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When did life first appear on Earth and what form did it take? The answer to this intriguing and fundamentally important question lies somewhere within the early Archean rock record. The young Earth was, however, a very different place to that we know today and numerous pitfalls await our interpretation of these most ancient rocks.
The first half of this practical guide equips the reader with the background knowledge to successfully evaluate new potentially biological finds from the Archean rock record. Successive steps are covered, from locating promising samples in the field, through
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Produktbeschreibung
When did life first appear on Earth and what form did it take? The answer to this intriguing and fundamentally important question lies somewhere within the early Archean rock record. The young Earth was, however, a very different place to that we know today and numerous pitfalls await our interpretation of these most ancient rocks.

The first half of this practical guide equips the reader with the background knowledge to successfully evaluate new potentially biological finds from the Archean rock record. Successive steps are covered, from locating promising samples in the field, through standard petrography and evaluation of antiquity and biogenicity criteria, to the latest state of the art geochemical techniques. The second half of the guide uniquely brings together all the materials that have been claimed to comprise the earliest fossil record into an easily accessible, fully illustrated format.

This will be a handbook that every Archean geologist, palaeobiologist and astrobiologist will wish to have in their backpack or on their lab-bench.

  • Produktdetails
  • Topics in Geobiology 31
  • Verlag: Springer / Springer Netherlands
  • Artikelnr. des Verlages: 12557653
  • 2009
  • Seitenzahl: 288
  • Erscheinungstermin: 29. Januar 2009
  • Englisch
  • Abmessung: 241mm x 160mm x 20mm
  • Gewicht: 612g
  • ISBN-13: 9781402093883
  • ISBN-10: 1402093888
  • Artikelnr.: 25080979
Autorenporträt
David Wacey is a University Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia in Perth. He graduated with honours from Oxford University in 1998 and then undertook a D.Phil. investigating the geochemistry and microbiology of modern and ancient dolomite formation. It was during this time that he became interested in primitive microbes and how the earliest life on Earth may have arisen and evolved. On completion of his D. Phil he decided to concentrate his research on the earliest rocks found on Earth. After 12 years at Oxford he relocated to Western Australia where he now works on a number of problems relating to the recognition and understanding of the earliest signs of life of Earth. More information can be found here: http://cmca.uwa.edu.au/contact_directory
Inhaltsangabe
AcknowledgmentsSetting the scene, an introduction by Martin BrasierMilestones in the search for early life on EarthThe Eozoon debate and the 'Foraminosphere'The Cyanosphere, phase 1The Cyanosphere, phase 2ImplicationsRecommended readingPART A: Investigating life in early Archean rocks1. What can we expect to find in the earliest rock record?Introduction1.1. Body fossils1.2. Trace fossils1.3. Chemical fossils2. The difficulties of decoding early lifeIntroduction2.1. Non-biological artefacts2.2. Post-depositional contamination2.3. The pros and cons of the 'Principle of Uniformity'2.4. A benchmark for microfossils and stromatolites3. Establishing the criteria for early life on EarthIntroduction3.1. Antiquity criteria3.1.1. General antiquity criteria3.1.2. Additional antiquity criteria specific to microfossils3.1.3. Additional antiquity criteria specific to trace fossils3.2. Biogenicity criteria3.2.1. General biogenicity criteria3.2.2. Additional biogenicity criteria specific to microfossils3.2.3. Additional biogenicity criteria specific to trace fossils3.3. The problem of stromatolites4. Fulfilling the criteria for early life on EarthIntroduction4.1. Where to look? - Archean cratons4.1.1. Geology of the Pilbara craton4.1.2. Geology of the Barberton greenstone belt, Kaapvaal craton4.1.3. Geology of southwest Greenland4.2. Typical rocks found in the early Archean that could host life4.2.1. Chert4.2.2. Pillow basalt4.2.3. Sandstone4.2.4. Hydrothermal deposits5. Techniques for investigating early life on EarthIntroduction5.1. Geological mapping5.2. Radiometric dating5.3. Optical microscopy5.4. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)5.5. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)5.6. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS and NanoSIMS)5.7. Laser-Raman micro-spectroscopy5.8. Near edge x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (NEXAFS) and electron energy loss spectrometry (EELS)5.9. Synchrotron x-ray tomography5.10. Atomic force microscopy (AFM)5.11. Molecular fossils5.12. Carbon isotopes5.13. Sulphur isotopes5.14. Other isotopic systemsSummary of techniquesPart B: An atlas of claims for early Archean lifeIntroduction1. >3700 Ma, Isua Supracrustal Belt and Akilia Island, S.W. Greenland2. ~3490 Ma, Dresser Formation, East Pilbara, Western AustraliaSummary of claims for early life from this Formation3. ~3470 Ma, Mount Ada Basalt, East Pilbara, Western Australia4. ~3460 Ma, Apex Basalt, East Pilbara, Western Australia5. ~3450 Ma, Hoogenoeg Formation, Barberton, South Africa6. ~3450 Ma, Panorama Formation, East Pilbara, Western Australia7. ~3400 Ma, Strelley Pool Formation, East Pilbara, Western AustraliaSummary of claims of early life from this Formation8. ~3416-3334 Ma, Kromberg Formation, Barberton, South Africa9. ~3350 Ma, Euro Basalt, East Pilbara, Western Australia10. ~3250 Ma, Fig Tree Group, Barberton, South Africa11. ~3240 Ma, Kangaroo Caves Fm., East Pilbara, Western Australia12. ~3200 Ma, Moodies Group, Barberton, South Africa13. ~3200 Ma, Dixon Island Formation, West Pilbara, Western Australia14. ~3000 Ma, Cleaverville Formation, West Pilbara, Western Australia15. ~3000 Ma, Farrel Quartzite, East Pilbara, Western Australia16. The Imposters. Younger biolog
Rezensionen
From the reviews:

"Suitable for graduate students and early career researchers, this book provides a useful introduction to the current understanding of life on the early Earth. The excellent images and use of bullet points and tables to encapsulate key information make this book highly readable ... providing suggestions for additional reading for those who want (or need) to know more. The text is clear and well-written ... . This book is thought-provoking ... ." (Alison J. Wright, The Astrobiology Society of Britain, September, 2009)

"Wacey ... has chosen a daunting task: to review everything more than three billion years old that anyone has interpreted as a body, trace, or chemical remnant of life on Earth. ... At approximately 100 pages, this overview is quite succinct, yet well illustrated and comprehensively referenced. ... Pound for pound, this may be the best available summary of evidence of Earth's earliest life ... a good introduction for nonspecialists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." (B. M. Simonson, Choice, Vol. 47 (3), November, 2009)

"Gives the reader a general overview of early-life studies ... . The topics are presented in such a way that even a non-scientist would be able to grasp most of the basic concepts. ... The topics covered are well-organized and clearly explained, and each section is followed by extensive lists of references for further reading. I would certainly use this book as the basis of an introductory course curriculum at the upper undergraduate or graduate level." (Dina M. Bower, Geologos, Vol. 16 (3), September, 2010)
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