents a new approach that should be applied when evaluating data with high dispersion, such as those that typically come from weak coarse-grained clastic sedimentary rocks, and/or rocks that have seen several tectonic events that could have imparted multiple magnetic overprints.

  13. The Importance of Transition Metals in the Expanding Network of Microbial Metabolism in the Archean Eon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, E. K.; Jelen, B. I.; Giovannelli, D.; Prabhu, A.; Raanan, H.; Falkowski, P. G.

    2017-12-01

    Deep time changes in Earth surface redox conditions, particularly due to global oxygenation, has impacted the availability of different metals and substrates that are central in biology. Oxidoreductase proteins are molecular nanomachines responsible for all biological electron transfer processes across the tree of life. These enzymes largely contain transition metals in their active sites. Microbial metabolic pathways form a global network of electron transfer, which expanded throughout the Archean eon. Older metabolisms (sulfur reduction, methanogenesis, anoxygenic photosynthesis) accessed negative redox potentials, while later evolving metabolisms (oxygenic photosynthesis, nitrification/denitrification, aerobic respiration) accessed positive redox potentials. The incorporation of different transition metals facilitated biological innovation and the expansion of the network of microbial metabolism. Network analysis was used to examine the connections between microbial taxa, metabolic pathways, crucial metallocofactors, and substrates in deep time by incorporating biosignatures preserved in the geologic record. Nitrogen fixation and aerobic respiration have the highest level of betweenness among metabolisms in the network, indicating that the oldest metabolisms are not the most central. Fe has by far the highest betweenness among metals. Clustering analysis largely separates High Metal Bacteria (HMB), Low Metal Bacteria (LMB), and Archaea showing that simple un-weighted links between taxa, metabolism, and metals have phylogenetic relevance. On average HMB have the highest betweenness among taxa, followed by Archaea and LMB. There is a correlation between the number of metallocofactors and metabolic pathways in representative bacterial taxa, but Archaea do not follow this trend. In many cases older and more recently evolved metabolisms were clustered together supporting previous findings that proliferation of metabolic pathways is not necessarily chronological.

  14. Phantom Archean crust in Mangaia hotspot lavas and the meaning of heterogeneous mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herzberg, C.; Cabral, R. A.; Jackson, M. G.; Vidito, C.; Day, J. M. D.; Hauri, E. H.

    2014-06-01

    Lavas from Mangaia in the Cook-Austral island chain, Polynesia, define an HIMU (or high μ, where μ=U238/Pb204) global isotopic end-member among ocean island basalts (OIB) with the highest 206,207,208Pb/204Pb. This geochemical signature is interpreted to reflect a recycled oceanic crust component in the mantle source. Mass independently fractionated (MIF) sulfur isotopes indicate that Mangaia lavas sampled recycled Archean material that was once at the Earth's surface, likely hydrothermally-modified oceanic crust. Recent models have proposed that crust that is subducted and then returned to the surface in a mantle plume is expected to transform to pyroxenite/eclogite during transit through the mantle. Here we examine this hypothesis for Mangaia using high-precision electron microprobe analysis on olivine phenocrysts. Contrary to expectations of a crustal component and, hence pyroxenite, results show a mixed peridotite and pyroxenite source, with peridotite dominating. If the isotopic compositions were inherited from subduction of recycled oceanic crust, our work shows that this source has phantom-like properties in that it can have its lithological identity destroyed while its isotope ratios are preserved. This may occur by partial melting of the pyroxenite and injection of its silicic melts into the surrounding mantle peridotite, yielding a refertilized peridotite. Evidence from one sample reveals that not all pyroxenite in the melting region was destroyed. Identification of source lithology using olivine phenocryst chemistry can be further compromised by magma chamber fractional crystallization, recharge, and mixing. We conclude that the commonly used terms mantle “heterogeneities” and “streaks” are ambiguous, and distinction should be made of its lithological and isotopic properties.

  15. Deformation history of Archean metasedimentary rocks of the Beartooth mountains in the vicinity of the Mineral Hill mine, Jardine, Montana

    SciT

    Jablinski, J.D.; Holst, T.B.

    1992-09-01

    Archean metasedimentary rocks of the South Snowy Block of the Beartooth Mountains, in the vicinity of Jardine, Montana, consist predominantly of schistose rocks with rare iron formation. These rocks are intruded by Precambrian granitic stocks and minor mafic dikes and sills. Evidence for three phases of folding and late-stage kinking is found within the metasedimentary rocks, whereas rocks of the Crevice Mountain stock (2,700 Ma) are unaffected by any of these events. The first folding event involved the development of isoclinal, recumbent folds of varying scale. F[sub 1] fold hinges are rare, most commonly observed underground in Mineral Hill. Anmore » S[sub 1] schistosity has developed axial planar to these folds. This schistosity, which is subparallel to bedding, is very well developed and ubiquitous in the metasedimentary rocks of the Jardine region. Two later phases of folding are also recognized. F[sub 2] folds are nearly upright with gently to moderately plunging fold hinges. Temperature and pressure conditions during deformation, as revealed by calculations from microprobe analyses, suggest that the peak of metamorphism occurred at a temperature of about 560 C and a pressure of 2.9 kb. Thin section observations indicate that the metamorphic peak accompanied the formation of S[sub 1] schistosity. Structural, metamorphic, and geochemical data are consistent with the hypothesis that the metasedimentary rock of the Jardine region are allochthonous and constitute one of a number of tectonostratigrphic terranes in the western Beartooth Mountains that were juxtaposed tectonically against the western margin of an Archean continent during a Late Archean collisional event.« less

  16. The origin and early evolution of life on earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oro, J.; Miller, Stanley L.; Lazcano, Antonio

    1990-01-01

    Results of the studies that have provided insights into the cosmic and primitive earth environments are reviewed with emphasis on those environments in which life is thought to have originated. The evidence bearing on the antiquity of life on the earth and the prebiotic significance of organic compounds found in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar-system bodies such as comets, dark asteroids, and carbonaceous chondrites are assessed. The environmental models of the Hadean and early Archean earth are discussed, as well as the prebiotic formation of organic monomers and polymers essential to life. The processes that may have led to the appearance in the Archean of the first cells are considered, and possible effects of these processes on the early steps of biological evolution are analyzed. The significance of these results to the study of the distribution of life in the universe is evaluated.

  17. Mineral inclusions in diamonds from the Kelsey Lake Mine, Colorado, USA: Depleted Archean mantle beneath the Proterozoic Yavapai province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schulze, Daniel J.; Coopersmith, Howard G.; Harte, Ben; Pizzolato, Lori-Ann

    2008-03-01

    Thirty-four silicate and oxide inclusions large enough for in situ WDS electron microprobe analysis were exposed by grinding/polishing of 19 diamonds from the Kelsey Lake Mine in the Colorado-Wyoming State Line Kimberlite district. Eighteen olivines, seven Cr-pyropes, four Mg-chromites, and one orthopyroxene in 15 stones belong to the peridotite (P) suite and three garnets and one omphacite in three stones belong to the eclogite (E) suite. The fact that this suite is dominated by the peridotite population is in stark contrast to the other diamond suites studied in the State Line district (Sloan, George Creek), which are overwhelmingly eclogitic. Kelsey Lake olivine inclusions are magnesian (17 of 18 grains in 9 stones are in the range Fo 92.7-93.1), typical of harzburgitic P-suite stones worldwide, but unlike the more Fe-rich (lherzolitic) Sloan olivine suite. Mg-chromites (wt% MgO = 12.8-13.8; wt% Cr 2O 3 = 61.4-66.6) are in the lower MgO range of diamond inclusion chromites worldwide. Seven harzburgitic Cr-pyropes in five stones have moderately low calcium contents (wt% CaO = 3.3-4.3) but are very Cr-rich (wt% Cr 2O 3 = 9.7-16.7). A few stones have been analyzed by SIMS for carbon isotope composition and nitrogen abundance. One peridotitic stone is apparently homogeneous in carbon isotope composition (δ 13C PDB = -6.2‰) but with variable nitrogen abundance (1296-2550 ppm). Carbon isotopes in eclogitic stones range from "normal" for the upper mantle (δ 13C PDB = -5.5‰) to somewhat low (δ 13C PDB = -10.2‰), with little internal variation in individual stones (maximum difference is 3.6‰). Nitrogen contents (2-779 ppm) are lower than in the peridotitic stone, and are lower in cores than in rims. As, worldwide, harzburgite-suite diamonds have been shown to have formed in Archean time, we suggest that the Kelsey Lake diamond population was derived from a block of Archean lithosphere that, at the time of kimberlite eruption, existed beneath the Proterozoic

  18. Helium in the Archean komatiites revisited: significantly high 3He/ 4He ratios revealed by fractional crushing gas extraction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsumoto, Takuya; Seta, Akihiro; Matsuda, Jun-ichi; Takebe, Masamichi; Chen, Yuelong; Arai, Shoji

    2002-03-01

    In order to provide constraints on 3He/ 4He ratios in the Archean mantle source, we have analyzed helium isotopic compositions in 2.7 Ga old Archean komatiites from the Abitibi green stone belt, Ontario, Canada. Two spinifex-textured komatiites yielded significantly high 3He/ 4He ratios of about 30 Ra (where Ra denotes the atmospheric 3He/ 4He ratio) in fractions released by sequential crushing. These results are the first confirmation of the occurrence of high 3He/ 4He ratios in Archean komatiites after the intriguing finding by Richard et al. [Science 273 (1996) 93-95] in komatiites from a nearby locality, Alexo. We also found that the crystal structure of the komatiites was significantly enriched in a radiogenic component ( 4He) and that this 4He was actually degassed by crushing gas extraction, indicating that the nominal 3He/ 4He ratios measured by crushing are lower limits for the 3He/ 4He ratio of the intrinsic component. By constraining the release behavior of radiogenic 4He by crushing, we have estimated the initial 3He/ 4He ratio of the inclusion-trapped component to be 73.0 +7.8-5.5 Ra. A mantle source with such a high 3He/ 4He ratio at 2.7 Ga, if evolved in a closed system, would have a present-day 3He/ 4He ratio of 46-60 Ra, indicating that the komatiites from Munro have trapped their helium from a mantle reservoir with a very high 3He/ 4He ratio in the context of the present-day value. However, whether or not such a source can be considered as equivalent to the primitive mantle source (such that sampled at hotspots) is highly model-dependent. If a closed system evolution model is assumed, helium in the Munro komatiites is not likely to be derived from the mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) source-like reservoir. However, the notion that the komatiites may be derived from a depleted reservoir in terms of trace elemental and isotopic geochemistry might require an alternative view for the 3He/ 4He evolution in ancient mantle reservoirs, as has been

  19. Geochemical and Nd isotopic constraints for the origin of Late Archean turbidites from the Yellowknife area, Northwest Territories, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamashita, Katsuyuki; Creaser, Robert A.

    1999-10-01

    A detailed geochemical and isotopic study of Late Archean turbidites and volcanic rocks from the Yellowknife area, Slave province, was undertaken to constrain the nature of exposed crust at the time of 2.6 to 2.7 Ga crustal consolidation. The ɛNdT values of the volcanic rocks range from +1.7 to -4.4. This variation can be produced by assimilation of pre-2.8 Ga basement by a depleted mantle-derived magma, possibly followed by fractional crystallization. The turbidites are typically metamorphosed to greenschist to amphibolite facies, and where metamorphosed to greenschist facies, different units of Bouma sequence can be observed. The different units of Bouma sequence were sampled and analyzed separately to evaluate the possible differences in geochemical and isotopic signatures. The geochemical data presented here is in accord with the previously proposed model that argues for a mixture of 20% mafic-intermediate volcanic rocks, +55% felsic volcanic rocks, and +25% granitic rocks as a source of these turbidites. However, our revised calculation with the new data presented here argues for 1 to 2% input from an ultramafic source, as well as somewhat higher input from mafic-intermediate volcanic sources in the upper shale units compared to the lower sand units. The ɛNdT values of the turbidites generally are lower in the upper shale units compared to the lower sand units. Detailed inspection of trace-element data suggest that this is not an artifact of rare earth element-rich heavy minerals concentrating in the lower sand units of the turbidites, but rather is a result of “unmixing” of detritus with different ɛNdT values during sediment transportation and deposition. The upper shale units of the turbidites are isotopically compatible with a derivation mainly from crustally contaminated volcanic rocks, similar to those exposed in the Yellowknife area. The lower sand units contain a higher proportion of westerly derived plutonic rock detritus, characterized by

  20. The longevity of Archean mantle residues in the convecting upper mantle and their role in young continent formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Jingao; Scott, James M.; Martin, Candace E.; Pearson, D. Graham

    2015-08-01

    The role played by ancient melt-depleted lithospheric mantle in preserving continental crust through time is critical in understanding how continents are built, disrupted and recycled. While it has become clear that much of the extant Archean crust is underpinned by Archean mantle roots, reports of Proterozoic melt depletion ages for peridotites erupted through Phanerozoic terranes raise the possibility that ancient buoyant lithospheric mantle acts as a "life-raft" for much of the Earth's continental crust. Here we report the largest crust-lithospheric mantle age decoupling (∼2.4 Ga) so far observed on Earth and examine the potential cause for such extreme age decoupling. The Phanerozoic (<300 Ma) continental crust of West Otago, New Zealand, is intruded by Cenozoic diatremes that have erupted cratonic mantle-like highly depleted harzburgites and dunites. These peridotites have rhenium depletion Os model ages that vary from 0.5 to 2.7 Ga, firmly establishing the record of an Archean depletion event. However, the vast range in depletion ages does not correlate with melt depletion or metasomatic tracer indices, providing little support for the presence of a significant volume of ancient mantle root beneath this region. Instead, the chemical and isotopic data are best explained by mixing of relict components of Archean depleted peridotitic mantle residues that have cycled through the asthenosphere over Ga timescales along with more fertile convecting mantle. Extensive melt depletion associated with the "docking" of these melt residues beneath the young continental crust of the Zealandia continent explains the decoupled age relationship that we observe today. Hence, the newly formed lithospheric root incorporates a mixture of ancient and modern mantle derived from the convecting mantle, cooled and accreted in recent times. We argue that in this case, the ancient components played no earlier role in continent stabilization, but their highly depleted nature along with

  1. The Khida terrane - Geochronological and isotopic evidence for Paleoproterozoic and Archean crust in the eastern Arabian Shield of Saudi Arabia

    Whitehouse, M.J.; Stoeser, D.B.; Stacey, J.S.

    2001-01-01

    The Khida terrane of the eastern Arabian Shield of Saudi Arabia has been proposed as being underlain by Paleoproterozoic to Archean continental crust (Stoeser and Stacey, 1988). Detailed geological aspects of the Khida terrane, particularly resulting from new fieldwork during 1999, are discussed in a companion abstract (Stoeser et al., this volume). We present conventional and ion- microprobe U-Pb zircon geoenronology, Nd whole-rock, and feldspar Pb isotopic data that further elucidate the pre-Pan-African evolution of the Khida terrane. Locations for the Muhayil samples described below are shown in figure 2 of Stoeser et al. (this volume). 

  2. Geological Mapping of the North Polar Region of Venus (V-1 Snegurochka Planitia): Significant Problems and Comparisons to the Earth's Archean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Head, James W.; Hurwitz, D. M.; Ivanov, M. A.; Basilevsky, A. T.; Kumar, P. Senthil

    2008-01-01

    The geological features, structures, thermal conditions, interpreted processes, and outstanding questions related to both the Earth's Archean and Venus share many similarities and we are using a problem-oriented approach to Venus mapping, guided by perspectives from the Archean record of the Earth, to gain new insight into both. The Earth's preserved and well-documented Archean record provides important insight into high heat-flux tectonic and magmatic environments and structures and Venus reveals the current configuration and recent geological record of analogous high-temperature environments unmodified by subsequent several billion years of segmentation and overprinting, as on Earth. We have problems on which progress might be made through comparison. Here we present the major goals of the geological mapping of the V-1 Snegurochka Planitia Quadrangle, and themes that could provide important insights into both planets:

  3. Tidal regime of intact planetoid capture model for the Earth-Moon system: Does it relate to the archean sedimentary rock record?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malcuit, Robert J.; Winters, Ronald R.

    1993-01-01

    Regardless of one's favorite model for the origin of the Earth-Moon system (fission, coformation, tidal capture, giant-impact) the early history of lunar orbital evolution would produce significant thermal and earth and ocean tidal effects on the primitive earth. Three of the above lunar origin models (fission, coformation, giant-impact) feature a circular orbit which undergoes a progressive increase in orbital radius from the time of origin to the present time. In contrast, a tidal capture model places the moon in an elliptical orbit undergoing progressive circularization from the time of capture (for model purposes about 3.9 billion years ago) for at least a few 10(exp 8) years following the capture event. Once the orbit is circularized, the subsequent tidal history for a tidal capture scenario is similar to that for other models of lunar origin and features a progressive increase in orbital radius to the current state of the lunar orbit. This elliptical orbit phase, if it occurred, should have left a distinctive signature in the terrestrial and lunar rock records. Depositional events would be associated terrestrial shorelines characterized by abnormally high, but progressively decreasing, ocean tidal amplitudes and ranges associated with such an orbital evolution. Several rock units in the age range 3.6-2.5 billion years before present are reported to have a major tidal component. Examples are the Warrawoona, Fortescue, and Hamersley Groups of Western Australia and the Pangola and Witwatersand Supergroups of South Africa. Detailed study of the features of these tidal sequences may be helpful in deciphering the style of lunar orbital evolution during the Archean Eon.

  4. Formation of the Archean crust of the ancient Vodlozero domain (Baltic shield)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arestova, N. A.; Chekulaev, V. P.; Lobach-Zhuchenko, S. B.; Kucherovskii, G. A.

