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A test of the biogenicity criteria established for microfossils and stromatolites on quaternary tufa and speleothem materials formed in the “Twilight zone” at Caerwys, UK

Brasier, A. T.; Rogerson, M. R.; Mercedes-Martín, R; Mercedes-Martin, R.; Vonhof, H. B.; Reijmer, J. J. G.

Authors

A. T. Brasier

R Mercedes-Martín

R. Mercedes-Martin

H. B. Vonhof

J. J. G. Reijmer

Abstract

© 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The ability to distinguish the features of a chemical sedimentary rock that can only be attributed to biology is a challenge relevant to both geobiology and astrobiology. This study aimed to test criteria for recognizing petrographically the biogenicity of microbially influenced fabrics and fossil microbes in complex Quaternary stalactitic carbonate rocks from Caerwys, UK. We found that the presence of carbonaceous microfossils, fabrics produced by the calcification of microbial filaments, and the asymmetrical development of tufa fabrics due to the more rapid growth of microbially influenced laminations could be recognized as biogenic features. Petrographic evidence also indicates that the development of "speleothem-like" laminae was related to episodes of growth interrupted by intervals of nondeposition and erosion. The lack of any biogenic characteristics in these laminae is consistent with their development as a result of variation in the physicochemical parameters that drive calcite precipitation from meteoric waters in such environmental settings.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015-10
Journal Astrobiology
Print ISSN 1531-1074
Electronic ISSN 1557-8070
Publisher Mary Ann Liebert
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 10
Pages 883-900
Institution Citation Brasier, A. T., Rogerson, M. R., Mercedes-Martin, R., Vonhof, H. B., & Reijmer, J. J. G. (2015). A test of the biogenicity criteria established for microfossils and stromatolites on quaternary tufa and speleothem materials formed in the “Twilight zone” at Caerwys, UK. Astrobiology, 15(10), (883-900). doi:10.1089/ast.2015.1293. ISSN 1531-1074
DOI https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2015.1293
Keywords Microfossil; Stromatolite; Biogenicity; Carbonate; Tufa; Speleothem
Publisher URL http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2015.1293
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Astrobiology, 2015, v.15, issue 10. Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2015.1293

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