Organic matter preservation and incipient mineralization of microtubules in 120 Ma basaltic glass

Matthew Richar Izawa, James J. Dynes, Neil R. Banerjee, Roberta L. Flemming, Lachlan C.W. MacLean, Callum J. Hetherington, Sergei Matveev, Gordon Southam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hollow tubular structures in subaqueously-emplaced basaltic glass may represent trace fossils caused by microbially-mediated glass dissolution. Mineralized structures of similar morphology and spatial distribution in ancient, metamorphosed basaltic rocks have widely been interpreted as ichnofossils, possibly dating to ∼3.5 Ga or greater. Doubts have been raised, however, regarding the biogenicity of the original hollow tubules and granules in basaltic glass. In particular, although elevated levels of biologically-important elements such as C, S, N, and P as well as organic compounds have been detected in association with these structures, a direct detection of unambiguously biogenic organic molecules has not been accomplished. In this study, we describe the direct detection of proteins associated with tubular textures in basaltic glass using synchrotron X-ray spectromicroscopy. Protein-rich organic matter is shown to be associated with the margins of hollow and partly-mineralized tubules. Furthermore, a variety of tubule-infilling secondary minerals, including Ti-rich oxide phases, were observed filling and preserving the microtextures, demonstrating a mechanism whereby cellular materials may be preserved through geologic time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 18 2019

Fingerprint

glass
mineralization
organic matter
protein
trace fossil
secondary mineral
organic compound
texture
dissolution
oxide
spatial distribution
rock
detection

Keywords

  • Basaltic glass
  • Biomolecule
  • Ichnofossils
  • Ontong Java Plateau
  • Synchrotron XANES

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Richar Izawa, M., Dynes, J. J., Banerjee, N. R., Flemming, R. L., MacLean, L. C. W., Hetherington, C. J., ... Southam, G. (2019). Organic matter preservation and incipient mineralization of microtubules in 120 Ma basaltic glass. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, [149]. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00149

Organic matter preservation and incipient mineralization of microtubules in 120 Ma basaltic glass. / Richar Izawa, Matthew; Dynes, James J.; Banerjee, Neil R.; Flemming, Roberta L.; MacLean, Lachlan C.W.; Hetherington, Callum J.; Matveev, Sergei; Southam, Gordon.

In: Frontiers in Earth Science, Vol. 7, 149, 18.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Richar Izawa, M, Dynes, JJ, Banerjee, NR, Flemming, RL, MacLean, LCW, Hetherington, CJ, Matveev, S & Southam, G 2019, 'Organic matter preservation and incipient mineralization of microtubules in 120 Ma basaltic glass', Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 7, 149. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00149
Richar Izawa, Matthew ; Dynes, James J. ; Banerjee, Neil R. ; Flemming, Roberta L. ; MacLean, Lachlan C.W. ; Hetherington, Callum J. ; Matveev, Sergei ; Southam, Gordon. / Organic matter preservation and incipient mineralization of microtubules in 120 Ma basaltic glass. In: Frontiers in Earth Science. 2019 ; Vol. 7.
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