    2015-03-01

    The available geological, petrological, and isotopic data on Archean rocks of the Baltic shield are used to analyze the formation of the crust of the ancient Vodlozero domain. This made it possible to reveal the succession of endogenic processes in different parts of the domain and correlate them between each other. Several stages of magmatic processes reflecting changes in magma-generation environments are definable in the crust formation. The earliest stages of magmatism (3.24 and 3.13-3.15 Ga) are mostly represented by rocks of the tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite association. The next stage of endogenic activity (3020-2900 Ma) was marked by the formation of volcanics of the komatiite-basalt and andesite-dacite associations constituting greenstone belts in marginal parts of the Vodlozero domain and basic dikes accompanied by layered pyroxenite-norite-diorite intrusion in its central part. These basic bodies crossing earlier tonalities were formed in extension settings related to the formation of the mantle plume, which is confirmed by the rock composition. This stage culminated in the formation of trondhjemites at margins of greenstone structure. The next stage of endogenic activity commenced at 2890-2840 Ma by the emplacement of high-magnesian gabbro and diorite dikes in the western margin of the domain, where they cross rocks of the tonalitetrondhjemite association. This stage was marked by the formation of intermediate-acid subvolcanic bodies and dikes as well as basite intrusions including the layered and differentiated Semch intrusion, the largest one in the Vodlozero domain. The stage culminated at approximately 2850 Ma in the emplacement of tonalities of the limited distribution being represented by the Shilos massif in the north of the domain and Shal'skii massif on the eastern shore of Lake Onega. The important stage in the geological history of the Vodlozero domain is the formation of the intracratonic Matkalakhta greenstone belt at approximately 2

  5. The geochemical nature of the Archean Ancient Gneiss Complex and Granodiorite Suite, Swaziland: a preliminary study

    Hunter, D.R.; Barker, F.; Millard, H.T.

    1978-01-01

    The Ancient Gneiss Complex (AGC) of Swaziland, an Archean gray gneiss complex, lies southeast and south of the Barberton greenstone belt and includes the most structurally complex and highly metamorphosed portions of the eastern Kaapvaal craton. The AGC is not precisely dated but apparently is older than 3.4 Ga. The AGC consists of three major units: (a) a bimodal suite of closely interlayered siliceous, low-K gneisses and metabasalt; (b) homogeneous tonalite gneiss; and (c) interlayered siliceous microcline gneiss, metabasalt, and minor metasedimentary rocks - termed the metamorphite suite. A geologically younger gabbro-diorite-tonalite-trondhjemite suite, the Granodiorite Suite, is spatially associated with the AGC and intrusive into it. The bimodal suite consists largely of two types of low-K siliceous gneiss: one has SiO2 14%, low Rb/Sr ratios, and depleted heavy rare earth elements (REE's); the other has SiO2 > 75%, Al2O3 < 13%, high Rb/Sr ratios, and relatively abundant REE's except for negative Eu anomalies. The interlayered metabasalt ranges from komatiitic to tholeiitic compositions. Lenses of quartz monzonitic gneiss of K2O/Na2O close to 1 form a minor part of the bimodal suite. Tonalitic to trondhjemitic migmatite locally is abundant and has major-element abundances similar to those of non-migmatitic varieties. The siliceous gneisses of the metamorphic suite show low Al2O, K2O/Na2O ratios of about 1, high Rb/Sr ratios, moderate REE abundances and negative Eu anomalies. K/Rb ratios of siliceous gneisses of the bimodal suite are very low (???130); of the tonalitic gneiss, low (???225); of the siliceous gneiss of the metamorphite suite, moderate (???300); and of the Granodiorite Suite, high (???400). Rocks of the AGC differ geochemically in several ways from the siliceous volcanic and hypabyssal rocks of the Upper Onverwacht Group and from the diapirs of tonalite and trondhjemite that intrude the Swaziland Group. ?? 1978.

  6. The petrology, structure and geochemistry of an Archean terrane in the North Snowy Block, Beartooth Mountains, Montana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mogk, D. W.

    1984-12-01

    Six major rock units in the North Snowy Block in an Archean mobile belt are recognized between all units representing discontinuities in metamorphic grade, structural style, geochemistry, and isotopic ages. Four of the units occur in NE trending linear belts; the Basement Gneiss; the phyllitic Davis Creek Schist; the mount cowen augen gneis; the Paragneiss unit. Overlying the linear units is the 3.2 Ga old Pine Creek Nappe Complex, an isoclinally folded, middle to upper amphibolite facies, thrust nappe consisting of the Barney Creek Amphibolite, George Lake Marble and Jewel Quartzite. The highest structural units, including a thick sequence of upper amphibolite grade supracrustal rocks and a lower section of injected 3.4 Ga old granitic to tonalitic migmatitic rocks were emplaced on the Columbine Thrust. It is shown that there was secular variation in tectonic style in the Archean of southwest Montana. Three stages are recognized: (1) melting of ancient matic crust produced trondhjemitic continental nuclei; (2) numerous ensialic basins were created and destroyed, resulting in high grade metamorphism and mignatization of supracrustal rocks; and (3) contemporary style plate tectonics resulted in generation of large volumes of andesities and calc-alkaline granitic rocks, transcurrent faulting, and thrust faulting.

  7. Early Archean Spherule Beds: Chromium Isotopes Confirm Origin through Multiple Impacts of Projectiles of Carbonaceous Chondrite Type: Comment and Reply

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kyte, Frank T.

    2003-01-01

    This is a exchange in the form of a comment and a reply in regards to an earlier article. The authors of the original article, consider it likely that virtually all of the projectile will condense with the silicate fraction, resulting in very little platinum group element fractionation in the final ejecta deposit. Further, we find no evidence in the commentator's, (i.e., Glikson), comment to support vapor fractionation. We note that the Pd/Ir ratios of published data on 2.56 Ga Hamersley Basin spherules are all greater than in chondrites, contrary to the assertion by Glikson. This is consistent with relatively high Pd concentrations (and Pd/Ir ratios) in crustal rocks.

  8. Late Archean greenstone tectonics: Evidence for thermal and thrust-loading lithospheric subsidence from stratigraphic sections in the Slave Province, Canada

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kidd, W. S. F.; Kusky, T. M.; Bradley, D. C.

    1988-01-01

    How late Archean tectonics could be seen to have operated in the Slave Province is illustrated. Lithospheric thinning and stretching, with the formation of rifted margins (to continental or island arc fragments), and lithospheric flexural loading of the kind familiar in arcs and mountain belts could be discerned.

  9. SHRIMP-RG U-Pb isotopic systematics of zircon from the Angel Lake orthogneiss, East Humboldt Range, Nevada: Is this really archean crust?

    Premo, Wayne R.; Castineiras, Pedro; Wooden, Joseph L.

    2008-01-01

    New SHRIMP-RG (sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe-reverse geometry) data confirm the existence of Archean components within zircon grains of a sample from the orthogneiss of Angel Lake, Nevada, United States, previously interpreted as a nappe of Archean crust. However, the combined evidence strongly suggests that this orthogneiss is a highly deformed, Late Cretaceous monzogranite derived from melting of a sedimentary source dominated by Archean detritus. Zircon grains from the same sample used previously for isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) isotopic work were analyzed using the SHRIMP-RG to better define the age and origin of the orthogneiss. Prior to analysis, imaging revealed a morphological variability and intragrain, polyphase nature of the zircon population. The SHRIMP-RG yielded 207Pb/206Pb ages between ca. 2430 and 2580 Ma (a best-fit mean 207Pb/206Pb age of 2531 ± 19 Ma; 95% confidence) from mostly rounded to subrounded zircons and zircon components (cores). In addition, several analyses from rounded to subrounded cores or grains yielded discordant 207Pb/206Pb ages between ca. 1460 and ca. 2170 Ma, consistent with known regional magmatic events. All cores of Proterozoic to latest Archean age were encased within clear, typically low Th/U (206Pb/238U ages between 72 and 91 Ma, consistent with magmatic ages from Lamoille Canyon to the south. An age of ca. 90 Ma is suggested, the younger 206Pb/238U ages resulting from Pb loss. The Cretaceous and Precambrian zircon components also have distinct trace element characteristics, indicating that these age groups are not related to the same igneous source. These results support recent geophysical interpretations and negate the contention that the Archean-Proterozoic boundary extends into the central Great Basin area. They further suggest that the world-class gold deposits along the Carlin Trend are not underlain by Archean cratonal crust, but rather by the Proterozoic Mojave

  10. The origin of jarosite associated with a gossan on Archean gneiss in Southwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Y.; Pratt, L. M.; Young, S. A.; Cadieux, S. B.; White, J. R.

    2013-12-01

    The mineral Jarosite [KFe3(SO4)2(OH)6] since its discovery, by Opportunity rover at Meridiani Planum on Mars, has been the subject of intense geochemical and environmental study over the last 5-10 years. Jarosite requires highly acidic, K-enriched, and oxidizing aqueous conditions for formation. Stable isotopes of O, H, and S of jarosite have the ability to record the temperatures of formation, environments of deposition, fluids, and fluid/atmospheric interactions. Therefore, the origin of jarosite is important for understanding present and past environmental conditions on Mars. Unfortunately, the origin of jarosite on Mars remains unclear. Jarosite is commonly found on Earth in the weathering zones of pyrite-bearing ore deposits, near-surface playa sediments in acid-saline lakes, or epithermal environments and hot springs. Here, we report the occurrence of jarosite in association with a gossan overlying weathered Archean gneiss and Paleoproterozoic mafic dikes at the ice-free margin of southwestern Greenland. In our 2012 field campaign, we excavated soil pits to a depth of 40 cm with a high vertical sampling resolution. No visible pyrite was found in the nearby outcroppings of gneiss in the field. XRD data show that all samples were composed of anorthite, quartz, albite, jarosite, muscovite, and microcline. Jarosite was the only sulfur-bearing mineral identified by XRD, with abundance of jarosite increasing with depth (up to 8.4 wt. %) in the soil pits. Water soluble and acid soluble sulfate were sequentially extracted using 10% NaCl and 2N HCl solutions, respectively. Pyrite was then subsequently extracted from insoluble residues by a chromium reduction method. The average abundance of water soluble sulfate, acid soluble sulfate, and pyrite were 100 ppm, 7 wt. %, and 10 ppm, respectively. The δ34S values of water soluble sulfate, acid soluble sulfate, and pyrite range from -0.7‰ to 3.1‰ (average= 1.5‰), -1.2 to 1.5‰ (average= 0.7‰), and 0.3‰ to 6.7

  11. Returning from the deep: Archean atmospheric fingerprints in modern hotspot lavas (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, M. G.; Cabral, R. A.; Rose-Koga, E. F.; Koga, K. T.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Antonelli, M. A.; Farquhar, J.; Day, J. M.; Hauri, E. H.

    2013-12-01

    Ocean plates transport surface materials, including oceanic crust and sediment, into the mantle at subduction zones. However, the fate of the subducted package--oceanic crust and sediment--in the mantle is poorly understood. A long-standing hypothesis maintains that subducted materials reside in the mantle for an extended, but unknown, period of time and are then recycled back to the Earth's surface in regions of buoyantly upwelling mantle and melted beneath hotspots. Sulfur isotopes provide an important new tool to evaluate the presence of ancient recycled materials in hotspot lavas. Widespread terrestrial mass independently fractionated sulfur (MIF-S) isotope signatures were generated exclusively through atmospheric photochemical reactions until ~2.45 Ga. In fact, the only significant reservoirs of MIF-S containing rocks documented so far are sediments and hydrothermal rocks older than ~2.45 Ga. Armed with this insight, we examined sulfur isotopes in olivine phenocrysts and olivine-hosted sulfides in lavas from the island of Mangaia, Cook Islands. Lavas from this location host unusually radiogenic Pb-isotopic compositions--referred to as a HIMU (high U/Pb) component--and this has been attributed to ancient recycled oceanic crust in the mantle source. In Cabral et al. (2013), we report MIF-S in olivine phenocrysts and olivine-hosted sulfides. The discovery of MIF-S isotopic signatures in young hotspot lavas appears to provide a "timestamp" and "signature" for preservation of subducted Archean surface materials in the mantle sourcing Mangaia lavas. We report new sulfur isotope data on olivine-hosted sulfides from the Mangaia lavas that reinforce our discovery of MIF-S anomalies reported in Cabral et al. (2013). We also report new sulfur isotopic data on Mangaia whole rock powders, and we find no evidence of MIF-S signatures. It is not yet clear why the individual Mangaia sulfides and the olivine separates have more extreme MIF-S than the whole rocks. We consider it

  12. Experimental constraints on reconstruction of Archean seawater Ni isotopic composition from banded iron formations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Shui-Jiong; Wasylenki, Laura E.

    2017-06-01

    % of total Ni, presumably surface-adsorbed) that were isotopically heavier (δ60/58Ni = +0.11 ± 0.06‰) than the residues (presumably dominated by incorporated Ni), which had δ60/58Ni of -0.26 ± 0.07‰. The preference of lighter isotopes for the incorporated Ni relative to the surface-adsorbed Ni after phase transformation (most had been released into solution) is probably due to distortion of Nisbnd O octahedra in the hematite structure, with weaker Nisbnd O bond strengths on average. Hence, the more variable Δ60/58Nisolution-solid values (-0.04 to +0.77‰) observed in hematite experiments most likely reflect thermodynamically driven Rayleigh fractionation, with incorporated Ni unavailable to exchange with dissolved Ni due to continuous reduction in size of the highly reactive surface pool of Ni, through which all solid-solution exchange must occur. Overall, the synthesized hematite was isotopically lighter than the ferrihydrite by ∼0.08‰ in δ60/58Ni, which is however within the current analytical uncertainties (±0.09‰). This implies that earliest diagenesis of BIFs results in very limited change in the isotopic composition of solid-associated Ni. Our experimental results, although conducted in a very simple system that differs from Archean seawater, represent an important step toward reconstruction of the Ni isotopic composition of ancient seawater from Ni isotopic signatures in BIFs.

  13. Morphological and chemical evidence of stromatolitic deposits in the 2.75 Ga Carajás banded iron formation, Brazil

    Ribeiro da Luz, Beatriz; Crowley, James K.

    2012-01-01

    We describe evidence of biogenicity in the morphology and carbon content of well-preserved, Neoarchean samples of banded iron formation (BIF) from Carajás, Brazil. Silica-rich BIF layers contain translucent ellipsoidal or trapezoidal structures (∼5–10 μm diameter) composed of silica, hematite, and kerogen, which are arranged in larger ring-like forms (rosettes). Stable carbon isotope analysis yields a δ13C value of −24.5‰ indicating that the contained carbon is likely biogenic. Raman and SEM analyses, as well as wavelength-dispersive X-ray elemental maps, show kerogen inside the rosette forms. Within the iron-rich BIF layers, tubular structures (0.5–5 μm) were observed between hematite granules and blades. Kerogen and kaolinite are present in these structures. Both the rosettes and the tubular structures resemble morphologies that are characteristic of some bacterial species.We hypothesize that the Carajás BIFs originated as biomats formed by one or more species that over time produced large stromatolitic structures. The rosettes and the tubular structures, associated with chert-rich and iron-rich BIF layers, respectively, may represent two different species, or perhaps, two phases of a bacterium life cycle. For example, some modern myxobacteria exhibit similar morphologies in their resting and vegetative stages.Fe(III) precipitation may have occurred by contact of Fe(II) with bacterial slime, leading to oxidation by chemical reactions with exposed polysaccharide hydroxyl and carboxyl groups. The Fe(III) would then have been available for use as a source of energy in a dissimilatory iron reduction type of metabolism. Organic carbon input presumably came from primary producers (not necessarily aerobic) within the local water column, perhaps in shallow-water communities. Alternatively, the carbon may have originated by Fischer–Tropsch synthesis at ocean hydrothermal vents. The observed lateral continuity of BIF layers may perhaps be explained by

  14. Age and composition of Archean crystalline rocks from the southern Madison Range, Montana. Implications for crustal evolution in the Wyoming craton

    SciT

    Mueller, P.A.; Shuster, R.D.; Wooden, J.L.

    1993-04-01

    The southern Madison Range of southwestern Montana contains two distinct Precambrian lithologic assemblages: (1) a complex of tonalitic to granitic gneisses that has been thrust over (2) a medium-grade metasupracrustal sequence dominated by pelitic schist. Crystallization ages for the protolith of a granodioritic gneiss that intruded the metasupracrustal sequence ([approximately]2.6 Ga)-along with an intercalated meta-andesite ([approximately]2.7 Ga) confirm the sequence as Archean. Chemical (major and trace element), isotopic (Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Pb-Pb), and geochronologic (U-Pb zircon) data for selected components of the gneiss complex indicate two groups of gneisses: an older, tonalitic to trondhjemitic group ([approximately]3.3 Ga) and a younger, mostlymore » granitic group ([approximately]2.7 Ga). Both groups of gneisses exhibit the radiogenic Pb and nonradiogenic Nd isotopic signature characteristic of Middle and Late Archean rocks from throughout the Wyoming province. The older gneisses, in particular, appear to be compositionally, isotopically, and chronologically comparable to other Middle Archean gneisses from the northern part of the province (for example, Beartooth Mountains). The Late Archean gneisses, however, exhibit some distinct differences relative to their temporal counterparts, including (1) trace-element patterns that are more suggestive of crustal melts than subduction activity and (2) higher initial Sr isotopic ratios that suggest more involvement of older crust in their petrogenesis. These comparisons suggest that the juxtaposition of Late Archean terranes in the northern Wyoming province was the result, at least in part, of intracratonic processes. 41 refs., 6 figs., 2 tabs.« less

  15. Rethinking early Earth phosphorus geochemistry

    PubMed Central

    Pasek, Matthew A.

