Trace element geochemistry as a tool for interpreting microbialites

Webb, Gregory E. and Kamber, Balz S. (2011). Trace element geochemistry as a tool for interpreting microbialites. In Suzanne D. Golding and Miryam Glikson (Ed.), Earliest Life on Earth: Habitats, Environments and Methods of Detection (pp. 127-170) Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-8794-2

Author Webb, Gregory E.
Kamber, Balz S.
Title of chapter Trace element geochemistry as a tool for interpreting microbialites
Title of book Earliest Life on Earth: Habitats, Environments and Methods of Detection
Place of Publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-8794-2
Year available 2010
ISBN 9789048187935
Editor Suzanne D. Golding
Miryam Glikson
Chapter number 5
Start page 127
End page 170
Total pages 44
Total chapters 11
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Microbialites are critical for documenting early life on earth and ­possibly elsewhere in the solar system. However, criteria for microbialite identification are controversial. Trace element geochemistry provides two types of information that aid interpretation of putative microbialites. Firstly, because most microbialites ­consist of hydrogenous precipitates, trace elements can be used to investigate the fluids in which the structures formed, thus aiding identification of environments of formation. For example, rare earth elements preserved in microbialites have proven very useful in discriminating depositional environments. Secondly, microbes utilize and concentrate a wide range of elements, including many metals. Preservation of such elemental enrichments may provide a valuable biosignature. Although research in this field is relatively young, high precision, in situ measurement of metals in microbialites using techniques such as laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, now with spatial mapping, have identified consistent enrichments in biologically important metals in microbialites. Hence, trace element studies are finding increasing utility in studying microbialites, and so long as diagenesis and the degree to which specific precipitates represent microenvironments are taken into account, trace element inventories may provide important information about depositional settings and, potentially, metabolic processes within biofilms.
Keyword Microbialite
Trace element geochemistry
Rare earth elements
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Publication date: September 02, 2010. Published in Part II: "Evidence and Record of Earliest Life on Earth".

Document type: Book Chapter
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
ERA 2012 Admin Only
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 13 Oct 2011, 15:32:58 EST by Gregory Webb on behalf of School of Earth Sciences