Mineralized microbes form Giggenbach submarine volcano

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  • The Giggenbach submarine volcano, which forms part of the Kermadec active arc front, is located ∼780 km NNE of the North Island of New Zealand. Samples collected from chimneys associated with seafloor hydrothermal vents on this volcano, at a depth of 160–180 m, contain silicified microbes and microbes entombed in reticular Fe‐rich precipitates. The mineralized biota includes filamentous, rod‐shaped, and rare coccoid microbes. In the absence of organic carbon for rDNA analysis or preserved cells, the taxonomic affinity of these microbes, in terms of extant taxa, remains questionable because of their architectural simplicity and the paucity of taxonomically significant features. The three‐dimensional preservation of the microbes indicates rapid mineralization with a steady supply of supersaturated fluids to the nucleation sites present on the surfaces of the microbes. The mineralization styles evident in the microbes from the Giggenbach submarine volcano are similar to those associated with mineralized microbes found in terrestrial hot spring deposits in New Zealand, Iceland, Yellowstone, and Kenya. These similarities exist even though the microbes are probably different and the fluids become supersaturated with respect to opal‐A by different mechanisms. For ancient rocks it means that interpretations of the depositional settings cannot be based solely on the silicified microbes or their style of silicification.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2008 Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Jones, Brian, de Ronde, C., & Renaut, Robin W. (2008). Mineralized microbes form Giggenbach submarine volcano. Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth, 113(B8), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007JB005482