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/Conference paperChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)
256 Downloads (Pure)

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: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier
EditorsA.T Braisier, D McIlroy, N McLoughlin
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherThe Geological Society Publishing House
Pages105-119
Number of pages15
Volume448
ISBN (Print)9781786202796
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publication
PublisherGeological Society of London
ISSN (Print)0305-8719

Cite this

Wacey, D., Brasier, M., Parnell, J., Culwick, T., Bowden, S., Spinks, S., ... Kilburn, M. R. (2016). Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200-1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. In A. T. Braisier, 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 Publication). United Kingdom: The Geological Society Publishing House. 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 Braisier ; D McIlroy ; N McLoughlin. Vol. 448 United Kingdom : The Geological Society Publishing House, 2016. pp. 105-119 (Geological Society Special Publication).
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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.",
keywords = "ORGANIC-MATTER, TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT, EARLY EVOLUTION, SULFUR, SEDIMENTARY, OXYGENATION, EUKARYOTES, SULFATE, PYRITIZATION, REDUCTION",
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Wacey, D, Brasier, M, Parnell, J, Culwick, T, Bowden, S, Spinks, S, Boyce, AJ, Davidheiser-Kroll, B, Jeon, H, Saunders, M & Kilburn, MR 2016, Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200-1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland. in AT Braisier, D McIlroy & N McLoughlin (eds), Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. vol. 448, Geological Society Special Publication, The Geological Society Publishing House, United Kingdom, pp. 105-119. 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 Braisier; D McIlroy; N McLoughlin. Vol. 448 United Kingdom : The Geological Society Publishing House, 2016. p. 105-119 (Geological Society Special Publication).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Contrasting microfossil preservation and lake chemistries within the 1200-1000 Ma Torridonian Supergroup of NW Scotland

AU - Wacey, David

AU - Brasier, Martin

AU - Parnell, John

AU - Culwick, Timothy

AU - Bowden, Stephen

AU - Spinks, Sam

AU - Boyce, Adrian J.

AU - Davidheiser-Kroll, Brett

AU - Jeon, Heejin

AU - Saunders, Martin

AU - Kilburn, Matt R.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

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.

KW - ORGANIC-MATTER

KW - TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT

KW - EARLY EVOLUTION

KW - SULFUR

KW - SEDIMENTARY

KW - OXYGENATION

KW - EUKARYOTES

KW - SULFATE

KW - PYRITIZATION

KW - REDUCTION

U2 - 10.1144/SP448.6

DO - 10.1144/SP448.6

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9781786202796

VL - 448

T3 - Geological Society Special Publication

SP - 105

EP - 119

BT - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier

A2 - Braisier, A.T

A2 - McIlroy, D

A2 - McLoughlin, N

PB - The Geological Society Publishing House

CY - United Kingdom

ER -

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 Braisier AT, McIlroy D, McLoughlin N, editors, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Vol. 448. United Kingdom: The Geological Society Publishing House. 2016. p. 105-119. (Geological Society Special Publication). https://doi.org/10.1144/SP448.6