Abstract

To explore the formation and preservation of biogenic features in igneous rocks, we have examined the organisms in experimental basaltic microcosms using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Four types of microorganisms were recognized on the basis of size, morphology, and chemical composition. Some of the organisms mineralized rapidly, whereas others show no evidence of mineralization. Many mineralized cells are hollow and do not contain evidence of microstructure. Filaments, either attached or no longer attached to organisms, are common. Unattached filaments are mineralized and are most likely bacterial appendages (e.g., prosthecae). Features similar in size and morphology to unattached, mineralized filaments are recognized in martian meteorite ALH84001.

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