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Manganese, Metallogenium, and Martian MicrofossilsManganese could easily be considered an abundant element in the Martian regolith, assuming that the composition of martian meteorites reflects the composition of the planet. Mineralogical analyses of 5 SNC meteorites have revealed an average manganese oxide concentration of 0.48%, relative to the 0.1% concentration of manganese found in the Earth's crust. On the Earth, the accumulation of manganese oxides in oceans, soils, rocks, sedimentary ores, fresh water systems, and hydrothermal vents can be largely attributed to microbial activity. Manganese is also a required trace nutrient for most life forms and participates in many critical enzymatic reactions such as photosynthesis. The wide-spread process of bacterial manganese cycling on Earth suggests that manganese is an important element to both geology and biology. Furthermore, there is evidence that bacteria can be fossilized within manganese ores, implying that manganese beds may be good repositories for preserved biomarkers. A particular genus of bacteria, known historically as Metallogenium, can form star-shaped manganese oxide minerals (called metallogenium) through the action of manganese oxide precipitation along its surface. Fossilized structures that resemble metallogenium have been found in Precambrian sedimentary formations and in Cretaceous-Paleogene cherts. The Cretaceous-Paleogene formations are highly enriched in manganese and have concentrations of trace elements (Fe, Zn, Cu, and Co) similar to modern-day manganese oxide deposits in marine environments. The appearance of metallogenium-like fossils associated with manganese deposits suggests that bacteria may be preserved within the minerals that they form. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.
Document ID
20000110466
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Stein, L. Y. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Nealson, K. H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: The Fifth International Conference on Mars
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.