Abstract

Jurassic siliceous hot-spring (sinter) deposits from Argentine Patagonia were evaluated to determine the distribution and preservation quality of their entombed microbial fabrics. Detailed study showed that the Claudia palaeo-geothermal field hosts the best-preserved sinter apron in the Deseado Massif geological province, where we also found hot-spring silica–biotic interactions extending into hydrothermally influenced fluvial and lacustrine settings. Carbonaceous material was identified by petrography and Raman spectroscopy mapping; it is inter-laminated with silica across proximal vent to distal marsh facies. The ubiquitous presence of microbial biosignatures has application to studies of hydrothermal settings of early life on Earth and potentially Mars.

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