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Microbial biosignature preservation in carbonated serpentine from the Samail Ophiolite, Oman

Lima-Zaloumis, Jon and Neubeck, Anna and Ivarsson, Magnus and Bose, Maitrayee and Greenberger, Rebecca and Templeton, Alexis S. and Czaja, Andrew D. and Kelemen, Peter B. and Edvinsson, Tomas (2022) Microbial biosignature preservation in carbonated serpentine from the Samail Ophiolite, Oman. Communications Earth & Environment, 3 . Art. No. 231. ISSN 2662-4435. doi:10.1038/s43247-022-00551-1.

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Serpentinization is a geological process involving the interaction of water and ultramafic rock, the chemical byproducts of which can serve as an energy source for microbial communities. Although serpentinite systems are known to host active microbial life, it is unclear to what extent fossil evidence of these communities may be preserved over time. Here we report the detection of biosignatures preserved in a mineralized fracture within drill cores from the Samail Ophiolite in Oman. Two varieties of filamentous structures were identified in association with iron oxide precipitates. The first type are interpreted as likely microbial remains, while the second type are recognized as potentially microbiological dubiofossils. Additionally, laminated structures composed of carbon and nitrogen rich material were identified and interpreted as having a microbially-associated origin. Our observations affirm the potential to detect subsurface microbial communities within serpentinizing environments and highlight a unique taphonomic window to preserve evidence of rock-hosted life.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Lima-Zaloumis, Jon0000-0001-6333-9704
Neubeck, Anna0000-0002-1291-5529
Ivarsson, Magnus0000-0002-4548-1560
Bose, Maitrayee0000-0002-7978-6370
Greenberger, Rebecca0000-0003-1583-0261
Templeton, Alexis S.0000-0002-9670-0647
Czaja, Andrew D.0000-0002-2450-0734
Kelemen, Peter B.0000-0003-4757-0855
Edvinsson, Tomas0000-0003-2759-7356
Additional Information:We gratefully acknowledge the Oman Drilling Science Party for facilitating access and characterization of these materials. We would like to thank Timothy Hahn for assistance during NanoSIMS analysis at the ASU Center for Isotope Analysis, and Jakob Thyr for assistance during Raman analysis at the Ångström Laboratory. We also thank Bethany Ehlmann for use of her imaging spectrometer and thank her and Elena Amador for assistance with those measurements. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. 1841051, and by the NSF GROW program. MB would like to thank the NSF EAR grant 1819550 (PI: Richard Hervig). This research used logistical support, samples and data provided by the Oman Drilling Project. The Oman Drilling Project has been possible through co-mingled funds from the International Continental Scientific Drilling Project (ICDP, lead PI’s Kelemen, Matter & Teagle), the Sloan Foundation – Deep Carbon Observatory (Grant 2014-3-01, Kelemen PI), the National Science Foundation (NSF-EAR-1516300, Kelemen PI), the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NNA15BB02A, Templeton PI), the German Research Foundation (DFG, Koepke PI), the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS, 16H06347, Michibayashi PI, and 19H00730, Morono PI), the European Research Council (Jamtveit PI), the Swiss National Science Foundation (Früh-Green PI), the Japanese Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), the TAMU-JR Science operator, and in-kind contributions from the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, the Oman Public Authority of Mining, Sultan Qaboos University, CRNS- Univ. Montpellier II, Columbia University, and the University of Southampton.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
International Continental Scientific Drilling ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation2014-3-01
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)16H06347
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)19H00730
European Research Council (ERC)UNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)UNSPECIFIED
Japanese Marine Science and Technology CenterUNSPECIFIED
Oman Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water ResourcesUNSPECIFIED
Oman Public Authority of MiningUNSPECIFIED
Sultan Qaboos UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Columbia UniversityUNSPECIFIED
University of SouthamptonUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221018-858976600.6
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ID Code:117487
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:25 Oct 2022 19:19
Last Modified:25 Oct 2022 19:52

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