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Modern freshwater microbialite analogues for ancient dendritic reef structures

Laval, Bernard and Cady, Sherry L. and Pollack, John C. and McKay, Christopher P. and Bird, John S. and Grotzinger, John P. and Ford, Derek C. and Bohm, Harry R. (2000) Modern freshwater microbialite analogues for ancient dendritic reef structures. Nature, 407 (6804). pp. 626-629. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/35036579.

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Microbialites are organosedimentary structures that can be constructed by a variety of metabolically distinct taxa. Consequently, microbialite structures abound in the fossil record, although the exact nature of the biogeochemical processes that produced them is often unknown. One such class of ancient calcareous structures, Epiphyton and Girvanella, appear in great abundance during the Early Cambrian. Together with Archeocyathids, stromatolites and thrombolites, they formed major Cambrian reef belts. To a large extent, Middle to Late Cambrian reefs are similar to Precambrian reefs, with the exception that the latter, including terminal Proterozoic reefs, do not contain Epiphyton or Girvanella. Here we report the discovery in Pavilion Lake, British Columbia, Canada, of a distinctive assemblage of freshwater calcite microbialites, some of which display microstructures similar to the fabrics displayed by Epiphyton and Girvanella. The morphologies of the modern microbialites vary with depth, and dendritic microstructures of the deep water (>30 m) mounds indicate that they may be modern analogues for the ancient calcareous structures. These microbialites thus provide an opportunity to study the biogeochemical interactions that produce fabrics similar to those of some enigmatic Early Cambrian reef structures.

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Grotzinger, John P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Additional Information:© 2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd. Received 25 April; accepted 10 August 2000. We thank the Ts'kw'aylaxw First Nation Tribe and Ocean Pacific Water Sports for their logistical assistance and support. Underwater photographs are courtesy of D. Reid, Ocean Photography. D. F. Blake, L. Duncan and B. Schauer provided technical support. M. Taylor, C. Stack and C. R. Omelon assisted with the identification of cyanobacteria and diatoms. Protection for the unique microbialites in Pavilion Lake is underway through the Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) Goal 2 initiative of the British Columbia provincial government.
Issue or Number:6804
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130416-105233407
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Official Citation:Laval, B., Cady, S., Pollack, J. et al. Modern freshwater microbialite analogues for ancient dendritic reef structures . Nature 407, 626–629 (2000).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37967
Deposited On:16 Apr 2013 20:31
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:32

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