Mobile hydrocarbon microspheres from >2-billion-year-old carbon-bearing seams in the South African deep subsurface

Wanger, G., Moser, D., Hay, M., Myneni, S., Onstott, T. C. and Southam, G. (2012) Mobile hydrocarbon microspheres from >2-billion-year-old carbon-bearing seams in the South African deep subsurface. Geobiology, 10 6: 496-505. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4669.2012.00340.x


Author Wanger, G.
Moser, D.
Hay, M.
Myneni, S.
Onstott, T. C.
Southam, G.
Title Mobile hydrocarbon microspheres from >2-billion-year-old carbon-bearing seams in the South African deep subsurface
Journal name Geobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-4677
1472-4669
Publication date 2012-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2012.00340.x
Volume 10
Issue 6
Start page 496
End page 505
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract By ~2.9 Ga, the time of the deposition of the Witwatersrand Supergroup, life is believed to have been well established on Earth. Carbon remnants of the microbial biosphere from this time period are evident in sediments from around the world. In the Witwatersrand Supergroup, the carbonaceous material is often concentrated in seams, closely associated with the gold deposits and may have been a mobile phase 2 billion years ago. Whereas today the carbon in the Witwatersrand Supergroup is presumed to be immobile, hollow hydrocarbon spheres ranging in size from <1 μm to >50 μm were discovered emanating from a borehole drilled through the carbon-bearing seams suggesting that a portion of the carbon may still be mobile in the deep subsurface. ToF-SIMS and STXM analyses revealed that these spheres contain a suite of alkane, alkenes, and aromatic compounds consistent with the described organic-rich carbon seams within the Witwatersrand Supergroup's auriferous reef horizons. Analysis by electron microscopy and ToF-SIMS, however, revealed that these spheres, although most likely composed of biogenic carbon and resembling biological organisms, do not retain any true structural, that is, fossil, information and were formed by an abiogenic process.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 10 Apr 2013, 12:52:11 EST by Ashleigh Paroz on behalf of School of Earth Sciences