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Mineral remains of early life on Earth? On Mars?

Geomicrobiology Journal

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Abstract

The oldest sedimentary rocks on Earth, the 3.8-Ga Isua Iron-Formation in southwestern Greenland, are metamorphosed past the point where organic-walled fossils would remain. Acid residues and thin sections of these rocks reveal ferric microstructures that have filamentous, hollow rod, and spherical shapes not characteristic of crystalline minerals. Instead, they resemble ferric-coated remains of bacteria. Because there are no earlier sedimentary rocks to study on Earth, it may be necessary to expand the search elsewhere in the solar system for clues to any biotic precursors or other types of early life. A study of morphologies of iron oxide minerals collected in the southern highlands during a Mars sample return mission may therefore help to fill in important gaps in the history of Earth's earliest biosphere. -from Authors

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Mineral remains of early life on Earth? On Mars?
Series title:
Geomicrobiology Journal
Volume
9
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1991
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
51
Last page:
66
Number of Pages:
16