Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert VarnishMars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.
Flood, B. E. (Texas A&M Univ. Galveston, TX, United States)
Allen, C. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Longazo, T. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)