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Microscopic and microbiological investigations of Mississippian sylvite
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Paper Abstract

Sylvite is a potassium chloride (KCl) mineral that was first discovered in 1832 in evaporite deposits in sedimentary basins of Mt. Vesuvius. Sylvite is colorless (grey or white) but it is often found in association with red deposits of halite and a variety of other minerals (e.g., hilgardite, volkovskite, trembathite and strontioginorite). We have conducted an Optical Microscopy and Microbiological study of freshly fractured interior material of core samples of Sylvite and Halite from the Penobsquis Mines of Kings County, New Brunswick. These samples are dated as Early Carboniferous period, and of Mississippian sub-period (Toumaisian stage 345-359 Myr) from the Upper Halite Member of the Windsor Group Evaporites. During this study, viable microorganisms were isolated in enrichment cultures that represent an ancient life of the deposits. Currently, in microbiology, there are several records of the isolation of viable bacterial cultures from the Permian salt crystals and oil. In this article, we present the preliminary results of the study of ancient anaerobic enrichment cultures isolated from Mississippian Sylvite and Halite samples. Therefore, this study extends by more than 50 million years the paleontological record of viable and culturable microorganisms preserved in ancient salt crystals.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 November 2012
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 8521, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV, 852108 (13 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.971045
Show Author Affiliations
Richard B. Hoover, Athens State Univ. (United States)
Univ. of Buckingham (United Kingdom)
Elena V. Pikuta, Athens State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8521:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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