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Journal Article

Nondestructive, in situ, Cellular-Scale Mapping of Elemental Abundances Including Organic Carbon in Permineralized Fossils

C. K. Boyce, R. M. Hazen and A. H. Knoll
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 98, No. 11 (May 22, 2001), pp. 5970-5974
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3055743
Page Count: 5

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Topics: Carbon, Fossils, Maps, Electrons, Cell walls, Calcium, Organic materials, Sulfur, Organic foods, Anatomy
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Nondestructive, in situ, Cellular-Scale Mapping of Elemental Abundances Including Organic Carbon in Permineralized Fossils
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Abstract

The electron microprobe allows elemental abundances to be mapped at the µm scale, but until now high resolution mapping of light elements has been challenging. Modifications of electron microprobe procedure permit fine-scale mapping of carbon. When applied to permineralized fossils, this technique allows simultaneous mapping of organic material, major matrix-forming elements, and trace elements with µm-scale resolution. The resulting data make it possible to test taphonomic hypotheses for the formation of anatomically preserved silicified fossils, including the role of trace elements in the initiation of silica precipitation and in the prevention of organic degradation. The technique allows one to understand the localization of preserved organic matter before undertaking destructive chemical analyses and, because it is non-destructive, offers a potentially important tool for astrobiological investigations of samples returned from Mars or other solar system bodies.

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