    2008-01-01

    Phosphorus is a key biologic element, and a prebiotic pathway leading to its incorporation into biomolecules has been difficult to ascertain. Most potentially prebiotic phosphorylation reactions have relied on orthophosphate as the source of phosphorus. It is suggested here that the geochemistry of phosphorus on the early Earth was instead controlled by reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds such as phosphite (HPO32−), which are more soluble and reactive than orthophosphates. This reduced oxidation state phosphorus originated from extraterrestrial material that fell during the heavy bombardment period or was produced during impacts, and persisted in the mildly reducing atmosphere. This alternate view of early Earth phosphorus geochemistry provides an unexplored route to the formation of pertinent prebiotic phosphorus compounds, suggests a facile reaction pathway to condensed phosphates, and is consistent with the biochemical usage of reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in life today. Possible studies are suggested that may detect reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in ancient Archean rocks. PMID:18195373

  16. Rethinking early Earth phosphorus geochemistry.

    PubMed

    Pasek, Matthew A

    2008-01-22

    Phosphorus is a key biologic element, and a prebiotic pathway leading to its incorporation into biomolecules has been difficult to ascertain. Most potentially prebiotic phosphorylation reactions have relied on orthophosphate as the source of phosphorus. It is suggested here that the geochemistry of phosphorus on the early Earth was instead controlled by reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds such as phosphite (HPO(3)(2-)), which are more soluble and reactive than orthophosphates. This reduced oxidation state phosphorus originated from extraterrestrial material that fell during the heavy bombardment period or was produced during impacts, and persisted in the mildly reducing atmosphere. This alternate view of early Earth phosphorus geochemistry provides an unexplored route to the formation of pertinent prebiotic phosphorus compounds, suggests a facile reaction pathway to condensed phosphates, and is consistent with the biochemical usage of reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in life today. Possible studies are suggested that may detect reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in ancient Archean rocks.

  17. Consequences of an Immense Hadean-Archean Heat Flux that Results from Virial Theorem Constraints on the Earth's Initial Axial Spin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmeister, A. M.; Criss, R. E.

    2016-12-01

    Early Earth conditions were largely erased, but the powerful Virial Theorem (VT) constrains Earth's post-accretion state, which largely dictates subsequent thermal and dynamical evolution. Proposals of huge initial inventories of primordial heat are based on Kelvin's disproven theory of starlight. Rather, the VT requires that gravitational potential of the Solar nebula was converted to rotational energy in a conservative, bound accretionary system, which is confirmed by planetary orbit characteristics. In addition, the VT relates axial spin to gravitational self-potential (Ug,self) of each body [2016 Can. J. Phys. p. 380]. From the VT, ½Ug,self binds the body and is unavailable, but spin energy (SE), also equal to ½Ug,self, degrades while gradually evolving heat via friction. The VT likewise restricts primordial heat of core formation, and is consistent with entropy reduction due to ordering and volume restriction [2015 J. Earth Sci., p. 124]. High initial Virial spin is confirmed by (1) data on young stars, (2) independent projections of Earth's initial spin as 2-17 hrs (from fossils and the current rate of spin loss: Lathe 2006), and (3) current SE for all planets defining a power-law trend with Ug,self, which further requires a universal cause for spin loss [2012 Planet. Space Sci. p. 111]. Spin loss is caused by tidal friction and differential rotation of layers. Dissipation is concentrated in the upper layers and especially in the brittle zone, which are much weaker than the highly compressed, essentially hydrostatic interior. With friction, neither mechanical energy nor angular momentum are conserved. Earth's frictional dissipation is immense. Uniform release over time would provide 300-700 TW. This source dominated heat generation for 2 Ga, whereas radiogenic heat dominates today. Exponential spin down suggests 100x more heat production during the Hadean than now, which obliterated early rocks while promoting outgassing and differentiation. Reduction to 10

  18. Extreme Hafnium Values in Archean Banded Iron Formations: Evidence for Sedimentary Lu/Hf Fractionation at 3.2 Ga or Diagenesis?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, I. S.; Agranier, A.; Heubeck, C. E.; Köhler, I.; Homann, M.; Tripati, A. K.; Nonnotte, P.; Ponzevera, E.; Lalonde, S.

    2017-12-01

    The emergence of continental crust above sea level in the early Precambrian would have created the first terrestrial habitats, and initiated atmosphere-driven weathering of the continents, yet the history of continental emergence is largely unknown[1]. Precambrian chemical sediments, specifically Banded Iron Formation (BIF), appear to have sampled the Hf-Nd isotope composition of ancient seawater, and may preserve a historical record of the emergence of the continental landmass[2] via Lu/Hf fractionation induced by subaerial differential weathering[3,4]. However, paired Hf-Nd isotope data are available for only one BIF to date, indicating appreciable emerged continental landmass ca. 2.7 Ga[2]. Our work extends this record back into the Eo- and Meso-Archean using samples of 3.8 Ga BIF from Isua, Greenland, and 3.2 Ga BIF from the Moodies Group, S. Africa. Isua samples appear to have been altered by amphibolite-grade metamorphism, however Moodies Group samples appear primary, having experienced significantly lower metamorphic grades. Moodies samples appear to retain their primary seawater signatures, however, their range of ˜Hf(i) values, from -54.6 to +40.7, is among the most extreme ever reported. Such extreme values may be indicative of one of several possibilities: unusual and intense sedimentary Lu/Hf fractionation during the Mesoarchean relative to today, sampling of a continuum of compositions from two sources with distinct Hf-compositions, or the result of early diagenetic processes occurring soon after the deposition of the Moodies Group BIF. These results suggest that interpretation of ˜Hf and ˜Nd data from BIF is not as straightforward as previously suggested[2], and positive ˜Hf values are not necessarily indicative of emerged continental crust. [1] Flament et al. (2013), Precambrian Research, 229, 177-188. [2] Veihmann et al. (2014), Geology, 42, 115-118. [3] Bayon et al. (2006), Geology, 34, 433-436. [4] Vervoort et al. (2011), Geochimica et

  19. UAV Photogrammetry of Inflated Komatiite Flow Lobes in an Archean Bimodal Volcanic Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnes, S. J.; Dering, G.

    2016-12-01

    Previous studies of large komatiite fields in Archean greenstone belts in Western Australia and elsewhere have led to the suggestion that komatiite lavas were emplaced by similar mechanisms to modern pahoehoe flows, notwithstanding the very low viscosities and sea-floor eruption setting. Of komatiites. We use UAV photogrammetry to identify and map inflation features characteristic of modern pahoehoe flows in Archean komatiites at the Gordon Sirdar Lake locality near Kalgoorlie. Komatiite lavas, forming part of the 2705 Ma old plume-related bimodal volcanic sequence of the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn Craton, were emplaced within a sequence of dacitic lava flows and semi-consolidated tuffs. The sequence was tilted to the vertical on the flanks of a regional isoclinal fold, and is exposed as partially weathered outcrop in the bed of a playa lake. Komatiite lava lobes form characteristic lenticular cross sections ranging from 1-6 m thick and up to 20m long, in some cases with lower margins draped over pre-existing dacite flow tops, and in others showing invasive textures implying eruption onto or into wet sediment. Inflation features include tumuli, inflation clefts, breakouts, and terraced margins. Spinifex textures are preserved locally at flow tops and rarely at bases. High temperature (>1400 C) and low viscosities (<50 Pa s) of komatiites evidently do not preclude inflation as an emplacement mechanism of individual flows. Flow-top morphology has been used to identify inflation of basaltic lava flows in Martian environments. We suggest these criteria may be extended to the possible recognition of Martian komatiites.

  20. Updating the Geologic Barcodes for South China: Discovery of Late Archean Banded Iron Formations in the Yangtze Craton.

    PubMed

    Ye, Hui; Wu, Chang-Zhi; Yang, Tao; Santosh, M; Yao, Xi-Zhu; Gao, Bing-Fei; Wang, Xiao-Lei; Li, Weiqiang

    2017-11-08

    Banded iron formations (BIFs) in Archean cratons provide important "geologic barcodes" for the global correlation of Precambrian sedimentary records. Here we report the first finding of late Archean BIFs from the Yangtze Craton, one of largest Precambrian blocks in East Asia with an evolutionary history of over 3.3 Ga. The Yingshan iron deposit at the northeastern margin of the Yangtze Craton, displays typical features of BIF, including: (i) alternating Si-rich and Fe-rich bands at sub-mm to meter scales; (ii) high SiO 2  + Fe 2 O 3total contents (average 90.6 wt.%) and Fe/Ti ratios (average 489); (iii) relative enrichment of heavy rare earth elements and positive Eu anomalies (average 1.42); (iv) and sedimentary Fe isotope compositions (δ 56 Fe IRMM-014 as low as -0.36‰). The depositional age of the BIF is constrained at ~2464 ± 24 Ma based on U-Pb dating of zircon grains from a migmatite sample of a volcanic protolith that conformably overlied the Yingshan BIF. The BIF was intruded by Neoproterozoic (805.9 ± 4.7 Ma) granitoids that are unique in the Yangtze Craton but absent in the North China Craton to the north. The discovery of the Yingshan BIF provides new constraints for the tectonic evolution of the Yangtze Craton and has important implications in the reconstruction of Pre-Nuna/Columbia supercontinent configurations.

  1. Granitoid formation is ineffective in isotopically homogenizing continental crust: Evidence from archean rocks of the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming

    SciT

    Frost, C.D.; Hulsebosch, T.P.; Chamberlain, K.R.

    1992-01-01

    The Archean core of the Laramide Wind River uplift records evidence of at least three major granitoid-forming episodes. The oldest, the Dry Creek gneiss (DCG), was emplaced by 2.8 Ga and occupies the northeastern part of the range. Mafic, pelitic and ultramafic inclusions occur in the DCG. Elsewhere in the Wind River Mountains there is evidence for crustal components as old as 3.8 Ga. The Bridger batholith (BB), intruded at 2.67 Ga, is found in the west-central Wind River Mountains. The Wind River batholith (WRB) refers to the youngest Late Archean granodiorites and granites which are found throughout the rangemore » and includes granitoids previously name the Louis Lake, Bears Ears, Popo Agie, and Middle Mountain intrusions. Although granitoids of the Wind River batholith have been dated at 2.63 and 2.55 Ga, they are considered together here because there is a complete gradation in rock type and because definite intrusive contacts are scarce. The DCG, BB, and WRB each span the metaluminous/peraluminous boundary and are indistinguishable on Harker diagrams. Each has variable trace element and isotopic characteristics which do not correlate with silica content. Although the isotopic characteristics of these granitoids may be explained by mixing of variable amounts of preexisting continental crust and contemporary depleted mantle, this hypothesis is difficult to reconcile with the evolved nature of even those samples with the most mantle-like isotopic signatures. The authors suggest that each of these granitoid batholiths was formed primarily by remelting of pre-existing heterogeneous continental crust, and that the granite-forming process was not effective in obliterating these trace element and isotopic heterogeneities. Isotopic homogeneity in granitoid batholiths may reflect the isotopic homogeneity of their sources rather than an effective magmatic mixing process.« less

  2. Cyclic formation and stabilization of Archean lithosphere by accretionary orogenesis: Constraints from TTG and potassic granitoids, North China Craton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Wei; Cawood, Peter A.; Liu, Shuwen; Guo, Rongrong; Bai, Xiang; Wang, Kang

    2017-09-01

    Accretionary orogens are major sites of modern continental growth, yet their role in the development of Archean continental crust remains enigmatic. Diverse granitoid suites from tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) to potassic granitoids appeared during late Archean, representing a period of major continental formation and stabilization. In this study, whole-rock geochemical and zircon U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopic data are reported for Neoarchean granitoid gneisses from the Northern Liaoning Terrane, northeastern North China Craton (NCC). Older granitoid gneisses ( 2592-2537 Ma) define three magmatic zones migrating from southeast to northwest, each showing a common magmatic evolution from high-pressure TTGs to medium-/low-pressure TTGs and potassic granitoids. They have depleted zircon ƐHf(t) of +0.5 to +8.7. Younger 2529-2503 Ma potassic granitoids and TTGs occur throughout the terrane, which are marked by variable zircon ƐHf(t) of -4.7 to +8.1, and are coeval with regional high-grade metamorphism. Petrogenetic modeling and changing Sr/Y and (La/Yb)N of the granitoids suggest that the crust experienced episodic thickening and thinning and became progressively evolved through development of potassic granitoids and sedimentary successions. The metavolcanic basement to the granitoids display tholeiitic to calc-alkaline affinities, together with the top-to-the-northwest thrusting and associated volcanogenic massive sulfide-type Cu-Zn deposits, suggesting cyclic crustal formation of Northern Liaoning within an accretionary orogen with a SE-dipping subduction polarity. Cyclic crustal thickening and thinning is related to tectonic switching from advancing to retreating relations between the downgoing and overriding plate. After 2530 Ma, this accretionary system accreted to the ancient continental nucleus of NCC (Anshan-Benxi Terrane), signifying final lithosphere stabilization.

  3. Extreme 13Ccarb enrichment in ca. 2.0 Ga magnesite-stromatolite-dolomite-`red beds' association in a global context: a case for the world-wide signal enhanced by a local environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melezhik, Victor A.; Fallick, Anthony E.; Medvedev, Pavel V.; Makarikhin, Vladimir V.

    1999-12-01

    The Palaeoproterozoic positive excursion of δ 13Ccarb is now considered as three positive shifts of δ 13Ccarb separated by returns to 0‰, which all occurred between 2.40 and 2.06 Ma. This isotopic event is unique in terms of both duration (>300 Ma) and 13C enrichment (up to +18‰). The mechanism responsible for one of the most significant carbon isotopic shifts in Earth history remains highly debatable. To date, δ 13C of +10‰ to +15‰ cannot be balanced by organic carbon burial ( forg) as there is no geological evidence for an enhanced C org accumulation prior to or synchronous with the excursion. Instead, termination of these excursions is followed by formation of a vast reservoir of 13C-depleted organic material (-45‰ at Shunga) and by one of the earliest known oil-generation episodes at 2.0 Ga. None of the three positive excursions of δ 13Ccarb is followed by a negative isotopic shift significantly below 0‰, as has always been observed in younger isotopic events, reflecting an overturn of a major marine carbon reservoirs. This may indicate that forg was constant: implying that the mechanism involved in the production of C org was different. Onset of intensive methane cycling resulting in Δc change is another possibility. The majority of sampled 13Ccarb-rich localities represents shallow-water stromatolitic dolostones, `red beds' and evaporites formed in restricted intracratonic basins, and may not reflect global δ 13Ccarb values. Closely spaced drill core samples ( n=73) of stromatolitic dolostones from the >1980±27 Ma Tulomozerskaya Formation in the Onega palaeobasin, Russian Karelia, have been analysed for δ 13Ccarb and δ 18Ocarb in order to demonstrate that different processes were involved in the formation of 13Ccarb-rich carbonates. The 800 m-thick magnesite-stromatolite-dolomite-`red beds' succession formed in a complex combination of environments on the Karelian craton: peritidal shallow marine, low-energy protected bights, barred

  4. Development of the Earth's early crust: Implications from the Beartooth Mountains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mueller, P. A.; Wooden, J. L.; Henry, D. J.; Mogk, D. W.

    1983-01-01

    The Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming are one of several major uplifts of Precambrian rocks in the northwestern of the Wyoming Province. The range is composed of a wide variety of rock types which record a complex geologic history that extends from early ( 3400 Ma) to late (approx 700 Ma) Precambrian time. The Archean geology of the range is complex and many areas remain unstudied in detail. In this discussion two areas are discussed for which there is considerable structural, geochemical and petrologic information. The easternmost portion of the range (EBT) and the northwesternmost portion, the North Snowy Block (NSB), contain rather extensive records of both early and late Archean geologic activity. These data are used to constrain a petrologic tectonic model for the development of continental crust in this area.

  5. The giant stromatolite field at Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Brazil (Paraná Basin) - A new paleoenvironmental overview and the consequences of the Irati Sea closure in the Permian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callefo, F.; Arduin, D. H.; Ricardi-Branco, F.; Galante, D.; Rodrigues, F.; Branco, F. C.

    2018-07-01

    The city of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, São Paulo State, Brazil, contains an important geological and paleontological site that is part of the Paraná Basin and presents one of the most significant records of Permian microbial life of southwestern Gondwana: the giant stromatolite field, with structures reaching 3 m high and 6 m wide. This work proposes a new overview of the paleoenvironment, focusing on the growth and development of microbial mats and microbialites. The characterization and association of nine facies were performed: intraformational breccia with wackestone matrix, intraformational breccia with grainstone matrix, packstone, wackestone, microbial mats, peloidal wackestone, laminated peloidal wackestone, laminated peloidal packstone and stromatolites. Four lithologic logs were correlated and used to interpret the history of the establishment of microbial communities during the episode of the Irati Sea closure. Field studies were carried out, thin sections were analyzed, and techniques such as SEM/EDS and Raman spectroscopy were applied for compositional analysis and to aid in the identification of associated fossils. This moment in the Paraná Basin's evolution was important due to the noteworthy increase in rates of organic matter deposition and the significant proliferation of microbial life brought about by the closure of the Irati Sea. One hypothesis is that there was more than one attempt to establish microbial communities during the paleoenvironmental evolution, and success was achieved only after a decrease in water depth and energy of the depositional system, as well as after an increase in salinity. As a result of a reconfiguration of paleogeography in the Gondwana supercontinent, the closure of the Irati Sea significantly affected the development and establishment of microbial communities, which gave rise to extensive microbialitic structures such as those at Santa Rosa de Viterbo.

  6. Assessment of the U-Th-Pb system in two Archean metabasalts - Deciphering the complex histories of sulfides and silicates using acid leaching methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Patrick E.; Farquhar, Ronald M.; Tatsumoto, Mitsunobo

    1989-08-01

    A detailed U-Th-Pb isotopic study of two Archean basalts from two greenstone belts in the eastern Wawa Subprovince of the Canadian shield was carried out on samples that were either dissolved at once or leached in either 1N HNO3, 2N HCl, or 6N HCl. The abundances and isotopic compositions from these samples suggest that variable disturbances had occurred in both rock systems, which can be attributed to Pb mobility, particularly in the form of sulphide addition at various times, and, in one case, by recent Pb loss. The Pb isotopic compositions of the sulphides record late events which affected the greenstone terrains. The results also indicate that the sulphides and silicate rocks could have originated from a common source. The isotopic compositions of the basalt suggest that, in the Archean, both depleted and enriched mantle sources existed beneath the Wawa Subprovince.

  7. Zircon geochronology of the Webb Canyon Gneiss and the Mount Owen Quartz Monzonite, Teton Range, Wyoming: Significance to dating late Archean metamorphism in the Wyoming craton

    Zartman, R.E.; Reed, J.C.

