Precambrian solution photochemistry, inverse segregation, and banded iron formations

@article{Cairnssmith1978PrecambrianSP,
  title={Precambrian solution photochemistry, inverse segregation, and banded iron formations},
  author={A. G. Cairns-smith},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1978},
  volume={276},
  pages={807-808}
}
  • A. Cairns-smith
  • Published 1 December 1978
  • Geology, Environmental Science
  • Nature
SOLAR radiation on an early Precambrian sea would generate short-lived excited species near the surface of the water. Many of the species would be powerful oxidising or reducing agents. Despite back-reactions, net reducing power would be lost to the atmosphere. This effect would be the opposite of present day photosynthesis and can be termed ‘inverse segregation’. Its possible relevance to banded iron formation is discussed here. 
Photoprecipitation and the banded iron-formations — Some quantitative aspects
The oxidative deposition of iron in the Banded iron-Formations can be quantitatively accounted for by direct abiotic photo-oxidation, by extrapolating from laboratory conditions and making reasonable
Extensive deposition of banded iron formations was possible without photosynthesis
Precambrian banded iron formations (BIFs) consist of alternating layers of silica and iron minerals such as haematite, magnetite and siderite1,2, but there is controversy as to the origin of the
Deposition of banded iron formations by anoxygenic phototrophic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria
The mechanism of banded iron formation (BIF) deposition is controversial, but classically has been interpreted to reflect ferrous iron [Fe(II)] oxidation by molecular oxygen after cyanobacteria
Photoprecipitation and the bifs: Some quantitative aspects
The deposition of iron in the BIFs can be quantitatively accounted for by direct abiotic photoprecipitation, making reasonable assumptions about the early Earth and Precambrian ocean waters. The
Abiotic photosynthesis from ferrous carbonate (siderite) and water
Photoemission and solvation of electrons from iron (II) ion in aqueous solution has been shown to lead to reduction of water to hydrogen (Cairns-Smith, 1981; Braterman et al., 1983). In the presence
Role of Microorganisms in Banded Iron Formations
Banded iron formations (BIF) represent the largest source of iron in the world. They formed throughout the Precambrian, and today are globally distributed on the remnants of the ancient cratons. The
Suboxic diagenesis in banded iron formations
TLDR
The electron acceptor that permits oxidation in the absence of free oxygen is presumed to be iron(III) which may have been significantly more abundant in the initial chemical precipitate than in the post-diagenetic sedimentary rock.
Anoxic photochemical oxidation of siderite generates molecular hydrogen and iron oxides
TLDR
It is proposed that the photochemistry of Earth-abundant minerals with wide band gaps would have potentially played a critical role in shaping the biogeochemical evolution of early Earth.
Photo-oxidation of hydrated Fe2+—significance for banded iron formations
The Precambrian banded iron formations (BIFs) are the major iron ore sources on the Earth. They consist of extensive iron-rich and iron-poor layers within siliceous sedimentary rocks1,2. The banding
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