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Carbonate-Associated Phosphate (CAP) Indicates Elevated Phosphate Availability in Neoarchean Shallow Marine Environments

Ingalls, M. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Present, T. and Rasmussen, B. and Fischer, W. W. (2022) Carbonate-Associated Phosphate (CAP) Indicates Elevated Phosphate Availability in Neoarchean Shallow Marine Environments. Geophysical Research Letters, 49 (6). Art. No. e2022GL098100. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2022gl098100.

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Phosphorus is essential for cell biology, yet scarce in modern marine environments wherein free phosphate is consumed by life or titrated by calcium to form apatite minerals. The environmental conditions under which the early biosphere emerged and phosphorus was integrated throughout biochemistry is yet unknown. We measured the phosphate concentrations of 2.8–2.5 Ga shallow marine carbonate facies across six Neoarchean shelf-ramp environments. We found that the P/Ca ratios of Neoarchean stromatolites, micrites, and crystal fans were >4-fold to 12-fold more enriched in carbonate-associated phosphate than modern marine coral skeletons and abiotic Phanerozoic carbonates. Our results support the view that Archean productivity was limited by the availability of electrons rather than phosphate or other nutrients, and help explain why phosphorus is so central to the molecules, metabolisms, and bioenergetics observed in cells.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Ingalls, M.0000-0002-7451-2944
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Present, T.0000-0002-4747-2174
Rasmussen, B.0000-0001-5052-6797
Fischer, W. W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Additional Information:© 2022 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 14 March 2022; Version of Record online: 14 March 2022; Accepted manuscript online: 04 March 2022; Manuscript accepted: 25 February 2022; Manuscript received: 27 January 2022. Funding for this work was provided by the Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Origins of Life to J. P. Grotzinger and W. W. Fischer, and a Barr Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and funds from the Pennsylvania State University to M. Ingalls. The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this study. Data Availability Statement: Summary tables of all Archean and Phanerozoic marine carbonate P/Ca and Fe/Ca data can be found in Data Sets S1 and S2, respectively. Additionall, these data are included in our Open Science Framework depository ( Raw absorbance data for each analytical period and 96-well plate, including standard calibration curves, are published in the OSF data repository for this project. Photos of drill spots for all Archean samples are included in the OSF.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Barr FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Pennsylvania State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:early life; phosphate; Archean; carbonate
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220307-189680000
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Official Citation:Ingalls, M., Grotzinger, J. P., Present, T., Rasmussen, B., & Fischer, W. W. (2022). Carbonate-associated phosphate (CAP) indicates elevated phosphate availability in Neoarchean shallow marine environments. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2022GL098100.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113778
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Mar 2022 23:18
Last Modified:04 Apr 2022 19:14

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