Analysis of archean micro fossils by the laser molecular micro probe
Pflug, H.D.; Jaeschke Boyer, H.; Sattler, E.L.
Microscopica Acta 82(3): 255-266
ISSN/ISBN: 0044-376X Accession: 004738015
Microfossil remains from the Swartkoppie chert (South Africa, .apprx. 3400 million yr) and the Isua quartzite (Greenland, .apprx. 3800 million yr) were analyzed in the molecular microprobe MOLE. This new laser optical instrument utilizes the Raman effects that result from chemical bonds of molecules. The technique allows the nondestructive analysis of individual cells or other microscopic details, and this in their original position in the rock. The measuring field can be restricted to 1 micron in diameter. Thin sections or cut sections, and a normal light-optical Leitz-microscope are used for the technique. The Raman spectrum obtained is registered on a strip chart recorder permitting a determination of the molecular species present in the selected measuring region. The archaean microstructures consist of a variety of organic compounds which are obviously of organismic origin. They are present in a butiminized condition, which is in accordance with the metamorphic condition of the including rock. The results of the combined morphological and chemical analyses yield evidence that organismic remains occur in the oldest sediments known on Earth. Life must be considerably older than 3800 million yr.