    1998-01-01

    The Webb Canyon Gneiss is a strongly foliated and lineated orthogneiss intercalated with layered Archean gneisses in the northern part of the Teton Range in northwestern Wyoming. The Mount Owen Quartz Monzonite is a non-foliated or weakly flow foliated rock which forms a discordant pluton exposed in the central part of the range and that cuts the Webb Canyon Gneiss and the associated layered gneisses. U-Pb zircon geochronology reported here indicates that euhedral pink zircon grew in the Webb Canyon Gneiss at about 2680 Ma, probably during the peak of regional metamorphism and that the Mount Owen was emplaced at 2547??3 Ma. These dates provide the best constraints so far reported on the age of Late Archean regional metamorphism in the western part of the Wyoming craton.

  8. SHRIMP-RG U-Pb isotopic systematics of zircon from the Angel Lake orthogneiss, East Humboldt Range, Nevada: is this really Archean crust? REPLY

    Premo, Wayne R.

    2010-01-01

    The comments from McGrew and Snoke are well received and their concerns for the interpretations in our paper (Premo et al., 2008), which questions the original contention that the Angel Lake orthogneiss is an Archean rock, are many and varied—all of which we will attempt to address. As they point out, this issue is an important one as this particular crustal exposure may delimit the southwestern extent of the Archean Wyoming province (Foster et al., 2006; Mueller and Frost, 2006), which has implications for the true crustal evolution of this region of the Great Basin and perhaps more importantly its relationship (if any) to the location of the world-class gold deposits of north-central Nevada (e.g., Howard, 2003).

  9. Archean crustal evolution of the Narryer Gneiss Terrane, Western Australia, as revealed by the U-Pb age and Hf-isotope compositions of zircon from the granitic gneisses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sylvester, P.; Souders, K.; Crowley, J. L.; Myers, J.

    2011-12-01

    The Narryer Gneiss Terrane of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, is an important area for studies of early crustal evolution because of the preservation of (1) detrital zircons of Hadean to Archean age in the Jack Hills and Mt. Narryer metasedimentary belts, and (2) several widespread units of granitic gneisses emplaced between ca. 3.7 and 2.6 Ga. We have analyzed the U-Pb geochronology and Hf-isotope geochemistry of magmatic zircons from 38 samples of the granitic gneisses using laser ablation - (multicollector) - ICPMS. The sample suite is dominated by the Meeberrie gneiss, a banded quartz-microcline-oligoclase-biotite gneiss of monzogranite to granodiorite composition, and the Dugel gneiss, a leucocratic, pegmatite-layered syenogranite gneiss, but gneisses of dioritic to tonalitic composition, as well as less deformed granite sheets, are also represented. Magmatic zircons were identified on the basis of the preservation of oscillatory zoning in BSE and CL images, igneous Th/U ratios (>0.2), and concordant U-Pb isotopic systematics with low common Pb contents. The results indicate many of the gneisses are composed of the products of multiple magmatic events, as has been reported previously for samples of the Meeberrie gneiss (Kinny & Nutman, 1996, Precambrian Res. 78, 165-178). Major ages of magmatism preserved in the gneisses occurred at ca. 3685-3665 Ma, 3620-3565 Ma, 3495-3440 Ma, 3375-3330 Ma, and 3300-3260 Ma. The late granite sheets crystallized at 2710-2645 Ma. Hf-isotope compositions of the zircons trend to less radiogenic values with decreasing age, with ɛHf values of ca. 0 to -5 for 3.7-3.4 Ga gneisses, ca. -1 to -9 for 3.4-3.2 Ga gneisses and ca. -5 to -20 for the late granite sheets. The array of the Hf isotopic compositions with time for the entire sample set are fit well by a regression indicating a source reservoir with a 176Lu/177Hf of 0.022 extracted from the depleted mantle at 3.9 Ga. This suggests that the Narryer gneisses and late granite

  10. One possible source of mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes in the Archean atmosphere of Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babikov, Dmitri; Semenov, Alexander; Teplukhin, Alexander

    2017-05-01

    Energy transfer mechanism for recombination of two sulfur atoms into a diatomic molecule, S2, is studied theoretically and computationally to determine whether the rate coefficient of this process can be significantly affected by isotopic substitutions, and whether the resultant isotope effect is expected to be mass-dependent or mass-independent. This is one of sulfur polymerization processes thought to be important in the anoxic atmosphere of the Archean Earth and, potentially, relevant to mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes. A simplified theoretical approach is employed, in which all properties of S2 molecule are characterized rather accurately, whereas the process of stabilization of metastable S2∗ by bath gas collisions is described approximately. Properties of individual scattering resonances in S2 are studied in detail, and it is found that most important contributions to the recombination process come from ro-vibrational states formed near the top of centrifugal barrier, and that the number of such states is about 50 (in 32S32S). Absolute value of recombination rate coefficient is computed to be 1.22 × 10-33 cm6/s (for 32S32S at room temperature and atmospheric pressure), close to experimental result. Two distinct isotope effects are identified. One is a classical mass-dependent effect due to translational partition function, which leads to a weak, smooth, and negative mass-dependence of rate coefficient (4% decrease when the mass is raised from 32S32S to 34S34S). Second effect, due to quantized resonances, is two orders of magnitude stronger, but is local. In practice, due to presence of multiple individual resonances, this phenomenon leads to irregular mass-independent variations of rate coefficients in the ranges ±5%. It is also demonstrated that in real molecules this irregular behavior is expected to be somewhat smoother, and the isotope effect is somewhat smaller, due to dependence of stabilization cross section on properties of

  11. Evidence of magmatic degassing in Archean komatiites: Insights from the Wannaway nickel-sulfide deposit, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caruso, Stefano; Fiorentini, Marco L.; Moroni, Marilena; Martin, Laure A. J.

    2017-12-01

    Magmatic degassing from komatiite lava flows potentially influenced the geochemical evolution of the Archean atmosphere and hydrosphere. We argue that the escape of SO2-rich volatiles from komatiites impacted on the mineralogical, geochemical and isotopic composition of associated nickel-sulfide mineralization leaving behind detectable and measurable footprints that can be best observed where the polarity of the magmatic sequence is clearly recognizable. Here we focus on the ore-bearing sequence of the Archean komatiite-hosted N01 nickel-sulfide orebody at Wannaway, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. This deposit displays a volcanic sequence with a well-defined succession of stratigraphically-correlated facies comprising a massive sulfide horizon at the base of the channelized komatiite flow, overlain by matrix and disseminated sulfide mineralization. Pyrrhotite is the dominant sulfide phase in the lower part of the ore profile. The amount of troilite gradually increases from the base of the matrix ore over several meters up-sequence, eventually becoming dominant at the expense of pyrrhotite. In the upper portion of the mineralized sequence troilite is associated with accessory Mn sulfide alabandite (MnS), which is usually reported in reduced terrestrial and extra-terrestrial environments. Such mineralogical and volcanological features are consistent with upwards decreasing in fS2 and fO2 away from the basal contact of the komatiite flow. After evaluating the possible role of metamorphism, the pyrrhotite-troilite-alabandite assemblage and the progressive up-sequence decrease of the pyrrhotite/troilite ratio across the upper part of the mineralized sequence are interpreted as magmatic and indicative of progressive loss of sulfur with concomitant establishment of reducing conditions within the sulfide melt ponding at the base of the komatiite lava. In this context, the investigation of spatially constrained sulfur isotopic signatures allows to isolate the multiple

  12. The Wisconsin magmatic terrane: An Early Proterozoic greenstone-granite terrane formed by plate tectonic processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schulz, K. J.; Laberge, G. L.

    1986-01-01

    The Wisconsin magmatic terrane (WMT) is an east trending belt of dominantly volcanic-plutonic complexes of Early Proterozoic age (approx. 1850 m.y.) that lies to the south of the Archean rocks and Early Proterozoic epicratonic sequence (Marquette Range Supergroup) in Michigan. It is separated from the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup by the high-angle Niagara fault, is bounded on the south, in central Wisconsin, by Archean gneisses, is truncated on the west by rocks of the Midcontinent rift system, and is intruded on the east by the post-orogenic Wolf river batholith. The overall lithologic, geochemical, metallogenic, metamorphic, and deformational characteristics of the WMT are similar to those observed in recent volcanic arc terranes formed at sites of plate convergence. It is concluded that the WMT represents an evolved oceanic island-arc terrane accreated to the Superior craton in the Early Proterozoic. This conclusion is strengthened by the apparent absence of Archean basement from most of the WMT, and the recent recognition of the passive margin character of the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup.

  13. Magnetotelluric survey to locate the Archean-Proterozoic suture zone in the northeastern Great Basin, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho

    Sampson, Jay A.; Rodriguez, Brian D.

    2013-01-01

    North-central Nevada contains a large amount of gold in linear belts, the origin of which is not fully understood. During July 2008, September 2009, and August 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey, as part of the Assessment Techniques for Concealed Mineral Resources project, collected twenty-three magnetotelluric soundings along two profiles in Box Elder County, Utah; Elko County, Nevada; and Cassia, Minidoka, and Blaine Counties, Idaho. The main twenty-sounding north-south magnetotelluric profile begins south of Wendover, Nev., but north of the Deep Creek Range. It continues north of Wendover and crosses into Utah, with the north profile terminus in the Snake River Plain, Idaho. A short, three-sounding east-west segment crosses the main north-south profile near the northern terminus of the profile. The magnetotelluric data collected in this study will be used to better constrain the location and strike of the concealed suture zone between the Archean crust and the Paleoproterozoic Mojave province. This report releases the magnetotelluric sounding data that was collected. No interpretation of the data is included.

  14. Late Archean intermediate-felsic magmatism of the South Vygozersky and Kamennozersky greenstone structures of Central Karelia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myskova, T. A.; Zhitnikova, I. A.; L'vov, P. A.

    2015-07-01

    The geochemistry and zircon geochronology (U-Pb, SHRIMP-II) of Late Archean intermediate-felsic dikes and plagiogranites of the Shilossky massif of the South Vygozersky and Kamennozersky greenstone belts of Central Karelia were studied. Subvolcanic rocks of the dike complex vary in composition from andesitobasalts to rhyolites, in structural-textural peculiarities, and in the formation age, from 2862 ± 8 to 2785 ± 15 Ma. Compositionally and geochronologically (2853 ± 11 Ma), plagiogranites of the Shilossky massif of the South Vygozersky greenstone belts are close to the most ancient dacite and granodiorite porphyry dikes. Dikes intruded synchronously with intrusion of plagiogranites over a period of at least 70 m.y. Geochronologically, subvolcanic rocks of the dike complex and plagiogranites of the Shilossky massif are similar to granitoids of the TTG assemblages of I- and M-type granites. The Sm-Nd model age of some dikes (2970-2880 Ma) is close to the age of rock crystallization, which is evidence in favor of juvenile origin of magma. Dikes with more ancient model age (3050 Ma) are presumed to contain crustal material. Variations in age and ɛNd (from -2.7 to +2.9) indicate the absence of a unified magmatic source.

  15. Impact-shocked rocks--insights into Archean and extraterrestrial microbial habitats (and sites for prebiotic chemistry?)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cockell, C. S.

    2004-01-01

    Impact-shocked gneiss shocked to greater than 10 GPa in the Haughton impact structure in the Canadian High Arctic has an approximately 25-times greater pore surface area than unshocked rocks. These pore spaces provide microhabitats for a diversity of heterotrophic microorganisms and in the near-surface environment of the rocks, where light levels are sufficient, cyanobacteria. Shocked rocks provide a moisture retaining, UV protected microenvironment. During the Archean, when impact fluxes were more than two orders of magnitude higher than today, the shocked-rock habitat was one of the most common terrestrial habitats and might have provided a UV-shielded refugium for primitive life. These potential habitats are in high abundance on Mars where impact crater habitats could have existed over geologic time periods of billions of years, suggesting that impact-shocked rocks are important sites to search for biomolecules in extraterrestrial life detection strategies. In addition to being favourable sites for life, during the prebiotic period of planetary history impact-shocked rocks might have acted as a site for the concentration of reactants for prebiotic syntheses. c2004 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Rapid and direct screening of H:C ratio in Archean kerogen via microRaman Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferralis, N.; Matys, E. D.; Allwood, A.; Knoll, A. H.; Summons, R. E.

    2015-12-01

    Rapid evaluation of the preservation of biosignatures in ancient kerogens is essential for the evaluation of the usability of Earth analogues as proxies of Martian geological materials. No single, non-destructive and non-invasive technique currently exists to rapidly determine such state of preservation of the organic matter in relation to its geological and mineral environment. Due to its non-invasive nature, microRaman spectroscopy is emerging as a candidate technique for the qualitative determination maturity of organic matter, by correlating Raman spectral features and aromatic carbon cluster size. Here we will present a novel quantitative method in which before-neglected Raman spectral features are correlated directly and with excellent accuracy with the H:C ratio. In addition to providing a chemical justification of the found direct correlation, we will show its applicability and predictive capabilities in evaluating H:C in Archean kerogens. This novel method opens new opportunities for the use of Raman spectroscopy and mapping. This includes the non-invasively determination of kerogen preservation and microscale chemical diversity within a particular Earth analogue, to be potentially extended to evaluate Raman spectra acquired directly on Mars.

  17. A comparison of the chemistry of pseudotachylyte breccias in the Archean Levack Gneisses of the Sudbury structure, Ontario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thompson, Lucy M.; Spray, John G.

    1992-01-01

    The Archean Levack Gneisses of the North Range host millimeter-thick veins and centimeter-thick lenses of pseudotachylyte, as well as substantially larger meter-wide, dykelike bodies of pseudotachylytic 'breccia'. The 'breccia' occurs up to several tens of kilometers away from the Sudbury Igneous Complex and is commonly sited within or near joints and other natural weaknesses such as bedding, dyke contacts, and lithological boundaries. The larger 'breccia' dykes comprise a generally dark matrix containing rounded to subrounded and occasionally angular rock fragments derived predominantly from Levack Gneiss. Selected samples of bulk Sudbury Breccia and Sudbury Breccia matrices were chemically analyzed and compared to existing data on the Levack Gneisses and Sudbury Breccia. The matrices are apparently enriched in Fe and, to a lesser extent, Mg, Ti, and Ca compared to the wallrocks and the majority of clasts. This enrichment can be partly explained by the preferential cataclasis and/or frictional melting of hydrous ferromagnesian wallrock minerals, but also appear to require contamination by more basic exotic lithologies. This suggests that certain components of pseudotachylitic Sudbury Breccia have undergone significant transport during their formation.

  18. Impact-shocked rocks--insights into Archean and extraterrestrial microbial habitats (and sites for prebiotic chemistry?).

    PubMed

    Cockell, C S

    2004-01-01

    Impact-shocked gneiss shocked to greater than 10 GPa in the Haughton impact structure in the Canadian High Arctic has an approximately 25-times greater pore surface area than unshocked rocks. These pore spaces provide microhabitats for a diversity of heterotrophic microorganisms and in the near-surface environment of the rocks, where light levels are sufficient, cyanobacteria. Shocked rocks provide a moisture retaining, UV protected microenvironment. During the Archean, when impact fluxes were more than two orders of magnitude higher than today, the shocked-rock habitat was one of the most common terrestrial habitats and might have provided a UV-shielded refugium for primitive life. These potential habitats are in high abundance on Mars where impact crater habitats could have existed over geologic time periods of billions of years, suggesting that impact-shocked rocks are important sites to search for biomolecules in extraterrestrial life detection strategies. In addition to being favourable sites for life, during the prebiotic period of planetary history impact-shocked rocks might have acted as a site for the concentration of reactants for prebiotic syntheses. c2004 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. A review of structural patterns and melting processes in the Archean craton of West Greenland: Evidence for crustal growth at convergent plate margins as opposed to non-uniformitarian models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polat, Ali; Wang, Lu; Appel, Peter W. U.

    2015-11-01

    The Archean craton of West Greenland consists of many fault-bounded Eoarchean to Neoarchean tectonic terranes (crustal blocks). These tectonic terranes are composed mainly of tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) gneisses, granitic gneisses, metavolcanic-dominated supracrustal belts, layered anorthositic complexes, and late- to post-tectonic granites. Rock assemblages and geochemical signatures in these terranes suggest that they represent fragments of dismembered oceanic island arcs, consisting mainly of TTG plutons, tholeiitic to calc-alkaline basalts, boninites, picrites, and cumulate layers of ultramafic rocks, gabbros, leucogabbros and anorthosites, with minor sedimentary rocks. The structural characteristics of the terrane boundaries are consistent with the assembly of these island arcs through modern style of horizontal tectonics, suggesting that the Archean craton of West Greenland grew at convergent plate margins. Several supracrustal belts that occur at or near the terrane boundaries are interpreted as relict accretionary prisms. The terranes display fold and thrust structures and contain numerous 10 cm to 20 m wide bifurcating, ductile shear zones that are characterized by a variety of structures including transposed and redistributed isoclinal folds. Geometrically these structures are similar to those occurring on regional scales, suggesting that the Archean craton of West Greenland can be interpreted as a continental scale accretionary complex, such as the Paleozoic Altaids. Melting of metavolcanic rocks during tectonic thickening in the arcs played an important role in the generation of TTGs. Non-uniformitarian models proposed for the origin of Archean terranes have no analogs in the geologic record and are inconsistent with structural, lithological, petrological and geochemical data collected from Archean terranes over the last four decades. The style of deformation and generation of felsic rocks on outcrop scales in the Archean craton of West

  20. Phlogopite compositions as an indicator of both the geodynamic context of granitoids and the metallogeny aspect in Memve'ele Archean area, northwestern Congo craton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ntomba, Sylvestre M.; Bidzang, François Ndong; Ottou, José Eric Messi; Goussi Ngalamo, François Jeannot; Bisso, Dieudonné; Magnekou Takamte, Christelle Rufine; Ondoa, Joseph Mvondo

    2016-06-01

    A barium bearing phlogopite (celsian) has been found for the first time within the charnockitic and tonalitic suites that compose Archean mineral belt in Cameroon. Electron microprobe analyses of these phlogopites are reported and contain moderate contents of BaO (0.42-1.26 wt. %) and up to 5.95 wt. % TiO2. Micas are Mg-rich and their compositions indicate phlogopites rich-meroxenes. Phlogopites from Memve'ele are characterized by a nearly horizontal trend of increasing total aluminium (2.494-2.931 a.p.f.u.) and relatively constant Fe/(Fe + Mg) suggesting contributions of aluminous supracrustal material to the magmas by anatexis or assimilation. Compositions of the barium titanium bearing phlogopite vary systematically according to rock types. It seems that the substitution scheme include Ba + Al + VI (Mg, Fe)2+ + 2 IVSi = K + Si + VITi + 2IVAl was dominant in the Memve'ele area thus, this scheme has made easy incorporation of Ba into phlogopite structure. The binary diagram of aluminium vs. titanium shows that phlogopites from the Memve'ele area have been formed by the same metasomatic mechanism as phlogopites from Canary Island xenoliths and Mezitler andesites but Ba enrichment of phlogopites from the Memve'ele area implies an early Ba-metasomatism contrary to those from Mezitler. The estimated temperature of the studied phlogopites indicated mainly two groups: (1) temperature range from 662 to 688 °C (average 676 °C) for phlogopite grains with High Mg# in the trondhjemite sample and (2) temperatures with interval limits from 757 to 800 °C (average 777.07 °C) for remnant phlogopites; reflecting primary and late crystallization respectively from slightly to highly oxidized magma (-17.30 to -13.87 Kbars). The geothermal gradient with average temperatures are 35.57-53.360 °C/Km and 30.95-46.42 °C/Km corresponding to 14.56-21.84 Km and 14.56-30.58 Km depth of below crust respectively. The crystallizing melt is enriched in Ba emanated from sea water at medium

  1. Isotopic studies of the late Archean plutonic rocks of the Wind River Range, Wyoming.

    Stuckless, J.S.; Hedge, C.E.; Worl, R.G.; Simmons, K.R.; Nkomo, I.T.; Wenner, D.B.

