Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Demonstrating deep biosphere activity in the geological record of lake sediments, on Earth and Mars

  • John Parnell (a1), Sean McMahon (a2) and Adrian Boyce (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

The investigation of Gale Crater has highlighted the occurrence of lake sediments in the geological record of Mars. Lacustrine basins include a diversity of potential habitats for life. An analogue terrestrial lacustrine basin of Devonian age in Scotland contains sulphide minerals in several settings where subsurface microbial colonization can be envisaged. Sulphur isotope compositions for the sulphides imply that they were precipitated by microbial sulphate reduction. The data suggest that the search for life in martian lacustrine basins should include investigation of potential subsurface habitats, and that any sulphides in martian lacustrine basins could be useful indicators in the search for life.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: John Parnell, E-mail: j.parnell@abdn.ac.uk
References
Hide All
AndrewsSD, CornwellDG, TrewinNH, HartleyAJ and ArcherSG (2016) A 2.3 million year lacustrine record of orbital forcing from the Devonian of northern Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society 173, 474488.
AndrewsSD and TrewinNH (2010) Periodicity determination of lacustrine cycles from the Devonian of northern Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology 46, 143155.
ArpG (1995) Lacustrine bioherms, spring mounds, and marginal carbonates of the Ries-Impact-Crater (Miocene, southern Germany). Facies 33, 3590.
ArvidsonRE et al. (2014) Ancient aqueous environments at Endeavour crater, Mars. Science 343, 1248097.
AstinTR and RogersDA (1991) Subaqueous shrinkage cracks’ in the Devonian of Scotland reinterpreted. Scottish Journal of Geology 61, 850859.
BuatoisLA and MánganoMG (1998) Trace fossil analysis of lacustrine facies and basins. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 140, 367382.
CabrolNA and GrinEA (2010) Lake on Mars. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
CavalazziB, AgangiA, BarbieriR, FranchiF and GasparottoG (2014) The formation of low-temperature sedimentary pyrite and its relationship with biologically-induced processes. Geology of Ore Deposits 56, 395408.
DeanWE and GorhamE (1998) Magnitude and significance of carbon burial in lakes, reservoirs, and peatlands. Geology 26, 535538.
DichiarenteAM, HoldsworthRE, DempseyED, SelbyD, McCaffreyKJW, MichieUMcL, MorganG and BonnifaceJ (2016) New structural and Re-Os geochronological evidence constraining the age of faulting and associated mineralization in the Devonian Orcadian Basin, Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society London , 173, 457473.
DonovanRN (1980) Lacustrine cycles, fish ecology and stratigraphic zonation in the middle Devonian of Caithness. Scottish Journal of Geology 16, 3550.
DonovanRN and FosterRJ (1972) Subaqueous shrinkage cracks from the Caithness Flagstone Series (middle Devonian) of northeast Scotland. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 42, 309317.
DuncanWI and BuxtonNWK (1995) New evidence for evaporitic middle Devonian lacustrine sediments with hydrocarbon source potential on the East Shetland Platform, North Sea. Journal of the Geological Society 152, 251258.
EhlmannBL and EdwardsCS (2014) Mineralogy of the martian surface. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 42, 291315.
FiskMR and GiovannoniSJ (1999) Sources of nutrients and energy for a deep biosphere on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research 104, E11805E11815.
FranzHB, MahaffyPR, KasprzakW, LynessE and RaaenE (2011) Measuring sulfur isotope ratios from solid samples with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument and the effects of dead time corrections. 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science, abstract 2800.
GallagherMJ, MichieUMcL, SmithRT and HaynesL (1971) New evidence of uranium and other mineralization in Scotland. Transactions of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy 80B, 150173.
GoldsteinRH and ReynoldsTJ (1994) Systematics of Fluid Inclusions in Diagenetic Minerals. SEPM Short Course 31. SEPM, Tulsa.
GrotzingerJP et al. (2014) A habitable fluvio-lacustrine environment at Yellowknife Bay, gale crater, Mars. Science 343, 1242777, 114.
GrotzingerJP et al. (2015) Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars. Science 350, aac7575, 112.
HalevyI (2013) Production, preservation, and biological processing of mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation in the Archean surface environment. Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 110, 1764417649.
HallAJ and DonovanRN (1978) Origin of complex sulphide nodules related to diagenesis of lacustrine sediments of middle Devonian age from the Shetland Islands. Scottish Journal of Geology 14, 289299.
HutchinsonIB, ParnellJ, EdwardsHGM, JehlickaJ, MarshallCP, HarrisLH and IngleyR (2014) Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy. Planetary and Space Science 103, 184190.
KenkmannT, JahnA, ScherlerD and IvanovBA (2005) Structure and formation of a central uplift: a case study at the Upheaval Dome impact crater, Utah. Geological Society of America Special Papers 384, 85115.
LucchittaBK (2010) Lakes in Valles Marineris. In Lakes on Mars, ed. CabrolNA and GrinEA, 111161. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
MachelHG (2001) Bacterial and thermochemical sulfate reduction in diagenetic settings – old and new insights. Sedimentary Geology 140, 143175.
MachelHG, KrouseHR and SassenR (1995) Products and distinguishing criteria of bacterial and thermochemical sulfate reduction. Applied Geochemistry 10, 373389.
Marin-CarbonneJ, Rollion-BardC, BekkerA, RouxelO, AgangiA, CavalazziB, Wohlgemuth-UeberwasserCC, HofmannA and McKeeganKD (2014) Coupled Fe and S isotope variations in pyrite nodules from Archean shale. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 392, 6779.
MarshallJEA and HewettT (2003) Devonian. In The Millennium Atlas, ed. EvansD, GrahamC, ArmourA and BathurstP, pp. 6581. Geological Society, London 6581.
McMahonS and ParnellJ (2014) Weighing the deep continental biosphere. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 87, 113120.
McMahonS, ParnellJ and BlameyNJF (2012) Sampling methane in hydrothermal minerals on Earth and Mars. International Journal of Astrobiology 11, 163167.
McMahonS, van Smeerdijk HoodA and McIlroyD (2016) The origin and occurrence of subaqueous sedimentary cracks. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 448, SP448SP415.
MichalskiJR, CuadrosJ, NilesPB, ParnellJ, RogersAD and WrightSP (2013) Groundwater activity on Mars and implications for a deep biosphere. Nature Geoscience 6, 133138.
MingDW et al. (2014) Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science 343, 1245267, 19.
MuirRO and RidgwayJM (1975) Sulphide mineralisation of the continental Devonian sediments of Orkney (Scotland). Mineralium Deposita 10, 205215.
OsinskiGR et al. (2013) Impact-generated hydrothermal systems on Earth and Mars. Icarus 224, 347363.
ParkerTJ, GrantJA and FranklinBJ (2010) The northern plains: a martian oceanic basin?. In Lakes on Mars, ed. CabrolNA and GrinEA, pp. 249273. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
ParnellJ (1987) Mineralized Magadi-type cherts in the Devonian of Scotland: support for a model of sulfide deposition in low-temperature alkaline conditions. Economic Geology 82, 10531056.
ParnellJ and JanawayT (1990) Sulphide-mineralized algal breccias in a Devonian evaporitic lake system, Orkney, Scotland. Ore Geology Reviews 4, 445460.
ParnellJ, CareyP and MonsonB (1998) Timing and temperature of decollement on hydrocarbon source rock beds in cyclic lacustrine successions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 140, 121134.
ParnellJ, BoyceAJ, HurstA, Davidheiser-KrollB and PonickaJ (2013) Long term geological record of a global deep subsurface habitat in sand injection complexes. Scientific Reports 3, 16.
PlantJA, ForrestMD, HodgsonJF, SmithRT and StevensonAG (1986) Regional geochemistry in the detection and modelling of mineral deposits. In Applied Geochemistry in the 1980s, ed. ThorntonI and HowarthRJ, pp. 103139. Graham & Trotman, London.
RaiswellR and BernerRA (1986) Pyrite and organic matter in Phanerozoic normal marine shales. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 50, 19671976.
RathbunJA and SquyresSW (2002) Hydrothermal systems associated with martian impact craters. Icarus 157, 362372.
RobinsonBW and KusakabeM (1975) Quantitative preparation of sulfur dioxide for 34S/32S analyses from sulphides by combustion with cuprous oxide. Analytical Chemistry 47, 11791181.
RobinsonMA (1985) Palaeomagnetism of volcanics and sediments of the Eday Group, southern Orkney. Scottish Journal of Geology 21, 285300.
SchnurrenbergerS, RussellJ and KeltsK (2003) Classification of lacustrine sediments based on sedimentary components. Journal of Paleolimnology 29, 141154.
SchopfJW, FarmerJD, FosterIS, KudryavtsevAB, GallardoVA and EspinozaC (2012) Gypsum-permineralized microfossils and their relevance to the search for life on Mars. Astrobiology 12, 619633.
StrachanRA (2003) The metamorphic basement geology of mainland Orkney and Graemsay. Scottish Journal of Geology 39, 145149.
TrewinNH (1989) The petroleum potential of the Old Red Sandstone of northern Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology 25, 201225.
WarnerNH, SoweM, GuptaS, DumkeA and GoddardK (2013) Fill and spill of giant lakes in the eastern Valles Marineris region of Mars. Geology 41, 675678.
WeissBP, YungYL and NealsonKH (2000) Atmospheric energy for subsurface life on Mars? Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 97, 13951399.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 16 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 96 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd October 2017 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.