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Izawa, Matthew R. M. Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University
Dynes, James J. Canadian Light Source, Inc., University of Saskatchewan
Banerjee, Neil R. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario
Flemming, Roberta L. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario
MacLean, Lachlan C. W. Canadian Light Source, Inc., University of Saskatchewan
Hetherington, Callum J. Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University
Matveev, Sergei Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta
Southam, Gordon Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario
Hollow tubular structures in subaqueously-emplaced basaltic glass may represent trace fossils caused by microbially-mediated glass dissolution. Mineralized structures of similar morphology and spatial distribution in ancient, metamorphosed basaltic rocks have widely been interpreted as ichnofossils, possibly dating to similar to 3.5 Ga or greater. Doubts have been raised, however, regarding the biogenicity of the original hollow tubules and granules in basaltic glass. In particular, although elevated levels of biologically-important elements such as C, S, N, and P as well as organic compounds have been detected in association with these structures, a direct detection of unambiguously biogenic organic molecules has not been accomplished. In this study, we describe the direct detection of proteins associated with tubular textures in basaltic glass using synchrotron X-ray spectromicroscopy. Protein-rich organic matter is shown to be associated with the margins of hollow and partly-mineralized tubules. Furthermore, a variety of tubule-infilling secondary minerals, including Ti-rich oxide phases, were observed filling and preserving the microtextures, demonstrating a mechanism whereby cellular materials may be preserved through geologic time.
Ontong Java Plateau
Frontiers in Earth Science
© 2019 Izawa, Dynes, Banerjee, Flemming, MacLean, Hetherington, Matveev and Southam.
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