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It is suggested that sedimentary deposition of iron in sediments from the Archean to the present day can be attributed largely to microbial mediation. Results from laboratory experiments, using a microbial consortium enriched from the source of a biofilm growing on a rock face in an underground research laboratory, are used to advance a plausible explanation for the mobilization, precipitation, transport, and deposition of iron. The consortium produces its own local environments independent of the prevailing atmosphere. It is able to extract iron from minerals such as biotite and magnetite, as well as from a chelated solution; this iron is...

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