Stromatolites, it’s a Matter of ScaleMay 11, 2016 / Written by: Julie Fletcher
In situ macro and mesostructure of Barstow Formation tufa. Image credit: Ibarra and Corsetti
The processes that govern the formation of stromatolites—structures that may represent macroscopic manifestation of microbial processes and a clear target for astrobiological investigation—occur at various scales (local versus regional), yet determining their relative importance remains a challenge, particularly for ancient deposits and/or if similar deposits are discovered elsewhere in the Solar System.
A new paper builds upon the traditional multiscale level approach of investigation (micro-, meso-, macro-, mega-) by including a lateral comparative investigational component of fine- to large-scale features to determine the relative significance of local and/or nonlocal controls on stromatolite morphology, and in the process, help constrain the dominant influences on microbialite formation.
The paper “Lateral Comparative Investigation of Stromatolites: Astrobiological Implications and Assessment of Scales of Control” was published in Astrobiology. The work was supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Institute through the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology.
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