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Pyrite framboids interpreted as microbial colonies within the Permian Zoophycos spreiten from southeastern Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Y M Gong, Guang ShiGuang Shi, Liz WeldonLiz Weldon, Y S Du, Y Xu
Two types of pyrite framboids (PF, probably sulphate-reducing bacteria) have been found
within the Zoophycos spreiten, hosted in the Guadalupian (Middle Permian) glaciomarine greywacke
of the Westley Park Sandstone Member within the Broughton Formation from the southern Sydney
Basin of southeastern Australia. They are composed of non-sheathed (PF1) and sheathed (PF2)
sub-micron balls, respectively. Chemically, the sub-micron balls consist of iron, sulphur, carbon and
oxygen. Both PF1 and PF2 occur in rhythmic alternationwithin the thick, light-grey and thin, dark-grey
minor lamellae of Zoophycos spreiten. The framboids from the minor lamellae are highly abundant and
occur in an orderly arrangement of equal density and in a good state of preservation.Within Zoophycos
spreiten no homogeneous filling, fecal pellets, or any sign of re-exploitation of the minor lamellae have
been recognized. No similar framboids have been observed outside Zoophycos spreiten. Therefore, the
framboids are interpreted as the pyritized remains of microbial colonies within Zoophycos spreiten.
The trace Zoophycos would be a multifunctional garden thatmay have been carefully constructed by the
Zoophycos maker, where different microbial colonies were orderly and carefully planted and cultured
within different minor lamellae. Further, it is proposed that the Zoophycos maker had a symbiotic
relationship with microbial colonies on the mutual basis of food supply and redox conditions. The fact
that the overlying spreiten cut the underlying ones indicates that the Zoophycos from the study area is
of an upward construction. The rhythmic alternation of both the thick, light-grey and thin, dark-grey
minor lamellae within Zoophycos spreiten may be suggestive of a gardening manner of the Zoophycos
maker responding to the warm and cold changes, food supply in pulses and variations of sedimentation
rate for planting and culturing microbial colonies under the conditions of a glaciomarine environment
at the high latitudes.



Geological magazine






95 - 103


Cambrige University Press


Cambridge, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007 Cambridge University Press