    1985-01-01

    Two late Archaean intrusive events were documented in the Wind River Range by isotopic studies of the Rb-Sr and U-Th-Pb systems in whole-rock samples and the U-Pb systematics for zircon. An age of approx 2630(20) m.y. for the Louis Lake batholith and apparent ages of 2504(40) to 2575(50) m.y. for the Bear Ears pluton were obtained. Post-magmatic hydrothermal events approximately Tertiary in age, lowered delta 18O values and disturbed parent-daughter relationships in most of the isotopic systems investigated. The two intrusive units apparently were derived from different protoliths. Initial isotopic ratios and petrochemistry for the Louis Lake batholith are consistent with an early Archaean trondhjemitic to tonalitic source. The protolith for the Bear Ears pluton must have been subjected to high-grade metamorphism that caused loss of Rb and U prior to magma generation. -L.C.H.

  2. On the nature and origin of garnet in highly-refractory Archean lithosphere: implications for continent stabilisation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, Sally

    2014-05-01

    The nature and timescales of garnet formation in the Earth's subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) are important to our understanding of how this rigid outer shell has evolved and stabilised since the Archean. Nevertheless, the widespread occurrence of pyrope garnet in the sub-cratonic mantle remains one of the 'holy grails' of mantle petrology. The paradox is that garnet often occurs in mantle lithologies (dunites and harzburgites) which represent residues of major melting events (up to 40 %) whereas experimental studies on fertile peridotite suggest this phase should be exhausted by <20 % melting. Furthermore, garnets commonly found in mantle peridotite suites have diverse compositions that are typically in equilibrium with high-pressure, small-fraction, mantle melts suggesting they formed as a result of enrichment of the lithospheric mantle following cratonisation. This refertilisation -- which typically involves addition of Fe, incompatible trace elements and volatiles -- affects the lower 30 km of the lithosphere and potentially leads to negative buoyancy and destabilisation. Pyrope garnets found in mantle xenoliths from the eastern margin of the Tanzanian Craton (Lashaine) have diverse compositions and provide major constraints on how the underlying deep (120 to 160 km) mantle stabilised and evolved during the last 3 billion years. The garnets display systematic trends from ultra-depleted to enriched compositions that have not been recognised in peridotite suites from elsewhere (Gibson et al., 2013). Certain harzburgite members of the xenolith suite contain the first reported occurrence of pyrope garnets with rare-earth element (REE) patterns similar to hypothetical garnets proposed by Stachel et al. (2004) to have formed in the Earth's SCLM during the Archean, prior to metasomatism. These rare ultra-depleted low-Cr garnets occur in low temperature (~1050 oC) xenoliths derived from depths of ~120 km and coexist in chemical and textural equilibrium with

  3. Substorm wave base felsic hydroclastic deposits in the Archean Lac des Vents volcanic complex, Abitibi belt, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mueller, Wulf; Chown, E. H.; Potvin, Robin

    1994-05-01

    Volcaniclastic deposits of the 2.3-km-thick Archean Lac des Vents volcanic complex are an integral part of major submarine volcanic construction. The volcanic edifice, which formed on a subaqueous basalt plain, is comparable to modern seamounts resting on the ocean floor. The initial 770 m of the mafic-felsic edifice, subject of this study, is composed of massive, brecciated and pillowed basalts, massive to brecciated felsic lava flows and abundant felsic fragmental rocks of hydroclastic origin. Four distinct volcaniclastic lithofacies constitute the latter: (1) the pumice lapilli-tuff lithofacies; (2) the lapilli-tuff breccia lithofacies characterized by two sublithofacies; (3) the turbidite tuff and tuff-breccia lithofacies; and (4) the volcanic sandstone and breccia lithofacies. These four volcaniclastic lithofacies are considered to be the result of explosive and non-explosive hydrovolcanic fragmentation processes operating at depths below storm wave base (> 200 m). Primary deposition or limited remobilization of unconsolidated hydroclastic debris is shown by the preservation of delicate clasts and volcanic textures, and heat retention structures. The principal transport agents are high-concentration sediment gravity flows occurring under laminar and turbulent flow conditions. High- and low-density turbiditic tuffs and fine-grained tuff fallout deposits, are related to either the dissipating stages of volcanic eruptions or slumping of syneruptive volcanic debris on the flanks of a subaqueous volcanic edifice. Ubiquitous interstratification of volcaniclastic turbidites, shale, and pillowed basalt flows with the felsic lava flows and fragmental debris favours subaqueous deposition. These features combined with the absence of wave-induced sedimentary structures, imply deposition in water depths in excess of 200 m. Viscous feldspar-phyric massive and brecciated felsic flows, and associated volcaniclastics cross cut by felsic dykes, suggest vent proximity. The

  4. Ultrastructural and geochemical characterization of Archean-Paleoproterozoic graphite particles: implications for recognizing traces of life in highly metamorphosed rocks.

    PubMed

    Schiffbauer, James D; Yin, Leiming; Bodnar, Robert J; Kaufman, Alan J; Meng, Fanwei; Hu, Jie; Shen, Bing; Yuan, Xunlai; Bao, Huiming; Xiao, Shuhai

    2007-08-01

    Abundant graphite particles occur in amphibolite-grade quartzite of the Archean-Paleoproterozoic Wutai Metamorphic Complex in the Wutaishan area of North China. Petrographic thin section observations suggest that the graphite particles occur within and between quartzite clasts and are heterogeneous in origin. Using HF maceration techniques, the Wutai graphite particles were extracted for further investigation. Laser Raman spectroscopic analysis of a population of extracted graphite discs indicated that they experienced a maximum metamorphic temperature of 513 +/- 50 degrees C, which is consistent with the metamorphic grade of the host rock and supports their indigenicity. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed that the particles bear morphological features (such as hexagonal sheets of graphite crystals) related to metamorphism and crystal growth, but a small fraction of them (graphite discs) are characterized by a circular morphology, distinct marginal concentric folds, surficial wrinkles, and complex nanostructures. Ion microprobe analysis of individual graphite discs showed that their carbon isotope compositions range from -7.4 per thousand to -35.9 per thousand V-PDB (Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite), with an average of -20.3 per thousand, which is comparable to bulk analysis of extracted carbonaceous material. The range of their size, ultrastructures, and isotopic signatures suggests that the morphology and geochemistry of the Wutai graphite discs were overprinted by metamorphism and their ultimate carbon source probably had diverse origins that included abiotic processes. We considered both biotic and abiotic origins of the carbon source and graphite disc morphologies and cannot falsify the possibility that some circular graphite discs characterized by marginal folds and surficial wrinkles represent deflated, compressed, and subsequently graphitized organic-walled vesicles. Together with reports by other authors of acanthomorphic acritarchs from

  5. Microbial and Metabolic Diversity of the Alkaline Hot Springs of Paoha Island: A Late Archean and Proterozoic Ocean Analogue Environment.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, I. S.; Demirel, C.; Hyde, A.; Motamedi, S.; Frantz, C. M.; Stamps, B. W.; Nunn, H. S.; Oremland, R. S.; Rosen, M.; Miller, L. G.; Corsetti, F. A.; Spear, J. R.

    2016-12-01

    Paoha Island formed 450 years ago within Mono Lake, California, as a result of magmatic activity in the underlying Long Valley Caldera. Previous studies of Paoha Island hot springs focused on the presence of novel organisms adapted to high levels of arsenic (114-138 µM). However, the microbial community structure, relationship with Mono Lake, and preservation potential of these communities remains largely unexplored. Here, we present water chemistry, 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequences, and metagenomic data for spring water and biofilms sampled on a recently exposed mudflat along the shoreline of Paoha Island. Spring waters were hypoxic, alkaline, and saline, had variable temperature (39-70 °C near spring sources) and high concentrations of arsenic, sulfide and reduced organic compounds. Thermodynamic modeling based on spring water chemistry indicated that sulfide and methane oxidation were the most energetically favorable respiratory metabolisms. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed distinct communities in different biofilms: red biofilms were dominated by arsenite-oxidizing phototrophs within the Ectothiorhodospiraceae, while OTUs most closely related to the cyanobacterial genus Arthrospira were present in green biofilms, as well as a large proportion of sequences assigned to sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Metagenomic analysis identified genes related to arsenic resistance, arsenic oxidation/reduction, sulfur oxidation and photosynthesis. Eukaryotic rRNA gene sequencing analyses revealed few detectable taxa in spring biofilms and waters compared to Mono Lake; springs receiving splash from the lake were dominated by the alga Picocystis. The co-occurrence of hypoxia, high pH, and close proximity of anoxygenic and oxygenic phototrophic mats makes this site a potential Archean/Proterozoic analogue environment, but suggests that similar environments if preserved in the rock record, may not preserve evidence for community dynamics or the existence of photosynthetic metabolisms.

  6. Exploring the U-Pb systematics of titanite from the Archean Stillwater Complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedman, R. M.; Wall, C. J.; Scoates, J. S.; Weis, D. A.; Meurer, W. P.

    2011-12-01

    The Stillwater Complex is a large mafic-ultramafic layered intrusion in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana (USA) and host to the world-class J-M Reef platinum group element deposit. The size and geologic/economic importance of this igneous complex make it an important target for high-precision U-Pb dating. As a part of a comprehensive U-Pb study of the Stillwater Complex, we present ID-TIMS U-Pb titanite data, including new single grain results produced using the EARTHTIME ET535 spike, for very low-volume, relatively felsic granophyric and pegmatitic rocks associated with Stillwater layered rocks. Four samples studied include a pegmatitic ksp-qtz core to a gabbroic pegmatoid in the Lower Banded Series (N1), an alaskite (quartz diorite) and an amphibole-rich reaction zone between the alaskite and anorthosite (AN1) in the Middle Banded Series, and an amphibole-bearing granophyre from the Upper Banded Series (GN3). CA-TIMS U-Pb dating of zircon from these samples yielded concordant results only for the pegmatitic rock (weighted 207Pb/206Pb: 2709.65 ± 0.80 Ma, n = 5), which agrees with new zircon ages from Stillwater layered rocks. Results for high-U (up to 1438 ppm) metamict zircon that occurs in the other three rocks were highly discordant and did not yield precise ages. Titanite U-Pb results for the pegmatite are about -1% to +1% discordant with two groupings of 207Pb/206Pb dates: one with a weighted average of 2708.1 ± 2.0 Ma (n = 2), which overlaps in age with zircon from the same sample and the crystallization age of the Stillwater Complex, and a second, younger grouping of 2701.1 ± 1.3 Ma (n = 5). Younger dates record an early Pb-loss event, possibly related to intrusion of cross-cutting quartz monzonites. The alaskite data also shows two groupings of 207Pb/206Pb dates, although more subtle: a weighted average of 2709.3 ± 1.8 Ma (n = 3) and a single result of 2706.5 ± 1.7 Ma. Titanite from the other two samples has undergone significant Pb-loss. Results for

  7. Plume-induced subduction and accretion on present-day Venus and Archean Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davaille, A.; Smrekar, S. E.; Sibrant, A.; Mittelstaedt, E. L.

    2017-12-01

    Plate tectonics is responsible for the majority of Earth's heat loss, cycling of volatiles between the atmosphere and interior, recycling in the mantle of most of the surface plates, and possibly even for maintaining habitability. Despite its similarity in size and bulk density to Earth, Venus lacks plate tectonics today, and its mode of operation remains debated. Using laboratory experiments in colloidal dispersion which brittle viscosity-elasto-plastic rheology, we recently showed that plume-induced subduction could be operating nowadays on Venus. The experimental fluids were heated from below to produce upwelling plumes, which in turn produced tensile fractures in the lithosphere-like skin that formed on the upper surface. Plume material upwelling through the fractures then spread above the skin, analogous to volcanic flooding, and lead to bending and eventual subduction of the skin along arcuate segments. These segments are analogous to the semi-circular trenches seen on large coronae. Scaling analysis suggests that this regime with limited, plume-induced subduction is favored by a hot lithosphere, such as that found on early Earth or present-day Venus. Moreover, in this regime, subduction proceeds primarily by roll-back and the coronae expands through time at velocity that could reach 10 cm/yr. A second set of experiments focusing on accretion processes suggests that accretion dynamics depends on the strength of the lithosphere, as well as the spreading velocity. Venus hot surface temperature would act to decrease the lithosphere strength, and therefore weaken the ridge axis, that would become highly unstable, showing large sinuosity and producing a number of micro-plates. These plume, subduction, and accretion characteristics explain well the features seen in Artemis coronae, the largest coronae on Venus.

  8. Experimental Constraints on Reconstruction of Archean Seawater Ni Isotopic Composition from Banded Iron Formations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, S.; Wasylenki, L.

    2016-12-01

    Ni isotope systematics in banded iron formations (BIFs) potentially recorded the Ni isotopic composition of ancient seawater during the Precambrian Eon[1]. The use of BIFs as seawater proxies requires knowing how Ni isotopes fractionated during initial incorporation into iron-rich sediments and during early diagenesis. We conducted experiments to investigate Ni isotope behavior during coprecipitation with ferrihydrite and transformation of ferrihydrite to hematite. Ferrihydrite synthesis at neutral pH demonstrated that dissolved Ni was variably heavier than coprecipitated Ni (Δ60/58Ni = +0.08 to +0.50 ‰), in contrast to the constant offset observed earlier during adsorption to pre-existing ferrihydrite[2]. Experiments at lower pH (<7) yielded negative values of Δ60/58Ni ( -0.18 ‰), suggesting enrichment in heavier isotopes of structurally incorporated Ni relative to dissolved and adsorbed Ni, possibly due to the presence of a small amount of highly fractionated tetrahedral Ni2+ in the ferrihydrite structure. We model our results as equilibrium fractionation among three pools of Ni with systematically varied proportions. We synthesized hematite by transforming Ni-bearing ferrihydrite in aqueous solution at 100 °C and observed significant Ni release from solids (up to 60 %) as pH dropped from 7 to 4.5 - 5.5 during phase transformation. Rinsing hematite with acetic acid released very little Ni (presumably surface-adsorbed) compared to the amounts remaining in solid residues (presumably incorporated). We infer that Δ60/58Ni values (-0.04 to +0.77 ‰) observed in hematite experiments likely reflect Rayleigh fractionation between incorporated and dissolved Ni. The final hematite was slightly lighter than the ferrihydrite had been (by 0.08 ‰), indicating that this phase transformation results in very limited change in Ni isotopic composition, given current analytical uncertainty of ± 0.09 ‰. [1] Wasylenki and Wang (2016) Goldschmidt; [2] Wasylenki et al

  9. Molybdenum Isotopic Composition of the Archean Mantle As Inferred from Studies of Komatiites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greber, N. D.; Puchtel, I. S.; Nagler, T. F.; Mezger, K.

    2014-12-01

    Molybdenum isotopic composition has been shown to be a powerful tool in studies of planetary processes, e.g. estimating core formation temperatures [1,2]. However, Mo isotope compositions of terrestrial reservoirs are not well constrained. In order to better constrain the Mo isotopic composition of the early Earth's mantle, komatiites from four locations were analyzed for their Mo concentrations and isotopic compositions. Komatiites are particularly appropriate for this type of study because they formed by high degrees of partial melting of the mantle leading to a complete base metal sulfide removal from the residual mantle and the production of sulfur-undersaturated melts and thus a quantitative removal of Mo from the source into the melt. All samples, except for two strongly altered specimens specifically chosen to study the effects of secondary alteration, are very fresh having preserved most of their primary mineralogy. The Mo concentrations in komatiites range from 10 to 120 ng/g. Fresh komatiites have lighter δ98Mo (NIST SRM 3134 = 0.25‰, [3]) than altered samples. The estimated primary Mo isotope compositions of the studied komatiite melts range from 0.02 ± 0.16‰ to 0.19 ± 0.14‰ and are therefore indistinguishable within analytical uncertainty (2SD) from published values for chondritic meteorites (0.09 ± 0.04 ‰; 2SD; [2]) and lighter than the proposed average for Earth's continental crust (0.3 to 0.4‰ [4]). All data combined, although overlapping in errors, show a consistent trend of lighter δ98Mo and lower Mo concentrations in more melt-depleted mantle sources, indicating incompatible behaviour of Mo and preferential mobilization of heavy Mo isotopes during mantle melting. [1] Hin et al. (2013) EPSL, 379 [2] Burkhardt et al. (2014) EPSL, 391 [3] Nägler, et al. (2014) GGR, 38. [4] Voegelin et al. (2014) Lithos, 190-191.

