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In this paper, we review ~140 yr of investigations about pelagosite, a usually black aragonitic encrustation with a vitreous luster that forms in the splash zone of Mediterranean rocky coasts. Prior to the mid-1920s, the geologic community considered pelagosite to be a separate mineral of uncertain composition, but then in 1926, Italian mineralogist Ettore Onorato determined that pelagosite has the same structure as aragonite (orthorhombic CaCO3), and also that it contained cells of blue-green algae (i.e., cyanobacteria). Once pelagosite was declassed from the status of a mineral, and its name was eliminated from catalogues and textbooks, Onorato’s...

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