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Graphitic Carbons and Biosignatures

Bernard, S; Papineau, D; (2014) Graphitic Carbons and Biosignatures. Elements , 10 (6) pp. 435-440. 10.2113/gselements.10.6.435. Green open access

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Abstract

The unambiguous identification of graphitic carbons as remains of life in ancient rocks is challenging because fossilized biogenic molecules are inevitably altered and degraded during diagenesis and metamorphism of the host rocks. Yet, recent studies have highlighted the possible preservation of biosignatures carried by some of the oldest graphitic carbons. Laboratory simulations are increasingly being used to better constrain the transformations of organic molecules into graphitic carbons induced by sedimentation and burial processes. These recent research advances justify a reevaluation of the putative biogenicity of numerous ancient graphitic carbons, including the presumed oldest traces of life on Earth.

Type: Article
Title: Graphitic Carbons and Biosignatures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2113/gselements.10.6.435
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2113/gselements.10.6.435
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 by the Mineralogical Society of America.
Keywords: microfossils, degradation/preservation, diagenesis/metamorphism, experimental fossilization, abiotic processes, Archean/early life
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474748
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