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High-resolution chemostratigraphy reveals an episode of enrichment of the redox-sensitive transition metals molybdenum and rhenium in the late Archean Mount McRae Shale in Western Australia. Correlations with organic carbon indicate that these metals were derived from contemporaneous seawater. Rhenium/osmium geochronology demonstrates that the enrichment is(More)
Recent data imply that for much of the Proterozoic Eon (2500 to 543 million years ago), Earth's oceans were moderately oxic at the surface and sulfidic at depth. Under these conditions, biologically important trace metals would have been scarce in most marine environments, potentially restricting the nitrogen cycle, affecting primary productivity, and(More)
An active microbial assemblage cycles sulfur in a sulfate-rich, ancient marine brine beneath Taylor Glacier, an outlet glacier of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, with Fe(III) serving as the terminal electron acceptor. Isotopic measurements of sulfate, water, carbonate, and ferrous iron and functional gene analyses of adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate reductase(More)
High-resolution geochemical analyses of organic-rich shale and carbonate through the 2500 million-year-old Mount McRae Shale in the Hamersley Basin of northwestern Australia record changes in both the oxidation state of the surface ocean and the atmospheric composition. The Mount McRae record of sulfur isotopes captures the widespread and possibly permanent(More)
The nitrogen cycle provides essential nutrients to the biosphere, but its antiquity in modern form is unclear. In a drill core though homogeneous organic-rich shale in the 2.5-billion-year-old Mount McRae Shale, Australia, nitrogen isotope values vary from +1.0 to +7.5 per mil (per thousand) and back to +2.5 per thousand over approximately 30 meters. These(More)
Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Although these six elements make up nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids and thus the bulk of living matter, it is theoretically possible that some other elements in the periodic table could serve the same functions. Here, we describe a bacterium, strain(More)
Biogeochemical signatures preserved in ancient sedimentary rocks provide clues to the nature and timing of the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere. Geochemical data suggest that oxygenation proceeded in two broad steps near the beginning and end of the Proterozoic eon (2,500 to 542 million years ago). The oxidation state of the Proterozoic ocean between(More)
Metazoans are likely to have their roots in the Cryogenian period, but there is a marked increase in the appearance of novel animal and algae fossils shortly after the termination of the late Cryogenian (Marinoan) glaciation about 635 million years ago. It has been suggested that an oxygenation event in the wake of the severe Marinoan glaciation was the(More)
The East African Orogen formed as a result of collision between portions of East and West Gondwanaland as the Mozambique Ocean closed in Late Neoproterozoic time, but it is not known exactly when. We use distinctive chemical and isotopic composition of deformed 'schistose' dykes in southern Israel to argue that this collision occurred after about 630 Ma,(More)
Iron speciation data for the late Archean Mount McRae Shale provide evidence for a euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) water column 2.5 billion years ago. Sulfur isotope data compiled from the same stratigraphic section suggest that euxinic conditions were stimulated by an increase in oceanic sulfate concentrations resulting from weathering of continental sulfide(More)