  10. The provenance of Archean clastic metasediments in the Narryer Gneiss Complex, Western Australia: Trace element geochemistry, Nd isotopes, and U-Pb ages for detrital zircons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maas, Roland; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    1991-07-01

    Clastic metasedimentary rocks of mid-Archean age from the Mt. Narryer and Jack Hills metasedimentary belts have REE patterns resembling those of mid- to late-Archean pelitic-quartzitic cratonic sequences elsewhere, and post-Archean continental rocks in general. Detrital zircons in the metasediments range in age from ca. 3000 to 3700 Ma. This indicates a provenance from mature cratonic sources controlled by K-rich granitic rocks. Additional minor sediment sources were identified as older, mainly chemical sedimentary sequences, ultramafic rocks, and felsic rocks characterized by low HREE contents, perhaps of tonalitic affinity. The association of the near-shore/fluviatile clastic association studied here with extensive turbiditic and chemical sedimentary sequences indicates these sources formed part of a (rifted ?) cratonic margin ca. 3 Ga ago. Differences between sedimentary REE patterns and those in the surrounding 3.73-3.0 Ga orthogneiss terrain, and between detrital zircon ages and the age distribution in the gneisses, suggest that the present association of the metasedimentary belts with the orthogneiss terrain is of tectonic origin. The occurrence of detrital zircons with U-Pb ages > 4 Ga in certain quartzites and conglomerates of the Jack Hills and Mt. Narryer metasedimentary sequences indicates a further, most likely granitic, source. ɛNd( TDep) values in Jack Hills metasediments vary widely (+5 to -12) but have a smaller range in the Mt. Narryer belt (-5 to -9). The lowest ɛNd values of both sequences are interpreted to reflect the presence of detritus derived from 4.1-4.2 Ga old LREE-enriched continental crust in proportions considerably larger (≥ 10%) than estimated previously from the abundance of pre-4 Ga detrital zircons (≈3%). This would imply the former existence of significant volumes of pre-4 Ga continental crust in the provenance of the Mt. Narryer and Jack Hills metasediments.

  11. The provenance of Archean clastic metasediments in the Narryer Gneiss Complex, western Australia: Trace element geochemistry, Nd isotopes, and U-Pb ages for detrital zircons

    SciT

    Maas, R.; McCulloch, M.T.

    1991-07-01

    Clastic metasedimentary rocks of mid-Archean age from the Mt. Narryer and Jack Hills metasedimentary belts have REE patterns resembling those of mid- to late-Archean pelitic-quartzitic cratonic sequences elsewhere, and post-Archean continental rocks in general. Detrital zircons in the metasediments range in age from ca. 3,000 to 3,700 Ma. This indicates a provenance from mature cratonic sources controlled by K-rich granitic rocks. Additional minor sediment sources were identified as older, mainly chemical sedimentary sequences, ultramafic rocks, and felsic rocks characterized by low HREE contents, perhaps of tonalitic affinity. Differences between sedimentary REE patterns and those in the surrounding 3.73-3.0 Ga orthogneissmore » terrain, and between detrital zircon ages and the age distribution in the gneisses, suggest that the present association of the metasedimentary belts with the orthogneiss terrain is of tectonic origin. The occurrence of detrital zircons with U-Pb ages > 4 Ga in certain quartzites and conglomerates of the Jack Hills and Mt. Narryer metasedimentary sequences indicates a further, most likely granitic, source. {epsilon}{sub Nd}(T{sub Dep}) values in Jack Hills metasediments vary widely (+5 to {minus}12) but have a smaller range in the Mt. Narryer belt ({minus}5 to {minus}9). The lowest {epsilon}{sub Nd} values of both sequences are interpreted to reflect the presence of detritus derived from 4.1-4.2 Ga old LREE-enriched continental crust in proportions considerably larger ({ge} 10%) than estimated previously from the abundance of pre-4 Ga detrital zircons ({approx}3%). This would imply the former existence of significant volumes of pre-4 Ga continental crust in the provenance of the Mt. Narryer and Jack Hills metasediments.« less

  12. Variability in Rock Thermal Properties in the Late Archean Crust of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone and Implications for its Thermal Structure and Metamorphic History.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merriman, J. D.; Whittington, A. G.; Hofmeister, A. M.

    2017-12-01

    The thermal properties of rocks such as internal heat production and thermal diffusivity (α) play a key role in determining the thermal structure of the lithosphere, and consequently, the rates and styles of metamorphism within the crust. Over the last decade, measurements of α using the method laser flash analysis have shown the ability of a rock to conduct heat can vary by as much as a factor of 5 between common rock types, and decrease by up to a factor of 10 for the same rock between 25-1000°C. Here we present a preliminary model for the variability in rock throughout the crust based on measurements of the α of a suite of 100 samples from late Archean crust exposed in and around the Kapuskasing Structural Zone in Ontario, Canada. Preliminary results suggest that α is controlled primarily by mineralogy, and can vary not only between different rock types as described above, but also within the same rock by a factor of 1.5 (or more). Thermal diffusivity results were combined with heat producing element concentrations measured with ICP-MS to create a thermal model of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone prior its uplift and exposure. To provide additional constraints for P-T conditions within the pre-uplift KSZ crust, a combination of trace-element and pseudosection thermobarometry was used to estimate metamorphic temperatures during an extended period of crustal stability at the end of the Archean. Preliminary results were compared to finite-difference numerical models of the steady-state geothermal gradient using heat production back-calculated to 2.6 Ga. Results suggest a minimum thickness of the continental lithosphere during the late Archean of at least 150 km. To test the response of the crust to the effects of large thermal events such as pluton emplacement, we also performed time-dependent models of the thermal structure of the pre-uplift KSZ crust. These models suggest that heat from thermal events in the upper and middle crust result in a more insulating

  13. Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic compositions of a suite of Large Archean, igneous rocks, eastern Beartooth Mountains - Implications for crust-mantle evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wooden, J. L.; Mueller, P. A.

    1988-01-01

    Compositionally diverse Late Archean rocks (2.74-2.79 Ga old) from the eastern Beartooth Mountains (Montana and Wyoming) were studied and shown to have the same initial Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic ratios. Lead and Sr initial ratios are higher and Nd initial values lower than predicted for rocks derived from model mantle sources and strongly indicate the involvement of an older crustal reservoir in the genesis of these rocks. A model involving subduction of continental detritus and contamination of the overlying mantle is suggested.

  14. Microfacies of mappable Archean biomats, Moodies Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gamper, Antonia; Heubeck, Christoph; Ohnemueller, Frank; Walsh, Maud

    2010-05-01

    coarse-grained sand and subordinate palm-sized planar (apparently brittle) biomat fragments mixed with granule and pebble lag at the channel base. Channel dimensions and erosivity may suggest a subaerial setting and imply that biomat growth either predated a temporary base-level drop or grew on land, presumably in a flat coastal setting. The micromorphology, large lateral extent, and depositional architecture of the biomats indicate a well-developed, adaptable, resistant microbial ecosystem along a medium-energy coast and offer a remarkable window in the conditions under which early life on Earth developed.

  15. Field occurrence and lithology of Archean hydrothermal systems in the 3.2Ga Dixon Island Formation, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aihara, Y.; Kiyokawa, S.; Ito, T.; Ikehara, M.; Yamaguchi, K. E.; Horie, K.; Sakamoto, R.; Miki, T.

    2013-12-01

    Stratigraphic transition of black chert to iron-rich sedimentary rocks above volcanic sequences with hydrothermal systems is common and characteristic feature of Archean greenstone belts. The 3.2 Ga Dixon Island Formation, exposed along the northern coast of Dixon Island located in the coastal Pilbara terrane, Western Australia, is one of such units and the focus of our study. We introduce field occurrence and lithology of the Dixon Island Formation that preserves features of paleohydrohermal environment in the Mesoarchean ocean. The Dixon Island Formation is composed of the following three members (in ascending order): Komatiite-Rhyolite Tuff, Black Chert, and Varicolored Chert members (Kiyokawa and Taira, 1998). Here we focus on the Komatiite-Rholite Tuff member. It preserves two cycles of highly altered komatiite lavas and well-stratified rhyolite tuff. Komatiite lavas include dendritic crystals of chrome spinel and ghosts of spinifex, euhedral and sheet-like olivines and pyroxenes. These rocks are now composed of granular microcrystalline quartz with chromian muscovite, chrome spinel and chrorite that formed by intense silicification. Its upper part contains hydrothermal veining and alteration (i.e., many vein swarms composed of veins of quartz and organic carbon-rich black chert). Most black chert veins intrude vertically into overlying layers, and contain barite, pyrite, monazite and clay minerals which were least affected by silicificatio. Based on the cross-cutting relationship seen in the outcrops, we recognized two generations of black chert veins (type 1 and type 2 veins; Kiyokawa et al., 2006). Type 1 veins are mainly composed of carbonaceous peloids in a microcrystalline quartz matrix. Euhedral and xenocrystic tourmaline are found only in Type1 veins. Type 2 veins are organic carbon-poor and contain fragments of black chert and siliceous volcanic breccia (Kiyokawa et al., 2006). Intense silicification of komatiitic volcaniclastics and lava, enriched in

  16. Early Life on Earth: the Ancient Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westall, F.

    2004-07-01

    The evidence for early life and its initial evolution on Earth is lin= ked intimately with the geological evolution of the early Earth. The environment of the early Earth would be considered extreme by modern standards: hot (50-80=B0C), volcanically and hydrothermally active, a= noxic, high UV flux, and a high flux of extraterrestrial impacts. Habitats = for life were more limited until continent-building processes resulted in= the formation of stable cratons with wide, shallow, continental platforms= in the Mid-Late Archaean. Unfortunately there are no records of the first appearance of life and the earliest isotopic indications of the exist= ence of organisms fractionating carbon in ~3.8 Ga rocks from the Isua greenst= one belt in Greenland are tenuous. Well-preserved microfossils and micro= bial mats (in the form of tabular and domical stromatolites) occur in 3.5-= 3.3 Ga, Early Archaean, sedimentary formations from the Barberton (South Afri= ca) and Pilbara (Australia) greenstone belts. They document life forms that = show a relatively advanced level of evolution. Microfossil morphology inclu= des filamentous, coccoid, rod and vibroid shapes. Colonial microorganism= s formed biofilms and microbial mats at the surfaces of volcaniclastic = and chemical sediments, some of which created (small) macroscopic microbi= alites such as stromatolites. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may already have developed. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes ratios are in the r= ange of those for organisms with anaerobic metabolisms, such as methanogenesi= s, sulphate reduction and photosynthesis. Life was apparently distribute= d widely in shallow-water to littoral environments, including exposed, evaporitic basins and regions of hydrothermal activity. Biomass in t= he early Archaean was restricted owing to the limited amount of energy t= hat could be produced by anaerobic metabolisms. Microfossils resembling o= xygenic photosynthesisers, such as cyanobacteria, probably first occurred in

  17. A non-zircon Hf isotope record in Archean black shales from the Pilbara craton confirms changing crustal dynamics ca. 3 Ga ago.

    PubMed

    Nebel-Jacobsen, Yona; Nebel, Oliver; Wille, Martin; Cawood, Peter A

    2018-01-17

    Plate tectonics and associated subduction are unique to the Earth. Studies of Archean rocks show significant changes in composition and structural style around 3.0 to 2.5 Ga that are related to changing tectonic regime, possibly associated with the onset of subduction. Whole rock Hf isotope systematics of black shales from the Australian Pilbara craton, selected to exclude detrital zircon components, are employed to evaluate the evolution of the Archean crust. This approach avoids limitations of Hf-in-zircon analyses, which only provide input from rocks of sufficient Zr-concentration, and therefore usually represent domains that already underwent a degree of differentiation. In this study, we demonstrate the applicability of this method through analysis of shales that range in age from 3.5 to 2.8 Ga, and serve as representatives of their crustal sources through time. Their Hf isotopic compositions show a trend from strongly positive εHf initial values for the oldest samples, to strongly negative values for the younger samples, indicating a shift from juvenile to differentiated material. These results confirm a significant change in the character of the source region of the black shales by 3 Ga, consistent with models invoking a change in global dynamics from crustal growth towards crustal reworking around this time.

  18. Biological effects of high ultraviolet radiation on early earth--a theoretical evaluation.

    PubMed

    Cockell, C S

    1998-08-21

    The surface of early Earth was exposed to both UVC radiation (< 280 nm) and higher doses of UVB (280-315 nm) compared with the surface of present day Earth. The degree to which this radiation environment acted as a selection pressure on organisms and biological systems has rarely been theoretically examined with respect to the biologically effective irradiances that ancient organisms would receive. Here action spectra for DNA inactivation and isolated chloroplast inhibition are used to estimate biologically effective irradiances on archean Earth. Comparisons are made with present day Earth. The theoretical estimations on the UV radiation screening required to protect DNA on archean Earth compare well with field and laboratory observations on protection strategies found in present day microbial communities. They suggest that many physical and biological methods may have been effective and would have allowed for the radiation of life even under the high UV radiation regimes of archean Earth. Such strategies would also have provided effective reduction of photoinhibition by UV radiation. The data also suggest that the UV regime on the surface of Mars is not a life limiting factor per se, although other environmental factors such as desiccation and low temperatures may contribute towards the apparent lack of a surface biota.

  19. Hygroscopicity of Early Earth and Titan Laboratory Aerosol Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasenkopf, C. A.; Beaver, M. R.; Freedman, M. A.; Toon, O. B.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2009-12-01

    We have explored the ability of organic hazes, known to exist in the atmosphere of Titan and postulated to have existed in the Archean Earth atmosphere, to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). These laboratory aerosol analogs are generated via UV-photolysis of early Earth and Titan analog gas mixtures and are designed to mimic the present day atmospheric conditions on Titan and the early Earth atmosphere before the rise of oxygen. Water uptake is observed to occur on the early Earth and Titan aerosol analogs at relative humidities of 80% - 90% via optical growth measurements using cavity ring-down aerosol extinction spectroscopy. We find the optical growth of these aerosols is similar to known slightly-soluble organic acids, such as phthalic and pyromellitic acids. On average, the optical growth of the early Earth analog is slightly larger than the Titan analog. In order to translate our measurements obtained in a subsaturated regime into the CCN ability of these particles, we rely on the hygroscopicity parameter κ, developed by Petters & Kreidenweis (2007). We retrieve κ = 0.17±0.03 and 0.06±0.01 for the early Earth and Titan analogs, respectively. This early Earth analog hygroscopicity value indicates that the aerosol could activate at reasonable water vapor supersaturations. We use previous aerosol mass spectrometry results to correlate the chemical structure of the two types of analog with their hygroscopicity. The hygroscopicity of the early Earth aerosol analog, coupled with the apparent lack of other good CCN during the Archean, helps explain the role of the organic haze in the indirect effect of clouds on the early Earth and indicates that it may have had a significant impact on the hydrological cycle.

  20. Evidence for Archean inheritance in the pre-Panafrican crust of Central Cameroon: Insight from zircon internal structure and LA-MC-ICP-MS Usbnd Pb ages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganwa, Alembert Alexandre; Klötzli, Urs Stephan; Hauzenberger, Christoph

    2016-08-01

    sources. It is likely that erosion, transport and deposition took place between 2116 and 821 Ma. Geochemical data show that the REE, Y, Yb, Sr/Y of some samples are similar to the known Archean craton formations (depletion in REE, Y ≤ 10 ppm, Yb ≤ 1 ppm, Sr/Y ≥ 30). These characteristics are known as specific for the Archean TTG (Tonalite-Trondhjemite-Granodiorite). It means that: i) Archean TTG contribute significantly to the detritus of the sedimentary basin, ii) The depositional basin and the source rock were close and the detritus was immature. Our results show that the Pre-Panafrican history of central Cameroon includes Meso- to Neo-Archean crustal accretion and associated magmatism prior to the Paleoproterozoic event of the West Central African Belt. In respect to this new insight, any evolutionary reconstruction of the area should integrate the presence of Archean crust.

  1. The late Archean Schreiber Hemlo and White River Dayohessarah greenstone belts, Superior Province: collages of oceanic plateaus, oceanic arcs, and subduction accretion complexes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polat, A.; Kerrich, R.; Wyman, D. A.

    1998-04-01

    The late Archean (ca. 2.80-2.68 Ga) Schreiber-Hemlo and White River-Dayohessarah greenstone belts of the Superior Province, Canada, are supracrustal lithotectonic assemblages of ultramafic to tholeiitic basalt ocean plateau sequences, and tholeiitic to calc-alkaline volcanic arc sequences, and siliciclastic turbidites, collectively intruded by arc granitoids. The belts have undergone three major phases of deformation; two probably prior to, and one during the assembly of the southern Superior Province. Imbricated lithotectonic assemblages are often disrupted by syn-accretion strike-slip faults, suggesting that strike-slip faulting was an important aspect of greenstone belt evolution. Field relations, structural characteristics, and high-precision ICP-MS trace-element data obtained for representative lithologies of the Schreiber-Hemlo and White River-Dayohessarah greenstone belts suggest that they represent collages of oceanic plateaus, juvenile oceanic island arcs, in subduction-accretion complexes. Stratigraphic relationships, structural, and geochemical data from these Archean greenstone belts are consistent with a geodynamic evolution commencing with the initiation of a subduction zone at the margins of an oceanic plateau, similar to the modern Caribbean oceanic plateau and surrounding subduction-accretion complexes. All supracrustal assemblages include both ocean plateau and island-arc geochemical characteristics. The structural and geochemical characteristics of vertically and laterally dismembered supracrustal units of the Schreiber-Hemlo and White River-Dayohessarah greenstone belts cannot be explained either by a simple tectonic juxtaposition of lithotectonic assemblages with stratified volcanic and sedimentary units, or cyclic mafic to felsic bimodal volcanism models. A combination of out-of-sequence thrusting, and orogen-parallel strike-slip faulting of accreted ocean plateaus, oceanic arcs, and trench turbidites can account for the geological and

  2. The origin and early evolution of life on Earth.

    PubMed

    Oró, J; Miller, S L; Lazcano, A

    1990-01-01

    We do not have a detailed knowledge of the processes that led to the appearance of life on Earth. In this review we bring together some of the most important results that have provided insights into the cosmic and primitive Earth environments, particularly those environments in which life is thought to have originated. To do so, we first discuss the evidence bearing on the antiquity of life on our planet and the prebiotic significance of organic compounds found in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar system bodies such as comets, dark asteroids, and carbonaceous chondrites. This is followed by a discussion on the environmental models of the Hadean and early Archean Earth, as well as on the prebiotic formation of organic monomers and polymers essential to life. We then consider the processes that may have led to the appearance in the Archean of the first cells, and how these processes may have affected the early steps of biological evolution. Finally, the significance of these results to the study of the distribution of life in the Universe is discussed.

