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Coniform stromatolites from geothermal systems, North Island, New Zealand

Palaios

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Abstract

Coniform stromatolites are found in several sites in the Tokaanu and Whakarewarewa geothermal areas of North Island, New Zealand. At Tokaanu, silicification of these stromatolites is taking place in Kirihoro, a shallow hot springfed pool. At Whakarewarewa, subfossil silicified coniform stromatolites are found on the floor of "Waikite Pool" on the discharge apron below Waikite Geyser, and in an old sinter succession at Te Anarata. The microbes in the coniform stromatolites from Tokaanu, Waikite Pool, and Te Anarata have been well preserved through rapid silicification. Nevertheless, subtle differences in the silicification style induced morphological variations that commonly mask or alter morphological features needed for identification of the microbes in terms of extant taxa. The coniform stromatolites in the New Zealand hotspring pools are distinctive because (1) they are formed of upward tapering (i.e., conical) columns, (2) neighboring columns commonly are linked by vertical sheets or bridges, (3) internally, they are formed of alternating high- and low-porosity laminae that have a conical vertical profile, and (4) Phormidium form more than 90% of the biota. As such, they are comparable to modern coniform mats and stromatolites found in the geothermal systems of Yellowstone National Park and ice-covered lakes in Antarctica. Formation of the coniform stromatolites is restricted to pools that are characterized by low current energy and a microflora that is dominated by Phormidium. These delicate and intricate stromatolites could not form in areas characterized by fast flowing water or a diverse microflora. Thus, it appears that the distribution of these distinctive stromatolites is controlled by biological constraints that are superimposed on environmental needs.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Coniform stromatolites from geothermal systems, North Island, New Zealand
Series title:
Palaios
Volume
17
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Palaios
First page:
84
Last page:
103