Ideas and perspectives: Hydrothermally driven redistribution and sequestration of early Archaean biomass-the "hydrothermal pump hypothesis"

Jan Peter Duda, Volker Thiel, Thorsten Bauersachs, Helge Mißbach, Manuel Reinhardt, Nadine Schäfer, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Joachim Reitner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Archaean hydrothermal chert veins commonly contain abundant organic carbon of uncertain origin (abiotic vs. biotic). In this study, we analysed kerogen contained in a hydrothermal chert vein from the ca. 3.5Ga Dresser Formation (Pilbara Craton, Western Australia). Catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy) of this kerogen yielded n-alkanes up to n-C22, with a sharp decrease in abundance beyond n-C18. This distribution ( ≤ n-C18) is very similar to that observed in HyPy products of recent bacterial biomass, which was used as reference material, whereas it differs markedly from the unimodal distribution of abiotic compounds experimentally formed via Fischer-Tropsch-type synthesis. We therefore propose that the organic matter in the Archaean chert veins has a primarily microbial origin. The microbially derived organic matter accumulated in anoxic aquatic (surface and/or subsurface) environments and was then assimilated, redistributed and sequestered by the hydrothermal fluids ("hydrothermal pump hypothesis").

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1548
Number of pages14
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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