Share Email Print

Proceedings Paper

Iron microbial mats in modern and phanerozoic environments
Author(s): Jean-Marc Baele; Frédéric Bouvain; Jeroen De Jong; Nadine Matielli; Séverine Papier; Alain Préat
Format Member Price Non-Member Price
PDF $14.40 $18.00
cover GOOD NEWS! Your organization subscribes to the SPIE Digital Library. You may be able to download this paper for free. Check Access

Paper Abstract

The recognition of iron microbial mats in terrestrial environments is of great relevance for the search for extraterrestrial life, especially on mars where significant iron minerals were identified in the subsurface. Most researches focused on very ancient microbial mats (e.g. BIFs) since they formed on Earth at a time where similar conditions are supposed to have prevailed on Mars too. However, environmental proxies are often difficult to use for these deposits on Earth which, in addition, may be heavily transformed due to diagenesis or even metamorphism. Here we present modern and phanerozoic iron microbial mats occurrences illustrating the wide variety of environments in which they form, including many marine settings, ponds, creeks, caves, volcanoes, etc. Contrarily to their Precambrian counterparts, Modern and Phanerozoic deposits are usually less affected by diagenesis and the environmental conditions likely to be better constrained. Therefore, their investigation may help for the search for morphological and geochemical biosignatures (e.g. iron isotopes) in ancient iron microbial occurrences on Earth but also on other Planets. In particular, many of the case studies presented here show that microstromatolithe-like morphologies may be valuable targets for screening potential biosignatures in various rock types.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7097, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, 70970N (28 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.801597
Show Author Affiliations
Jean-Marc Baele, Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium)
Frédéric Bouvain, Univ. de Liège (Belgium)
Jeroen De Jong, Univ. libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
Nadine Matielli, Univ. libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
Séverine Papier, Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium)
Alain Préat, Univ. libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7097:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert Victor Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C.W. Davies, Editor(s)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top