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Fossilized Endolithic Microorganisms in Pillow Lavas from the Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus


Title (Dublin Core)

Fossilized Endolithic Microorganisms in Pillow Lavas from the Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus

Description (Dublin Core)

The last decade has revealed the igneous oceanic crust to host a more abundant and diverse biota than previously expected. These underexplored rock-hosted deep ecosystems dominated Earth’s biosphere prior to plants colonized land in the Ordovician, thus the fossil record of deep endoliths holds invaluable clues to early life and the work to decrypt them needs to be intensified. Here, we present fossilized microorganisms found in open and sealed pore spaces in pillow lavas from the Troodos Ophiolite (91 Ma) on Cyprus. A fungal interpretation is inferred upon the microorganisms based on characteristic morphological features. Geochemical conditions are reconstructed using data from mineralogy, fluid inclusions and the fossils themselves. Mineralogy indicates at least three hydrothermal events and a continuous increase of temperature and pH. Precipitation of 1) celadonite and saponite together with the microbial introduction was followed by 2) Na and Ca zeolites resulting in clay adherence on the microorganisms as protection, and finally 3) Ca carbonates resulted in final fossilization and preservation of the organisms in-situ. Deciphering the fossil record of the deep subseafloor biosphere is a challenging task, but when successful, can unlock doors to life’s cryptic past.

Creator (Dublin Core)

Diana-Thean Carlsson
Magnus Ivarsson
Anna Neubeck

Subject (Dublin Core)

deep biosphere
fossilized microorganisms

Publisher (Dublin Core)


Date (Dublin Core)


Type (Dublin Core)


Identifier (Dublin Core)


Source (Dublin Core)

Geosciences, Vol 9, Iss 11, p 456 (2019)

Language (Dublin Core)


Relation (Dublin Core)

Provenance (Dublin Core)

Journal Licence: CC BY