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Journal Articles Procedia Earth and Planetary Science Year : 2017

Geochemical Conditions Allowing the Formation of Modern Lacustrine Microbialites


Interpreting the environmental conditions of ancient microbialites rely on comparisons with modern analogues. Yet, we lack a detailed reference framework relating the chemical and mineralogical composition of modern lacustrine microbialites with the physical and chemical parameters prevailing in the lakes where they form. Here we performed geochemical analyses of water solutions and mineralogical analyses of microbialites in 12 Mexican crater lakes. We found a large diversity of microbialites in terms of mineralogical composition, with occurrence of diverse carbonate phases such as magnesian calcite, monohydrocalcite, aragonite, hydromagnesite, and dolomite as well as authigenic magnesium silicate phases. In parallel, the chemical compositions of the lakes differed particularly by their alkalinity, their concentration of ortho-silicic acid (H 4 SiO 4) and their Mg/Ca ratio. From this study, we infer a minimum alkalinity value for the formation of lacustrine microbialites, as well as several constraints given by the presence of mineral phases on the chemical composition of the lakes in which microbialites formed. Finally, we observe a general correlation between the alkalinity and the sodium content of the lakes. This may relate to variations in evaporation intensity and provide a historical model for lacustrine microbialite formation: microbialite start forming only when the lake is sufficiently old/evaporated.


Earth Sciences
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Dates and versions

hal-01440538 , version 1 (19-01-2017)


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Nina Zeyen, Damien Daval, Purification Lopez-Garcia, David Moreira, Jerôme Gaillardet, et al.. Geochemical Conditions Allowing the Formation of Modern Lacustrine Microbialites. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 2017, 17, pp.380 - 383. ⟨10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.096⟩. ⟨hal-01440538⟩
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