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Enigmatic tubular features in impact glass

H. M. Sapers, G. R. Osinski, N. R. Banerjee and L. J. Preston
Enigmatic tubular features in impact glass
Geology (Boulder) (April 2014) 42 (6): 471-474


We describe the first putative microbial trace fossils hosted in meteorite impact glass. We conducted optical and scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy on postimpact tubular features hosted in impact glasses from the Ries impact structure (Germany). The morphologies of the tubules are inconsistent with known mineralogical crystallization mechanisms, and combined with evidence of organic molecules suggest that these tubules cannot be formed through purely abiotic processes. The simplest and most consistent explanation of the data is that biological activity played a role in the formation of the tubular textures in the Ries glasses, likely during postimpact hydrothermal activity. As impact glass is a ubiquitous substrate on rocky bodies throughout the Solar System and likely common on the early Earth, the preservation of biological activity in impact glass has significant astrobiological implications for life on early Earth as well as for the search for life on other planets.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Enigmatic tubular features in impact glass
Affiliation: University of Western Ontario, Department of Earth Sciences, London, ON, Canada
Pages: 471-474
Published: 20140410
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 34
Accession Number: 2014-030377
Categories: Igneous and metamorphic petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2014163
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
N48°46'00" - N49°00'00", E10°22'60" - E10°45'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201419
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