Molecular, chemical and morphological evidence for hematite biogenicity at the Quaternary Cape Vani Mn-(Ba-Fe) deposit, Milos, Greece

Σ. Π. Κίλιας, Ηλίας Χατζηθεοδωρίδης, Ι. Lyon


Many aspects of the biotic or abiotic origin of iron-rich sedimentary rocks consisting mainly of hematite, an important indicator for exobiology, remain unresolved. Here, we use combined optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS), Raman spectroscopy and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), to image the spatial distribution, and determine the composition, of potential biogenic markers (microbial microfossils, trace elements, organic ion species) in hematitemicrostromatolites and oncolite-like microstructures. These structures are identified in iron-rich material cementing a Quaternary fossil-beach conglomerate deposit in
the Cape Vani area, NW Milos Island, Greece. The combined detection of morphological, chemical, and molecular organic-ion, biomarkers closely associated with possible hematite microfossils within microstromatolite laminae, strongly supports microbial mediation for their formation, and indicates that hematitic microlamination may be used as a biosignature for Fe-rich biomats on Earth and for their detection in extra-terrestrial materials. The Cape Vani ematitemicrostromatolites may contribute to growing our understanding of the function of microorganisms in the genesis of modern and ancient Fe deposits.

Λέξεις κλειδιά

Διεθνές Συνέδριο της Ελληνικής Γεωλογικής Εταιρίας (13ο : 5-8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013 : Χανιά, Ελλάδα); International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece (13th : 2013 September 5-8 : Chania, Greece); TOF-SIMS; microfossils; organic biomarkers; microstromatolites; μικροαπολιθώματα; οργανικοί βιοδείκτες; μικροστρωματόλιθοι

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