Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Association of anatase (TiO2) and microbes: Unusual fossilization effect or a potential biosignature?

By
Mihaela Glamoclija
Mihaela Glamoclija
Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5251 Broad Branch Road, Washington, DC 20015, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Andrew Steele
Andrew Steele
Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5251 Broad Branch Road, Washington, DC 20015, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Marc Fries
Marc Fries
Planetary Habitability Science Group, Division of Earth and Space Sciences, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive MS183-301, Pasadena, California 91109, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Juergen Schieber
Juergen Schieber
Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, 1001 E 10th St., Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Mary A. Voytek
Mary A. Voytek
U.S. Geological Survey, MS 430, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Charles S. Cockell
Charles S. Cockell
Geomicrobiology Research Group, Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research, Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2009

We combined microbial paleontology and molecular biology methods to study the Eyreville B drill core from the 35.3-Ma-old Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Virginia, USA. The investigated sample is a pyrite vein collected from the 1353.81–1353.89 m depth interval, located within a section of biotite granite. The granite is a pre-impact rock that was disrupted by the impact event. A search for inorganic (mineral) biosignatures revealed the presence of micron-size rod morphologies of anatase (TiO2) embedded in chlorite coatings on pyrite grains.

Neither the Acridine Orange microbial probe nor deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification showed the presence of DNA or ribonucleic acid (RNA) at the location of anatase rods, implying the absence of viable cells in the investigated area. A Nile Red microbial probe revealed the presence of lipids in the rods. Because most of the lipids are resistant over geologic time spans, they are good biomarkers, and they are an indicator of biogenicity for these possibly 35-Ma-old microbial fossils. The mineral assemblage suggests that rod morphologies are associated with low-temperature (<100 °C) hydrothermal alteration that involved aqueous fluids. The temporal constraints on the anatase fossils are still uncertain because pre-impact alteration of the granite and post-impact heating may have provided identical conditions for anatase precipitation and microbial preservation.

You do not currently have access to this article.
Don't already have an account? Register

Figures & Tables

Contents

GSA Special Papers

The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes

Gregory S. Gohn
Gregory S. Gohn
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Christian Koeberl
Christian Koeberl
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Kenneth G. Miller
Kenneth G. Miller
Museum für Naturkunde–Leibniz Institute at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Search for other works by this author on:
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Museum für Naturkunde–Leibniz Institute at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of America
Volume
458
ISBN print:
9780813724584
Publication date:
January 01, 2009

References

Related

A comprehensive resource of eBooks for researchers in the Earth Sciences

Related Articles
Related Book Content
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal