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Stromatolite growth in Lagoa Vermelha, southeastern coast of Brazil: evidence of environmental changes

  • Carla Carvalho (a1) (a2), Maria Isabela N. Oliveira (a2), Kita Macario (a2) (a3), Renato B. Guimarães (a3) (a4), Carolina N Keim (a5), Elisamara Sabadini-Santos (a1) and Mirian A C Crapez (a6)...

Among the oldest remains of living beings to have inhabited the Earth’s surface, there are the stromatolites—laminated sedimentary rocks associated with lithified mats of layered phototrophic microbial communities—which grow in specific environmental conditions. In the present work, we study a recent carbonatic stromatolite from Lagoa Vermelha (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), a shallow coastal hypersaline lagoon. X-ray diffraction was associated to a depth chronological model defining three different sections based on changes in mineral composition of the stromatolite with increased dolomite content. Although a mean growth rate of 0.19±0.03 mm/yr is observed, the model discloses decreasing growth rates among the sections. Since dolomite formation can be related to high availability of Mg+2, confirmed by an expressive presence of (Ca, Mg)CO3, the lower growth rates were associated to a more arid environment, until approximately 1440 cal AD, with higher temperatures and consequently promoting water evaporation and salinity enhancement.

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