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Proceedings Paper

Phosphate biomineralization of cambrian microorganisms
Author(s): David S. McKay; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Richard B. Hoover; Frances Westall
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Paper Abstract

As part of a long term study of biological markers, we are documenting a variety of features which reflect the previous presence of living organisms. As we study meteorites and samples returned form Mars, our main clue to recognizing possible microbial material may be the presence of biomarkers rather than the organisms themselves. One class of biomarkers consists of biominerals which have either been precipitated directly by microorganisms, or whose precipitation has been influenced by the organisms. Such microbe-mediated mineral formation may include important clues to the size, shape, and environment of the microorganisms. The process of fossilization or mineralization can cause major changes in morphologies and textures of the original organisms. The study of fossilized terrestrial organisms can help provide insight into the interpretation of mineral biomarkers. The study of fossilized terrestrial organisms can help provide insight into the interpretation of mineral biomarkers. This paper describes the results of investigations of microfossils in Cambrian phosphate-rich rocks that were found in Khubsugul, Northern Mongolia.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3441, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, (6 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.319834
Show Author Affiliations
David S. McKay, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Paleontological Institute (Russia)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Frances Westall, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3441:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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