Direct dating of Archean microbial ichnofossils

Neil R. Benerjee, Antonio Simonetti, Harald Furnes, Karlis Muehlenbachs, Hubert Staudigel, Larry Heaman, Martin J. Van Kranendonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Well-preserved Archean pillow lavas from the ca. 3.35 Ga Euro Basalt of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, contain micron-sized tubular structures mineralized by titanite (CaTiSiO4) with residual organic carbon preserved along their margins. Direct U-Pb dating of titanite in the tubular structures demonstrates an Archean age. These tubular microstructures are identical to microbial ichnofossils in modern basalts, ophiolites, and greenstone belts, and are interpreted as a biogenic signature in these ancient rocks. Microbial colonization of basaltic glass thus appears to have been part of a deep subsurface biosphere established early in Earth's history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-490
Number of pages4
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrobiology
  • Early life
  • Geochronology
  • Greenstone belt
  • Ichnofossil
  • Pilbara craton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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