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Role of lichens in granite weathering in cold and arid environments of continental Antarctica

By
Mauro Guglielmin
Mauro Guglielmin
1
University of Insubria, Department of Structural and Functional Biology, Via Dunant 3, Varese 21100, Italy
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Sergio E. Favero-Longo
Sergio E. Favero-Longo
2
University of Torino, Department of Plant Biology and Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Biosensing, Viale Mattioli 25, Torino 10125, Italy
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Nicoletta Cannone
Nicoletta Cannone
3
University of Ferrara, Department of Biology and Evolution, Corso Ercole I d'Este 32, Ferrara 44100, Italy
4
Present address: Department of Chemical and Environmental Sciences, Insubria University, Via Lucini, 3, 22100, Como, Italy
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Rosanna Piervittori
Rosanna Piervittori
2
University of Torino, Department of Plant Biology and Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Biosensing, Viale Mattioli 25, Torino 10125, Italy
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Andrea Strini
Andrea Strini
5
PNRA, c/o University of Insubria, Department of Structural and Functional Biology, Via Dunant 3, Varese 21100, Italy
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

The mechanical and chemical effects of lichens on the outer and inner surfaces of tafoni features were investigated through a multidisciplinary approach at two locations (Oasi 74°42′S, 164°07′E, 40–250 m a.s.l.; Mount Keinath, 74°32′S; 163°58′E; 850 m a.s.l.) close to the Italian Antarctic station (Mario Zucchelli). Outer tafoni roof surfaces show low values of effective porosity coupled with pervasive hyphal penetration and an extensive reddish-brown weathering rind. Inner tafoni surfaces show higher values of effective porosity, which correspond with an almost absent weathering rind and low hyphal penetration. Our observations indicate that: (a) iron oxy-hydroxides, particularly concentrated where hyphal patches and bundles contact biotite, consist of hematite; (b) the microcosms of lichen hyphae and their precipitates fill voids to form case hardening on outer surfaces; and (c) on inner surfaces biological action is less active, most likely because of more intense thermal stress and salt action.

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Geological Society Special Publication

Ice-Marginal and Periglacial Processes and Sediments

I. P. Martini
I. P. Martini
University of Guelph, Canada
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H. M. French
H. M. French
University of Guelph, Canada
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A. PéRez Alberti
A. PéRez Alberti
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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Geological Society of London
Volume
354
ISBN electronic:
9781862396029
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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