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Modern Cyanobacterial Analogs of Paleozoic Stromatoporoids

Józef Kaźmierczak and Stephan Kempe
Science
New Series, Vol. 250, No. 4985 (Nov. 30, 1990), pp. 1244-1248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2878649
Page Count: 5
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Modern Cyanobacterial Analogs of Paleozoic Stromatoporoids
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Abstract

Recent and subfossil calcareous structures resembling cystose and subclathrate Paleozoic stromatoporoids have been discovered in a sea-linked, stratified, alkaline crater lake on Satonda Island, Indonesia. The structures are produced by mats of coccoid cyanobacteria growing along the lakeshore from the water surface down to the O$_2$-H$_2$S interface located at a depth of 22.8 meters. Calcification of the mats is controlled by seasonal changes in calcium carbonate supersaturation in the epilimnion. The internally complex structures are a product of two different calcification processes: (i) periodic in vivo calcification of the surficial cyanobacterial layers by low-Mg calcite, and (ii) early postmortem calcification of the cyanobacterial aggregates below the mat surface by microbially precipitated aragonite. The finding supports the idea that Paleozoic stromatoporoids represent fossilized cyanobacteria (stromatolites). It also implies that the stromatoporoid-generating epicontinental seas during the early Paleozoic may have been more alkaline and had a higher carbonate mineral supersaturation than modern seawater.

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