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Proceedings Paper

Siderite globules associated with fossil microbiota from cretaceous cavity and fracture fillings in Southern Belgium: Second known terrestrial analog for the carbonate in Martian meteorite ALH84001?
Author(s): Jean-Marc Baele
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Paper Abstract

Recently discovered siderite globules from Upper Cretaceous cavity and fracture fillings in southern Belgium are described and interpreted with emphasis on the still unsolved problem of the carbonates in meteorite ALH84001, which enclose controversal evidence for ancient Martian life. The most interesting aspects of the carbonates described here are 1) their close association with fossil microbiota, 2) their environment, which is 100% sedimentary, subaerial and not hydrothermal and 3) their morphologies, some of which being similar to those in ALH84001. Although the question of the direct biological influence is not critical in this case, the biogenicity for the minerals will be discussed as a strong possibility and is not only inferred from the simple spatial (and temporal) association of the carbonates and the fossil microbiota. Morphological, textural and chemical data will be presented and interpreted as variations in fluid chemistry related to environmental changes. Although they may appear different from those in Martian meteorite and Spitzbergen xenoliths, the Cretaceous globules originated in subsurface environment which left evident traces of life in the form of fossil microbial/fungal mats. They are thus considered as an opportunity to investigate biosignatures in future research using the wide range of available techniques.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2003
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 4859, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology V, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.457325
Show Author Affiliations
Jean-Marc Baele, Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4859:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology V
Richard B. Hoover; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Roland R. Paepe, Editor(s)

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