Section 56
Chapter 55,718

Septate-tubular textures in 2.0-Ga pillow lavas from the Pechenga Greenstone Belt: a nano-spectroscopic approach to investigate their biogenicity

Fliegel, D.; Wirth, R.; Simonetti, A.; Furnes, H.; Staudigel, H.; Hanski, E.; Muehlenbachs, K.

Geobiology 8(5): 372-390


ISSN/ISBN: 1472-4669
PMID: 20698893
DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2010.00252.x
Accession: 055717967

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Pillow lava rims and interpillow hyaloclastites from the upper part of the Pechenga Greenstone Belt, Kola Peninsula, N-Russia contain rare tubular textures 15-20 μm in diameter and up to several hundred μm long in prehnite-pumpellyite to lower greenschist facies meta-volcanic glass. The textures are septate with regular compartments 5-20 μm across and exhibit branching, stopping and no intersecting features. Synchrotron micro-energy dispersive X-ray was used to image elemental distributions; scanning transmission X-ray microscopy, Fe L-edge and C K-edge were used to identify iron and carbon speciation at interfaces between the tubular textures and the host rock. In situ U-Pb radiometric dating by LA-MC-ICP-MS (laser ablation multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) of titanite from pillow lavas yielded a metamorphic age of 1790 ± 89 Ma. Focused ion-beam milling combined with transmission electron microscopy was used to analyze the textures in three dimensions. Electron diffraction showed that the textures are mineralized by orientated pumpellyite. On the margins of the tubes, an interface between mica or chlorite and the pumpellyite shows evidence of dissolution reactions where the pumpellyite is replaced by mica/chlorite. A thin poorly crystalline Fe-phase, probably precipitated out of solution, occurs at the interface between pumpellyite and mica/chlorite. This sequence of phases leads to the hypothesis that the tubes were initially hollow, compartmentalized structures in volcanic glass that were mineralized by pumpellyite during low-grade metamorphism. Later, a Fe-bearing fluid mineralized the compartments between the pumpellyite and lastly the pumpellyite was partially dissolved and replaced by chlorite during greenschist metamorphism. The most plausible origin for a septate-tubular texture is a progressive etching of the host matrix by several generations of microbes and subsequently these tubes were filled by authigenic mineral precipitates. This preserves the textures in the rock record over geological time. The micro textures reported here thus represent a pumpellyite-mineralized trace fossil that records a Paleoproterozoic sub-seafloor biosphere.

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