  3. Calibration of carbonate composition using micro-Raman analysis: application to planetary surface exploration.

    PubMed

    Rividi, Nicolas; van Zuilen, Mark; Philippot, Pascal; Ménez, Bénédicte; Godard, Gaston; Poidatz, Emmanuel

    2010-04-01

    Stromatolite structures in Early Archean carbonate deposits form an important clue for the existence of life in the earliest part of Earth's history. Since Mars is thought to have had similar environmental conditions early in its history, the question arises as to whether such stromatolite structures also evolved there. Here, we explore the capability of Raman spectroscopy to make semiquantitative estimates of solid solutions in the Ca-Mg-Fe(+Mn) carbonate system, and we assess its use as a rover-based technique for stromatolite characterization during future Mars missions. Raman microspectroscopy analysis was performed on a set of carbonate standards (calcite, ankerite, dolomite, siderite, and magnesite) of known composition. We show that Raman band shifts of siderite-magnesite and ankerite-dolomite solid solutions display a well-defined positive correlation (r(2) > 0.9) with the Mg# = 100 x Mg/(Mg + Fe + Mn + Ca) of the carbonate analyzed. Raman shifts calibrated as a function of Mg# were used in turn to evaluate the chemical composition of carbonates. Raman analysis of a suite of carbonates (siderite, sidero-magnesite, ankerite, and dolomite) of hydrothermal and sedimentary origin from the ca. 3.2 Ga old Barite Syncline, Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa, and from the ca. 3.5 Ga old Dresser Formation, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, show good compositional agreement with electron microprobe analyses. These results indicate that Raman spectroscopy can provide direct information on the composition and structure of carbonates on planetary surfaces.

  4. High-K granites of the Rum Jungle Complex, N-Australia: Insights into the Late Archean crustal evolution of the North Australian Craton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drüppel, K.; McCready, A. J.; Stumpfl, E. F.

    2009-08-01

    The Late Archean (c. 2.54-2.52 Ga) high-K granitoids of the Rum Jungle Complex, Northern Australia, display the igneous mineral assemblage of K-feldspar, quartz, plagioclase, biotite, and magnetite, and accessories such as zircon, monazite, titanite, allanite, apatite, and ilmenite. The granites underwent a variably severe greenschist facies alteration and associated deformation during the Barramundi Orogeny (1.88-1.85 Ga). The K-rich granitoids have variable compositions, mainly comprising syenogranite and quartz-monzonite. They can be subdivided into two major groups, (1) felsic granites and (2) intermediate to felsic granites, quartz-monzonites, and diorite. The felsic group (69-76 wt.% SiO 2) shares many features with typical Late Archean potassic granites. They are K- and LILE-rich and show marked depletion in Sr and Eu and the high field strength elements (HFSE), particularly Nb and Ti, relative to LILE and LREE. Compared to the average upper crust they have anomalously high Th (up to 123 ppm) and U (up to 40 ppm). The intermediate to felsic group (56-69 wt.% SiO 2) differs from the felsic group in having weakly lower Th and U but higher Mg#, Ti, Ba, Sr, Ni, Cr and REE, with a less pronounced negative Eu anomaly. This group displays well-defined trends in Harker diagrams, involving a negative correlation of Si with Sr, Ca, Na, and P whereas K, Rb, and Ba increase in the same direction, suggesting fractional crystallization of feldspar was more prominent than in the felsic suite. The mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of the felsic group are consistent with granite formation by intracrustal melting of plagioclase-rich igneous protoliths, probably of tonaltic to granodioritic composition, at moderate crustal levels. The intermediate to felsic granites, on the other hand, appear to be the products of mantle-crust interaction, possibly by melting of or mixing with more mafic igneous rocks. As evidenced by the presence of older inherited zircons crustal

  5. Recycled Archean sulfur in the mantle wedge of the Mariana Forearc and microbial sulfate reduction within an extremely alkaline serpentine seamount

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aoyama, Shinnosuke; Nishizawa, Manabu; Miyazaki, Junichi; Shibuya, Takazo; Ueno, Yuichiro; Takai, Ken

    2018-06-01

    The identification of microbial activity under extreme conditions is important to define potential boundaries of the habitable and uninhabitable zones of terrestrial and extraterrestrial living forms. The subseafloor regimes of serpentinite seamounts in the Mariana Forearc are among the most extreme environments for life on earth owing to the widespread presence of highly alkaline fluids with pH values greater than 12. The potential activity of sulfate-reducing microorganisms has been suggested within the South Chamorro serpentinite seamounts on the basis of depletion of sulfate and enrichment of dissolved sulfide in pore water. However, the vertical distribution of sulfate-reducing microorganisms and the origin of sulfate are still uncertain. To address these issues, we analyzed quadruple sulfur isotopes of sulfide minerals and pore water sulfate in the upper 56 m of sedimentary sequences at the summit of the S. Chamorro Seamount and those of dissolved sulfate in upwelling fluids collected as deep as 202 mbsf (meters below the seafloor) in a cased hole near the summit of the same seamount. The depth profiles of the concentrations and the δ34S and Δ33S‧ values of sulfide minerals and pore water sulfate indicate microbial sulfate reduction as deep as 30 mbsf. Further, apparent isotopic fractionations (34ε) and exponents of mass dependent relationships (33λ) during sulfate reduction are estimated to be 62 ± 14‰ and 0.512 ± 0.002, respectively. The upwelling fluids show both the chlorine depletion relative to seawater and the negative δ15N values of ammonia (-4‰). Although these signatures point to dehydration of the subducting oceanic plate, the negative Δ33S‧ values of sulfate (-0.16‰ to -0.26‰ with analytical errors of ±0.01‰) are unlikely to originate from surrounding modern crusts. Instead, sulfate in the upwelling fluid likely possess non-mass-dependent (NMD) sulfur. Because NMD sulfur was produced primarily in the Archean atmosphere, our

  6. Granite-hosted molybdenite mineralization from Archean Bundelkhand craton-molybdenite characterization, host rock mineralogy, petrology, and fluid inclusion characteristics of Mo-bearing quartz

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pati, J. K.; Panigrahi, M. K.; Chakarborty, M.

    2014-06-01

    The dominantly high-K, moderate to high SiO2 containing, variably fractionated, volcanic-arc granitoids (± sheared) from parts of Bundelkhand craton, northcentral India are observed to contain molybdenite (Mo) in widely separated 23 locations in the form of specks, pockets, clots and stringers along with quartz ± pyrite ± arsenopyrite ± chalcopyrite ± bornite ± covellite ± galena ± sphalerite and in invisible form as well. The molybdenite mineralization is predominantly associated with Bundelkhand Tectonic Zone, Raksa Shear Zone, and localized shear zones. The incidence of molybdenite is also observed within sheared quartz and tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) gneisses. The fluid inclusion data show the presence of bi-phase (H2O-CO2), hypersaline and moderate temperature (100°-300°C) primary stretched fluid inclusions suggesting a possible hydrothermal origin for the Mo-bearing quartz occurring within variably deformed different granitoids variants of Archean Bundelkhand craton.

  7. Mantle heterogeneity and crustal recycling in Archean granite-greenstone belts - Evidence from Nd isotopes and trace elements in the Rainy Lake area, Superior Province, Ontario, Canada

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shirey, Steven B.; Hanson, Gilbert N.

    1986-01-01

    Crustal evolution in the Rainy Lake area, Ontario is studied in terms of geochemical characteristics. The Nd isotope data are examined for heterogeneity of the Archean mantle, and the Sm/Nd depletion of the mantle is analyzed. The Nd isotope systematics of individual rock suites is investigated in order to understand the difference between crust and mantle sources; the precursors and petrogenetic processes are discussed. The correlation between SiO2 content and Nd values is considered. Rapid recycling of crustal components, which were previously derived from depleted mantle sources, is suggested based on the similarity of the initial Nd isotopic composition for both mantle-derived and crustally-derived rocks.

  8. The origin and evolution of sulfur in an Archean volcano-sedimentary basin, Deer Lake area, Minnesota. M.S. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nicol, D. L.

    1980-01-01

    Rocks of the Deer Lake area, northcentral Minnesota, consist of Archean (age greater than 2.6 billion years) metasediments and metavolcanics intruded by mafic layered sills. Geologic and sulfur isotopic data suggest that sulfides in the sediments are bacteriogenic, having formed in response to the activity of sulfate reducing bacteria during diagenesis. Deposition of the sediments appears to have occurred in a deep marine basin with restricted circulation of sea water. The bulk of the sulfur in the igneous rocks is of deep seated origin, but basal contacts of the sills show evidence of assimilation of biogenic sulfur from the intruded sediments. This assimilation of biogenic sulfur is the primary geochemical control of local Cu-Ni sulfide mineralization.

  9. Finding the Needles in the Haystacks: High-Fidelity Models of the Modern and Archean Solar System for Simulating Exoplanet Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roberge, Aki; Rizzo, Maxime J.; Lincowski, Andrew P.; Arney, Giada N.; Stark, Christopher C.; Robinson, Tyler D.; Snyder, Gregory F.; Pueyo, Laurent; Zimmerman, Neil T.; Jansen, Tiffany; hide

    2017-01-01

    We present two state-of-the-art models of the solar system, one corresponding to the present day and one to the Archean Eon 3.5 billion years ago. Each model contains spatial and spectral information for the star, the planets, and the interplanetary dust, extending to 50 au from the Sun and covering the wavelength range 0.3-2.5 micron. In addition, we created a spectral image cube representative of the astronomical backgrounds that will be seen behind deep observations of extrasolar planetary systems, including galaxies and Milky Way stars. These models are intended as inputs to high-fidelity simulations of direct observations of exoplanetary systems using telescopes equipped with high-contrast capability. They will help improve the realism of observation and instrument parameters that are required inputs to statistical observatory yield calculations, as well as guide development of post-processing algorithms for telescopes capable of directly imaging Earth-like planets.

  10. The Archean komatiite-hosted, PGE-bearing Ni-Cu sulfide deposit at Vaara, eastern Finland: evidence for assimilation of external sulfur and post-depositional desulfurization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Konnunaho, J. P.; Hanski, E. J.; Bekker, A.; Halkoaho, T. A. A.; Hiebert, R. S.; Wing, B. A.

    2013-12-01

    Archean komatiites host important resources of Ni, Cu, Co, and PGE, particularly in Western Australia and Canada. In Finland, several small, low-grade sulfide deposits have been found in komatiites, including the ca. 2.8 Ga Vaara deposit in the Archean Suomussalmi greenstone belt. It occurs in the central part of the serpentinized olivine cumulate zone of a komatiitic extrusive body and is composed of disseminated interstitial sulfides consisting of pyrite, pentlandite, millerite, violarite, and chalcopyrite accompanied by abundant magnetite. Although currently subeconomic, the mineralization is interesting due to the very high chalcophile element contents of the sulfide fraction (38 wt% Ni, 3.4 wt% Cu, 0.7 wt% Co, 22.4 ppm Pd, and 9.5 ppm Pt). The sulfides occur in relatively Cr-poor olivine cumulates suggesting involvement of a chromite-undersaturated magma. The parental magma was an Al-undepleted komatiite with an estimated MgO content of at least 24 wt%. In contrast to the common komatiite types in the eastern Finland greenstone belts, the Vaara rocks are moderately enriched in LREE relative to MREE, suggesting that crustal contamination played an important role in the genesis of the Vaara deposit. Multiple sulfur isotope data reveal considerable mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation both in country rock sedimentary sulfides (Δ33S ranges from -0.50 to +2.37 ‰) and in the Vaara mineralization (Δ33S ranges from +0.53 to +0.66 ‰), which provides strong evidence for incorporation of crustal sulfur. Extensive replacement of interstitial sulfides by magnetite and the presence of millerite- and violarite-bearing, pyrrhotite-free sulfide assemblages indicate significant post-magmatic, low-temperature hydrothermal oxidation of the primary magmatic pyrrhotite-pentlandite-chalcopyrite assemblages and associated sulfur loss that led to a significant upgrading of the original metal tenors of the Vaara deposit.

  11. Stratigraphy, petrography, and provenance of Archean sedimentary rocks of the Nsuze Group, Pongola Supergroup, in the Wit M'folozi Inlier, South Africa

    SciT

    Gamero de Villarroel, H.; Lowe, D.R.

    1993-02-01

    The Upper Archean Pongola Supergroup is a succession of clastic and volcanic rocks that represents the oldest relatively unmetamorphosed sedimentary sequence deposited on the basement of the 3.5-3.2 Ga-old Kaapvaal Craton. The Pongola Supergroup includes two subdivisions, the Nsuze and the Mozaan Groups. The Nsuze Group is composed of clastic rocks, minor carbonate units, and basalt. Nsuze sandstones are dominated by granite-derived sediments, and minor basaltic-derived detritus. Most Nsuze sedimentary rocks are sandstones that include both quartz-fieldspar and lithic-rich varieties. The mineralogy of Nsuze sandstones reflects the mixing of debris derived from two distinctive sources: (1) a sialic plutonic sourcemore » yielding quartz and microcline and (2) a basaltic source yielding basaltic lithic detritus and plagioclase. The most likely source rocks for the Nsuze sandstones in the Wit M'folozi Inlier were Archean granitic basement, represented by the Mpuluzi batholith, and Nsuze basaltic volcanic rocks. Both continental arc and rift settings have been proposed for the Pongola Supergroup. Nsuze sandstones show similarities to continental arc sandstone suites. However, there is no report of the existence of high standing stratovolcanoes, calc-alkaline plutonism, or contact and regional metamorphism of the intruded volcanic-sedimentary and basement rocks in the Pongola basin, features that are typically associated with continental arcs. The dominance of continent-derived detritus in the Nsuze Group argues that volcanic rocks made up a minor part of the exposed source area and that volcanism was largely restricted to the basin of deposition. Collectively, available evidence favors an intracratonic rift for the depositional setting of the Nsuze Group.« less

  12. Microfossils from the Neoarchean Campbell Group, Griqualand West Sequence of the Transvaal Supergroup, and their paleoenvironmental and evolutionary implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Altermann, W.; Schopf, J. W.

    1995-01-01

    The oldest filament- and colonial coccoid-containing microbial fossil assemblage now known is described here from drill core samples of stromatolitic cherty limestones of the Neoarchean, approximately 2600-Ma-old Campbell Group (Ghaap Plateau Dolomite, Lime Acres Member) obtained at Lime Acres, northern Cape Province, South Africa. The assemblage is biologically diverse, including entophysalidacean (Eoentophysalis sp.), probable chroococcacean (unnamed colonial coccoids), and oscillatoriacean cyanobacteria (Eomycetopsis cf. filiformis, and Siphonophycus transvaalensis), as well as filamentous fossil bacteria (Archaeotrichion sp.); filamentous possible microfossils (unnamed hematitic filaments) also occur. The Campbell Group microorganisms contributed to the formation of stratiform and domical to columnar stromatolitic reefs in shallow subtidal to intertidal environments of the Transvaal intracratonic sea. Although only moderately to poorly preserved, they provide new evidence regarding the paleoenvironmental setting of the Campbell Group sediments, extend the known time-range of entophysalidacean cyanobacteria by more than 400 million years, substantiate the antiquity and role in stromatolite formation of Archean oscillatoriacean cyanobacteria, and document the exceedingly slow (hypobradytelic) evolutionary rate characteristic of this early evolving prokaryotic lineage.

  13. Exploring the Hydrothermal System in the Chicxulub Crater and Implications for the Early Evolution of Life on Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kring, D. A.; Schmieder, M.; Tikoo, S.; Riller, U. P.; Simpson, S. L.; Osinski, G.; Cockell, C. S.; Coolen, M.; Gulick, S. P. S.; Morgan, J. V.

