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2005 Annual Science Report

University of Colorado, Boulder Reporting  |  JUL 2004 – JUN 2005

Re-Tracing Steps Towards a Habitable World: The Biogeochemical Evolution of Sulfur on the Early Earth.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

*Mass-independent isotope effects in sedimentary rocks by ion microprobe analysis. We have traced the effect of these reactions in the transformation of the surface zone to an oxygen-rich environment between 2.5 and 1.8 billion-years-ago (Papineau et al., GCA; Papineau et al. submitted to Science).

*Discrimination between preservation of original igneous zircon populations and inherited grains and Constraining the protolith of granulite facies assemblages in West Greenland. In collaboration with the UCLA NAI Team (Manning and Harrison) we have decribed the geology, age and origin of pre-3.8 Ga supracrustal sequences in West Greenland and reported trace element, δ18O and mass independent sulfur isotopes (_33S) corroborate a sedimentary origin for Akilia Fe-rich quartzitic enclaves (Manning et al., 2005 in press).

*Nitrogen isotopic evolution with time. In collaboration with the University of Helsinki (J. Karhu) and the CRPG-Nancy (B. Marty) we have expanded the record of nitrogen isotopic fractionations by life into the oldest sediments from West Greenland (Papineau et al. 2005a).

*Community structure of microbialites in Shark Bay. In collaboration with CU Professor Norm Pace and graduate student Jeff Walker, we report the first detailed phylogenetic analysis of a living stromatolites from Shark Bay, Western Australia and use this information to make inferences about early Archean habitats and the 'classical’ interpretation of the origin of stromatolites in the geologic record.

    Stephen Mojzsis Stephen Mojzsis
    Project Investigator
    Juha Karhu

    Craig Manning

    Bernard Marty

    Kevin McKeegan

    Norman Pace

    Axel Schmitt

    Edward Young

    Nicole Cates
    Doctoral Student

    Dominic Papineau
    Doctoral Student

    Dustin Trail
    Doctoral Student

    Objective 1.1
    Models of formation and evolution of habitable planets

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere

    Objective 4.2
    Foundations of complex life

    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 6.1
    Environmental changes and the cycling of elements by the biota, communities, and ecosystems

    Objective 7.1
    Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials