Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland

David Wacey, Martin Brasier, John Parnell, Timothy Culwick, Stephen Bowden, Sam Spinks, Adrian J. Boyce, Brett Davidheiser-Kroll, Heejin Jeon, Martin Saunders, Matt R. Kilburn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Oxygenation of the Proterozoic atmosphere caused the progressive build-up of dissolved sulphate on the continents and in marine environments. However, oxygen levels in the Proterozoic were low enough to allow the early burial of biological material into low redox potential environments where permineralization and the authigenic replacement of organic material, including micro-organisms, occurred by a range of minerals. Consequently, microbial sulphate reduction caused the widespread degradation of organic matter and, where iron was available, the precipitation of pyrite. By contrast, where sulphate levels were low, early preservation by other minerals (e.g. phosphate or silica) could be excellent. We show, using two Proterozoic lake sequences with low and high sulphate chemistries, but with otherwise similar characteristics, that microbial sulphate reduction caused a profound loss of morphological detail and diversity within preserved microfossils. The results could imply that there is a significant bias in the Proterozoic fossil record towards low sulphate environments, which were in reality relatively scarce.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarth System Evolution and Early Life
Subtitle of host publicationa Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier
EditorsA. T. Brasier, D. McIlroy, N. McLoughlin
PublisherGeological Society of London
Pages105-119
Number of pages15
Volume448
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publications
PublisherGeological Society
Number1
Volume448
ISSN (Print)0305-8719
ISSN (Electronic)2041-4927

Fingerprint

Torridonian
microfossil
sulfate
Proterozoic
lake
oxygenation
mineral
redox potential
fossil record
marine environment
pyrite
replacement
silica
phosphate
organic matter
iron
oxygen
degradation
atmosphere

Cite this

Wacey, D., Brasier, M., Parnell, J., Culwick, T., Bowden, S., Spinks, S., ... Kilburn, M. R. (2017). Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. In A. T. Brasier, D. McIlroy, & N. McLoughlin (Eds.), Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier (Vol. 448, pp. 105-119). (Geological Society Special Publications; Vol. 448, No. 1). Geological Society of London. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP448.6

Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. / Wacey, David; Brasier, Martin; Parnell, John; Culwick, Timothy ; Bowden, Stephen; Spinks, Sam; Boyce, Adrian J.; Davidheiser-Kroll, Brett; Jeon, Heejin; Saunders, Martin; Kilburn, Matt R.

Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. ed. / A. T. Brasier; D. McIlroy; N. McLoughlin. Vol. 448 Geological Society of London, 2017. p. 105-119 (Geological Society Special Publications; Vol. 448, No. 1).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Wacey, D, Brasier, M, Parnell, J, Culwick, T, Bowden, S, Spinks, S, Boyce, AJ, Davidheiser-Kroll, B, Jeon, H, Saunders, M & Kilburn, MR 2017, Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. in AT Brasier, D McIlroy & N McLoughlin (eds), Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. vol. 448, Geological Society Special Publications, no. 1, vol. 448, Geological Society of London, pp. 105-119. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP448.6
Wacey D, Brasier M, Parnell J, Culwick T, Bowden S, Spinks S et al. Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. In Brasier AT, McIlroy D, McLoughlin N, editors, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Vol. 448. Geological Society of London. 2017. p. 105-119. (Geological Society Special Publications; 1). https://doi.org/10.1144/SP448.6
Wacey, David ; Brasier, Martin ; Parnell, John ; Culwick, Timothy ; Bowden, Stephen ; Spinks, Sam ; Boyce, Adrian J. ; Davidheiser-Kroll, Brett ; Jeon, Heejin ; Saunders, Martin ; Kilburn, Matt R. / Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. editor / A. T. Brasier ; D. McIlroy ; N. McLoughlin. Vol. 448 Geological Society of London, 2017. pp. 105-119 (Geological Society Special Publications; 1).
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title = "Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200–1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland",
abstract = "Oxygenation of the Proterozoic atmosphere caused the progressive build-up of dissolved sulphate on the continents and in marine environments. However, oxygen levels in the Proterozoic were low enough to allow the early burial of biological material into low redox potential environments where permineralization and the authigenic replacement of organic material, including micro-organisms, occurred by a range of minerals. Consequently, microbial sulphate reduction caused the widespread degradation of organic matter and, where iron was available, the precipitation of pyrite. By contrast, where sulphate levels were low, early preservation by other minerals (e.g. phosphate or silica) could be excellent. We show, using two Proterozoic lake sequences with low and high sulphate chemistries, but with otherwise similar characteristics, that microbial sulphate reduction caused a profound loss of morphological detail and diversity within preserved microfossils. The results could imply that there is a significant bias in the Proterozoic fossil record towards low sulphate environments, which were in reality relatively scarce.",
author = "David Wacey and Martin Brasier and John Parnell and Timothy Culwick and Stephen Bowden and Sam Spinks and Boyce, {Adrian J.} and Brett Davidheiser-Kroll and Heejin Jeon and Martin Saunders and Kilburn, {Matt R.}",
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N1 - We acknowledge the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis, The University of Western Australia, a facility funded by the University, State and Commonwealth Governments. DW acknowledges funding from the European Commission and the Australian Research Council. This is publication number 838 from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems.

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N2 - Oxygenation of the Proterozoic atmosphere caused the progressive build-up of dissolved sulphate on the continents and in marine environments. However, oxygen levels in the Proterozoic were low enough to allow the early burial of biological material into low redox potential environments where permineralization and the authigenic replacement of organic material, including micro-organisms, occurred by a range of minerals. Consequently, microbial sulphate reduction caused the widespread degradation of organic matter and, where iron was available, the precipitation of pyrite. By contrast, where sulphate levels were low, early preservation by other minerals (e.g. phosphate or silica) could be excellent. We show, using two Proterozoic lake sequences with low and high sulphate chemistries, but with otherwise similar characteristics, that microbial sulphate reduction caused a profound loss of morphological detail and diversity within preserved microfossils. The results could imply that there is a significant bias in the Proterozoic fossil record towards low sulphate environments, which were in reality relatively scarce.

AB - Oxygenation of the Proterozoic atmosphere caused the progressive build-up of dissolved sulphate on the continents and in marine environments. However, oxygen levels in the Proterozoic were low enough to allow the early burial of biological material into low redox potential environments where permineralization and the authigenic replacement of organic material, including micro-organisms, occurred by a range of minerals. Consequently, microbial sulphate reduction caused the widespread degradation of organic matter and, where iron was available, the precipitation of pyrite. By contrast, where sulphate levels were low, early preservation by other minerals (e.g. phosphate or silica) could be excellent. We show, using two Proterozoic lake sequences with low and high sulphate chemistries, but with otherwise similar characteristics, that microbial sulphate reduction caused a profound loss of morphological detail and diversity within preserved microfossils. The results could imply that there is a significant bias in the Proterozoic fossil record towards low sulphate environments, which were in reality relatively scarce.

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