This led to a series of major changes in global biogeochemical cycles, as a team around Aivo Lepland of the Norwegian Geological Survey NGU reports in the latest online edition of "Nature Geoscience".
This also resulted in the distribution of one of life's key elements, phosphorous. Studies on the unique organic-rich Zaonega rock formation preserved in Carelia, NW Russia, with an age of around two billion years has revealed an astonishing result:
"The formation of Earth's earliest phosphorites was influenced strongly, if not controlled completely, by the activity of sulfur bacteria", says co-author Richard Wirth of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, who analyzed the rock samples with an electron microscope.
"This activity occurred in an oil field setting that had been influenced by active volcanism and associated venting and seeping." In the modern world, sulfur bacteria inhabit upwelling vent and seep areas known as "Black Smokers" and mediate phosphorite formation.
The authors therefore conclude that the formation of the earliest worldwide phosphorites 2 billion years ago can be linked to the establishment of sulfur bacteria habitats, triggered by the oxygenation of the Earth.
Aivo Lepland et al.: "Potential influence of sulphur bacteria on Palaeoproterozoic phosphogenesis", Nature Geoscience Advance Online Publication, Doi 10.1038/ngeo2005
F.Ossing | GFZ Potsdam
Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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