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  • 1.
    Drake, Henrik
    et al.
    Institutionen för biologi och miljö, Linneuniversitet.
    Roberts, Nick M. W.
    Geochronology and Tracers Facility, British Geological Survey.
    Reinhardt, Manuel
    Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnæus University.
    Whitehouse, Martin
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Ivarsson, Magnus
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
    Karlsson, Andreas
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kooijman, Ellen
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kielman-Schmitt, Melanie
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Biosignatures of ancient microbial life are present across the igneous crust of the Fennoscandian shield2021In: Communications Earth & Environment, E-ISSN 2662-4435, Vol. 2, no 1, article id 102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Earth’s crust contains a substantial proportion of global biomass, hosting microbial life up to several kilometers depth. Yet, knowledge of the evolution and extent of life in this environment remains elusive and patchy. Here we present isotopic, molecular and morphological signatures for deep ancient life in vein mineral specimens from mines distributed across the Precambrian Fennoscandian shield. Stable carbon isotopic signatures of calcite indicate microbial methanogenesis. In addition, sulfur isotope variability in pyrite, supported by stable carbon isotopic signatures of methyl-branched fatty acids, suggest subsequent bacterial sulfate reduction. Carbonate geochronology constrains the timing of these processes to the Cenozoic. We suggest that signatures of an ancient deep biosphere and long-term microbial activity are present throughout this shield. We suggest that microbes may have been active in the continental igneous crust over geological timescales, and that subsurface investigations may be valuable in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

  • 2. Drake, Henrik
    et al.
    Roberts, Nick M. W.
    Reinhardt, Manuel
    Whitehouse, Martin
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Ivarsson, Magnus
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
    Karlsson, Andreas
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kooijman, Ellen
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kielman-Schmitt, Melanie
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Biosignatures of ancient microbial life are present across the igneous crust of the Fennoscandian shield2021In: Communications Earth & Environment, E-ISSN 2662-4435, Vol. 2, no 1, article id 102Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 3. Drake, Henrik
    et al.
    Roberts, Nick M. W.
    Reinhardt, Manuel
    Whitehouse, Martin
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Ivarsson, Magnus
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
    Karlsson, Andreas
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kooijman, Ellen
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kielman-Schmitt, Melanie
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Biosignatures of ancient microbial life are present across the igneous crust of the Fennoscandian shield2021In: Communications Earth & Environment, E-ISSN 2662-4435, Vol. 2, no 1, article id 102Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 4. Drake, Henrik
    et al.
    Roberts, Nick M. W.
    Reinhardt, Manuel
    Whitehouse, Martin
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Ivarsson, Magnus
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
    Karlsson, Andreas
    Kooijman, Ellen
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
    Kielman-Schmitt, Melanie
    Biosignatures of ancient microbial life are present across the igneous crust of the Fennoscandian shield2021In: Communication Earth & Environment, Vol. 2, no 1, article id 102Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Drake, Henrik
    et al.
    Department of Biology and Environmental Science Linnæus University Kalmar Sweden.
    Tillberg, Mikael
    Department of Biology and Environmental Science Linnæus University Kalmar Sweden;Department of Earth Sciences University of Gothenburg Gothenburg Sweden.
    Reinhardt, Manuel
    Department of Biology and Environmental Science Linnæus University Kalmar Sweden;Department of Geobiology Geoscience Centre University of Göttingen Göttingen Germany.
    Whitehouse, Martin J.
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology. Swedish Museum of Natural History Stockholm Sweden.
    Kooijman, Ellen
    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology. Department of Geosciences, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden.
    In Situ Rb/Sr Geochronology and Stable Isotope Geochemistry Evidence for Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic Fracture‐Hosted Fluid Flow and Microbial Activity in Paleoproterozoic Basement, SW Sweden2023In: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, E-ISSN 1525-2027, Vol. 24, no 5Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent studies have shown that biosignatures of ancient microbial life exist in mineral coatings in deep bedrock fractures of Precambrian cratons, but such surveys have been few and far between. Here, we report results from southwestern Sweden in an area of 1.6–1.5 Ga Paleoproterozoic rocks heavily reworked by the 1.14–0.96 Ga Sveconorwegian orogeny, a terrane previously scarcely explored for ancient microbial biosignatures. Calcite-pyrite-adularia-illite-coated fractures were analyzed for stable isotopes via Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (δ13C, δ18O, δ34S) and in situ Rb/Sr geochronology via Laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The Rb/Sr ages for calcite-adularia and calcite-illite show that several fluid flow events can be discerned (797 ± 18–769 ± 7, 391 ± 5–387 ± 6, 356 ± 5–347 ± 4, and 301 ± 7 Ma). The δ13C, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr values of different calcite growth zones further confirmed episodic fluid flow. Pyrite δ34S values down to −49.9‰V-CDT, together with systematically increased δ34S from crystal core to rim, suggest formation following microbial sulfate reduction under semi-closed conditions. Assemblages involving MSR-related pyrite generally have Devonian to Permian Rb/Sr ages, indicating an association to extension-related fracturing and fluid mixing during foreland-basin formation linked to Caledonian orogeny in the northwest. An assemblage with an age of 301 ± 7 Ma is potentially related to Oslo Rift extension, whereas the Neo-Proterozoic ages relate to post-Sveconorwegian extensional tectonics. Remnants of short-chained fatty acids in the youngest calcite coatings further indicate a biogenic origin, while the absence of organic molecules in older calcite is in line with thermal degradation, potentially related to heating during Caledonian foreland basin burial.

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