    2017-12-01

    Impact cratering, particularly large basin-size craters with diameters >100 km, have the potential to generate vast subsurface hydrothermal systems. There were dozens of such impacts during the Hadean and early Archean, some of which vaporized seas for brief periods of time, during which the safest niches for early life may have been in those subsurface hydrothermal systems. The Chicxulub crater can serve as a proxy for those events. New IODP-ICDP core recovered by Expedition 364 reveals a high-temperature (>300 degree C) system that may have persisted for more than 100,000 years. Of order 105 to 106 km3 of crust was structurally deformed, melted, and vaporized within about 10 minutes of the impact. The crust had to endure immense strain rates of 104/s to 106/s, up to 12 orders of magnitude greater than those associated with igneous and metamorphic processes. The outcome is a porous, permeable region that is a perfect host for hydrothermal circulation across the entire diameter of the crater to depths up to 5 or 6 km. The target rocks at Chicxulub are composed of an 3 km-thick carbonate platform sequence over a crystalline basement composed of igneous granite, granodiorite, and a few other intrusive components, such as dolerite, and metamorphic assemblages composed, in part, of gneiss and mica schist. Post-impact hydrothermal alteration includes Ca-Na- and K-metasomatism, pervasive hydration to produce layered silicates, and lower-temperature vug-filling zeolites as the system cycled from high temperatures to low temperatures. While the extent of granitic crust on early Earth is still debated and, thus, the direct application of those mineral reactions to the Hadean and early Archean can be debated, the thermal evolution of the system should be applicable to diverse crustal compositions. It is important to point out that pre-impact thermal conditions of Hadean and early Archean crust can affect the size of an impact basin and, in turn, the proportion of that basin

  14. Archean greenstone belt magmatism and the continental growth-mantle evolution connection: constraints from Th-U-Nb-LREE systematics of the 2.7 Ga Wawa subprovince, Superior Province, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polat, Ali; Kerrich, Robert

    2000-01-01

    An extensive database, including Th-;U-Nb-REE systematics, for diverse magmatic and sedimentary lithologies of 2.7 Ga Wawa greenstone belts provide new constraints on the mechanism of crustal growth in the southern Superior Province, and controls on its composition. The greenstone belts are characterized by collages of oceanic plateaus, oceanic island arcs, and trench turbidites; these lithotectonic fragments were tectonically assembled in a large subduction-accretion complex. Following juxtaposition, these diverse lithologies were collectively intruded by syn-kinematic TTG (tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite) plutons and ultramafic to felsic dykes and sills, with subduction zone geochemical signatures. Intra-oceanic basalts are characterized by near-flat REE patterns, and Nb/U and Nb/Th ratios generally greater than primitive mantle values, consistent with positive ɛNd values. They are associated with komatiites, the association being interpreted as an ocean plateau sequence erupted from a mantle plume. Bimodal arc volcanic sequences, trench turbidites, and contemporaneous TTG suites are characterized by fractionated REE, with Nb/U and Nb/Th ratios less than primitive mantle values. Mixing hyperbolae between oceanic plateau and magmatic arc sequences pass through the estimated composition of bulk continental crust, suggesting that crustal growth in the late Archean was by tectonic, sedimentary, and chemical mixing of oceanic plateau and arc sequences at convergent plate boundaries. Mixing calculations suggest that oceanic plateau and subduction zone components in the Wawa continental crust are represented by 6-12% and 88-94%, respectively. High Nb/U and Nb/Th ratios of plateau tholeiitic basalts are interpreted as a complementary reservoir to arc magmatism (low Nb/U and Nb/Th), hundreds of millions of years prior to recycling of oceanic lithosphere through a subduction zone (high Nb/U, Nb/Th), and its incorporation into a mantle plume from which 2.7 Ga plateau

  15. The geology of the Morro Velho gold deposit in the Archean Rio das Velhas greenstone belt, Quadrilátero Ferrífero, Brazil

    Vial, Diogenes Scipioni; DeWitt, Ed; Lobato, Lydia Maria; Thorman, Charles H.

    2007-01-01

    The Morro Velho gold deposit, Quadrilátero Ferrífero region, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is hosted by rocks at the base of the Archean Rio das Velhas greenstone belt. The deposit occurs within a thick carbonaceous phyllite package, containing intercalations of felsic and intermediate volcaniclastic rocks and dolomites. Considering the temporal and spatial association of the deposit with the Rio das Velhas orogeny, and location in close proximity to a major NNW-trending fault zone, it can be classified as an orogenic gold deposit. Hydrothermal activity was characterized by intense enrichment in alteration zones of carbonates, sulfides, chlorite, white mica±biotite, albite and quartz, as described in other Archean lode-type gold ores. Two types of ore occur in the deposit: dark gray quartz veins and sulfide-rich gold orebodies. The sulfide-rich orebodies range from disseminated concentrations of sulfide minerals to massive sulfide bodies. The sulfide assemblage comprises (by volume), on average, 74% pyrrhotite, 17% arsenopyrite, 8% pyrite and 1% chalcopyrite. The orebodies have a long axis parallel to the local stretching lineation, with continuity down the plunge of fold axis for at least 4.8 km. The group of rocks hosting the Morro Velho gold mineralization is locally referred to as lapa seca. These were isoclinally folded and metamorphosed prior to gold mineralization. The lapa seca and the orebodies it hosts are distributed in five main tight folds related to F1 (the best examples are the X, Main and South orebodies, in level 25), which are disrupted by NE- to E-striking shear zones. Textural features indicate that the sulfide mineralization postdated regional peak metamorphism, and that the massive sulfide ore has subsequently been neither metamorphosed nor deformed. Lead isotope ratios indicate a model age of 2.82 ± 0.05 Ga for both sulfide and gold mineralization. The lapa seca are interpreted as the results of a pre-gold alteration process and may be

  16. Trace element and Sm Nd systematics of volcanic and intrusive rocks from the 3 Ga Lumby Lake Greenstone belt, Superior Province: evidence for Archean plume arc interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hollings, Pete; Wyman, Derek

    1999-02-01

    .7-1.9). Intrusive counterparts to both subtypes have been identified within the Marmion Lake batholith to the south of the greenstone belt. The felsic subtypes may be derived from similar parental magmas by variable degrees of hornblende involvement during fractionation processes. Sm/Nd isotope systematics from a range of rock compositions have yielded ɛNd values of +2 to +5, typical of the range for Archean volcanic and intrusive rocks. Komatiite-tholeiite associations within Archean terranes are interpreted as the result of plume related magmatism likely in a geodynamic setting comparable to Phanerozoic oceanic plateaux. In contrast intermediate and felsic rocks are typical of calc alkaline suites generally attributed to Archean subduction related environments. The coeval eruption of the two magma suites in the Lumby Lake belt is best interpreted as the result of the sporadic subduction of plume-modified oceanic spreading centres over 10s of m.y. and the eventual impingement of a mantle plume upon an active subduction zone. This process can also account for the young age of basement material relative to overlying rift sequences in 3 Ga terranes of the Superior Province.

  17. Petrology of the Rainy Lake area, Minnesota, USA-implications for petrotectonic setting of the archean southern Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Day, Warren C.

    1990-08-01

    The Rainy Lake area in northern Minnesota and southwestern, Ontario is a Late Archean (2.7 Ga) granite-greenstone belt within the Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield. In Minnesota the rocks include mafic and felsic volcanic rocks, volcaniclastic, chemical sedimentary rocks, and graywacke that are intrucded by coeval gabbro, tonalite, and granodiorite. New data presented here focus on the geochemistry and petrology of the Minnesota part of the Rainy Lake area. Igneous rocks in the area are bimodal. The mafic rocks are made up of three distinct suites: (1) low-TiO2 tholeiite and gabbro that have slightly evolved Mg-numbers (63 49) and relatively flat rare-earth element (REE) patterns that range from 20 8 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=0.8 1.5); (2) high-TiO2 tholeiite with evolved Mg-numbers (46 29) and high total REE abundances that range from 70 40 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=1.8 3.3), and (3) calc-alkaline basaltic andesite and geochemically similar monzodiorite and lamprophyre with primitive Mg-numbers (79 63), enriched light rare-earth elements (LREE) and depleted heavy rare-earth elements (HREE). These three suites are not related by partial melting of a similar source or by fractional crystallization of a common parental magma; they resulted from melting of heterogeneous Archean mantle. The felsic rocks are made up of two distinct suites: (1)low-Al2O3 tholeiitic rhyolite, and (2) high-Al2O3 calc-alkaline dacite and rhyolite and consanguineous tonalite. The tholeiitic felsic rocks are high in Y, Zr, Nb, and total REE that are unfractionated and have pronounced negative Eu anomalies. The calcalkaline felsic rocks are depleted in Y, Zr, and Nb, and the REE that are highly fractionated with high LREE and depleted HREE, and display moderate negative Eu anomalies. Both suites of felsic rocks were generated by partial melting of crustal material. The most reasonable modern analog for the paleotectonic setting is an immature island arc. The bimodal volcanic rocks are

  18. Petrology of the Rainy Lake area, Minnesota, USA-implications for petrotectonic setting of the archean southern Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield

    Day, W.C.

    1990-01-01

    The Rainy Lake area in northern Minnesota and southwestern, Ontario is a Late Archean (2.7 Ga) granite-greenstone belt within the Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield. In Minnesota the rocks include mafic and felsic volcanic rocks, volcaniclastic, chemical sedimentary rocks, and graywacke that are intrucded by coeval gabbro, tonalite, and granodiorite. New data presented here focus on the geochemistry and petrology of the Minnesota part of the Rainy Lake area. Igneous rocks in the area are bimodal. The mafic rocks are made up of three distinct suites: (1) low-TiO2 tholeiite and gabbro that have slightly evolved Mg-numbers (63-49) and relatively flat rare-earth element (REE) patterns that range from 20-8 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=0.8-1.5); (2) high-TiO2 tholeiite with evolved Mg-numbers (46-29) and high total REE abundances that range from 70-40 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=1.8-3.3), and (3) calc-alkaline basaltic andesite and geochemically similar monzodiorite and lamprophyre with primitive Mg-numbers (79-63), enriched light rare-earth elements (LREE) and depleted heavy rare-earth elements (HREE). These three suites are not related by partial melting of a similar source or by fractional crystallization of a common parental magma; they resulted from melting of heterogeneous Archean mantle. The felsic rocks are made up of two distinct suites: (1)low-Al2O3 tholeiitic rhyolite, and (2) high-Al2O3 calc-alkaline dacite and rhyolite and consanguineous tonalite. The tholeiitic felsic rocks are high in Y, Zr, Nb, and total REE that are unfractionated and have pronounced negative Eu anomalies. The calcalkaline felsic rocks are depleted in Y, Zr, and Nb, and the REE that are highly fractionated with high LREE and depleted HREE, and display moderate negative Eu anomalies. Both suites of felsic rocks were generated by partial melting of crustal material. The most reasonable modern analog for the paleotectonic setting is an immature island arc. The bimodal volcanic rocks are

  19. A warm or a cold early Earth? New insights from a 3-D climate-carbon model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charnay, Benjamin; Le Hir, Guillaume; Fluteau, Frédéric; Forget, François; Catling, David C.

    2017-09-01

    Oxygen isotopes in marine cherts have been used to infer hot oceans during the Archean with temperatures between 60 °C (333 K) and 80 °C (353 K). Such climates are challenging for the early Earth warmed by the faint young Sun. The interpretation of the data has therefore been controversial. 1D climate modeling inferred that such hot climates would require very high levels of CO2 (2-6 bars). Previous carbon cycle modeling concluded that such stable hot climates were impossible and that the carbon cycle should lead to cold climates during the Hadean and the Archean. Here, we revisit the climate and carbon cycle of the early Earth at 3.8 Ga using a 3D climate-carbon model. We find that CO2 partial pressures of around 1 bar could have produced hot climates given a low land fraction and cloud feedback effects. However, such high CO2 partial pressures should not have been stable because of the weathering of terrestrial and oceanic basalts, producing an efficient stabilizing feedback. Moreover, the weathering of impact ejecta during the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) would have strongly reduced the CO2 partial pressure leading to cold climates and potentially snowball Earth events after large impacts. Our results therefore favor cold or temperate climates with global mean temperatures between around 8 °C (281 K) and 30 °C (303 K) and with 0.1-0.36 bar of CO2 for the late Hadean and early Archean. Finally, our model suggests that the carbon cycle was efficient for preserving clement conditions on the early Earth without necessarily requiring any other greenhouse gas or warming process.

  20. Direct thermal effects of the Hadean bombardment did not limit early subsurface habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grimm, R. E.; Marchi, S.

    2018-03-01

    Intense bombardment is considered characteristic of the Hadean and early Archean eons, yet some detrital zircons indicate that near-surface water was present and thus at least intervals of clement conditions may have existed. We investigate the habitability of the top few kilometers of the subsurface by updating a prior approach to thermal evolution of the crust due to impact heating, using a revised bombardment history, a more accurate thermal model, and treatment of melt sheets from large projectiles (>100 km diameter). We find that subsurface habitable volume grows nearly continuously throughout the Hadean and early Archean (4.5-3.5 Ga) because impact heat is dissipated rapidly compared to the total duration and waning strength of the bombardment. Global sterilization was only achieved using an order of magnitude more projectiles in 1/10 the time. Melt sheets from large projectiles can completely resurface the Earth several times prior to ∼4.2 Ga but at most once since then. Even in the Hadean, melt sheets have little effect on habitability because cooling times are short compared to resurfacing intervals, allowing subsurface biospheres to be locally re-established by groundwater infiltration between major impacts. Therefore the subsurface is always habitable somewhere, and production of global steam or silicate-vapor atmospheres are the only remaining avenues to early surface sterilization by bombardment.

  1. Geochemical, oxygen, and neodymium isotope compositions of metasediments from the Abitibi greenstone belt and Pontiac Subprovince, Canada: Evidence for ancient crust and Archean terrane juxtaposition

    SciT

    Feng, R.; Kerrich, R.; Maas, R.

    1993-02-01

    The Abitibi greenstone belt (AGB) and Pontiac Subprovince (PS) in the southwestern Superior Province are adjacent greenstone-plutonic and metasedimentary-dominated terranes, respectively, separated by a major fault zone. Metasediments from these two contrasting terranes are compared in terms of major- and trace-element and O- and Nd-isotope compositions, and detrital zircon ages. The following two compositional populations of metasediments are present in the low-grade, Abitibi southern volcanic zone: (1) a mafic-element-enriched population (MEP) characterized by flat, depleted REE patterns; enhanced Mg, Cr, Co, Ni, and Sc; low-incompatible-element contents; and minor or absent normalized negative troughs at Nb, Ta, and Ti; and (2)more » a low-mafic-element population (LMEP) featuring LREE-enriched patterns; enhanced Rb, Cs, Ba, Th, and U contents; and pronounced normalized negative troughs at Nb, Ta, and Ti. These geochemical features are interpreted to indicate that the MEP sediments were derived from an ultramafic- and mafic-dominated oceanic provenance, whereas the LMEP sediments represent mixtures of mafic and felsic are source rocks. The PS metasediments are essentially indistinguishable from Abitibi LMEP on the basis of major-element and transition metal abundances, suggesting comparable types of source rocks and degrees of maturity, but are distinct in terms of some trace elements and O-isotope compositions. The Pontiac metasediments are depleted in [sup 18]O and enriched in Cs, Ba, Pb, Th, U, Nb, Ta, Hf, Zr, and total REE and also have higher ratios of Rb/K, Cs/Rb, Ba/Rb, Ta/Nb, Th/La, and Ba/La relative to the Abitibi LMEP. Two subtypes of REE patterns have been identified in PS metasediments. The first subtype is interpreted to be derived from provenances of mixed mafic and felsic volcanic rocks, whereas the Eu-depleted type has features that are typical of post-Archean sediments or Archean K-rich granites and volcanic equivalents. 100 refs., 9 figs., 4

  2. Microbialite Biosignature Analysis by Mesoscale X-ray Fluorescence (μXRF) Mapping.

    PubMed

    Tice, Michael M; Quezergue, Kimbra; Pope, Michael C

    2017-11-01

    As part of its biosignature detection package, the Mars 2020 rover will carry PIXL, the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, a spatially resolved X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) spectrometer. Understanding the types of biosignatures detectable by μXRF and the rock types μXRF is most effective at analyzing is therefore an important goal in preparation for in situ Mars 2020 science and sample selection. We tested mesoscale chemical mapping for biosignature interpretation in microbialites. In particular, we used μXRF to identify spatial distributions and associations between various elements ("fluorescence microfacies") to infer the physical, biological, and chemical processes that produced the observed compositional distributions. As a test case, elemental distributions from μXRF scans of stromatolites from the Mesoarchean Nsuze Group (2.98 Ga) were analyzed. We included five fluorescence microfacies: laminated dolostone, laminated chert, clotted dolostone and chert, stromatolite clast breccia, and cavity fill. Laminated dolostone was formed primarily by microbial mats that trapped and bound loose sediment and likely precipitated carbonate mud at a shallow depth below the mat surface. Laminated chert was produced by the secondary silicification of microbial mats. Clotted dolostone and chert grew as cauliform, cryptically laminated mounds similar to younger thrombolites and was likely formed by a combination of mat growth and patchy precipitation of early-formed carbonate. Stromatolite clast breccias formed as lag deposits filling erosional scours and interstromatolite spaces. Cavities were filled by microquartz, Mn-rich dolomite, and partially dolomitized calcite. Overall, we concluded that μXRF is effective for inferring genetic processes and identifying biosignatures in compositionally heterogeneous rocks. Key Words: Stromatolites-Biosignatures-Spectroscopy-Archean. Astrobiology 17, 1161-1172.

  3. Archean deep-water depositional system: interbedded and banded iron formation and clastic turbidites in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zentner, Danielle; Lowe, Donald

    2013-04-01

    The 3.23 billion year old sediments in the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa include some of the world's oldest known deep-water deposits. Unique to this locality are turbidites interbedded with banded iron formation (BIF) and banded ferruginous chert (BFC). This unusual association may provide clues for reconstructing Archean deep-water depositional settings. For our study we examined freshly drilled core in addition to measuring ~500 m of outcrop exposures along road cuts. The stacking pattern follows an overall BIF to BFC to amalgamated turbidite succession, although isolated turbidites do occur throughout the sequence. The turbidites are predominately massive, and capped with thin, normally graded tops that include mud rip-ups, chert plates, and ripples. The lack of internal stratification and the amalgamated character suggests emplacement by surging high-density turbidity currents. Large scours and channels are absent and bedding is tabular: the flows were collapsing with little turbulence reaching the bed. In contrast, field evidence indicates the BIF and BFC most likely precipitated directly out of the water column. Preliminary interpretations indicate the deposits may be related to a pro-deltaic setting. (1) Deltaic systems can generate long-lived, high volume turbidity currents. (2) The contacts between the BIF, BFC, and turbidite successions are gradual and inter-fingered, possibly representing lateral facies relationships similar to modern pro-delta environments. (3) Putative fan delta facies, including amalgamated sandstone and conglomerate, exist stratigraphically updip of the basinal sediments.

  4. Biomass recycling and Earth’s early phosphorus cycle

    PubMed Central

    Kipp, Michael A.; Stüeken, Eva E.

    2017-01-01

    Phosphorus sets the pace of marine biological productivity on geological time scales. Recent estimates of Precambrian phosphorus levels suggest a severe deficit of this macronutrient, with the depletion attributed to scavenging by iron minerals. We propose that the size of the marine phosphorus reservoir was instead constrained by muted liberation of phosphorus during the remineralization of biomass. In the modern ocean, most biomass-bound phosphorus gets aerobically recycled; but a dearth of oxidizing power in Earth’s early oceans would have limited the stoichiometric capacity for remineralization, particularly during the