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Fossilized Endolithic Microorganisms in Pillow Lavas from the Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus
Swedish Museum Nat Hist, Dept Paleobiol, S-11418 Stockholm, Sweden;Univ Hamburg, Dept Earth Sci, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany.
Swedish Museum Nat Hist, Dept Paleobiol, S-11418 Stockholm, Sweden;Univ Southern Denmark, Dept Biol, DK-5230 Odense, Denmark.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
2019 (English)In: GEOSCIENCES, ISSN 2076-3263, Vol. 9, no 11, article id 456Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The last decade has revealed the igneous oceanic crust to host a more abundant and diverse biota than previously expected. These underexplored rock-hosted deep ecosystems dominated Earth's biosphere prior to plants colonized land in the Ordovician, thus the fossil record of deep endoliths holds invaluable clues to early life and the work to decrypt them needs to be intensified. Here, we present fossilized microorganisms found in open and sealed pore spaces in pillow lavas from the Troodos Ophiolite (91 Ma) on Cyprus. A fungal interpretation is inferred upon the microorganisms based on characteristic morphological features. Geochemical conditions are reconstructed using data from mineralogy, fluid inclusions and the fossils themselves. Mineralogy indicates at least three hydrothermal events and a continuous increase of temperature and pH. Precipitation of 1) celadonite and saponite together with the microbial introduction was followed by 2) Na and Ca zeolites resulting in clay adherence on the microorganisms as protection, and finally 3) Ca carbonates resulted in final fossilization and preservation of the organisms in-situ. Deciphering the fossil record of the deep subseafloor biosphere is a challenging task, but when successful, can unlock doors to life's cryptic past.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI , 2019. Vol. 9, no 11, article id 456
Keywords [en]
deep biosphere, fossilized microorganisms, Ophiolite
National Category
Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-402241DOI: 10.3390/geosciences9110456ISI: 000502289200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-402241DiVA, id: diva2:1385952
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-04129Swedish Research Council, 2013-7320Swedish National Space Board, 100/13Available from: 2020-01-16 Created: 2020-01-16 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved

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