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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Apr 15;100(8):4399-404. Epub 2003 Apr 7.

A complex microbiota from snowball Earth times: microfossils from the Neoproterozoic Kingston Peak Formation, Death Valley, USA.

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  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. fcorsett@usc.edu

Abstract

A thin carbonate unit associated with a Sturtian-age ( approximately 750-700 million years ago) glaciogenic diamictite of the Neoproterozoic Kingston Peak Formation, eastern California, contains microfossil evidence of a once-thriving prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial community (preserved in chert and carbonate). Stratiform stromatolites, oncoids, and rare columnar stromatolites also occur. The microbial fossils, which include putative autotrophic and heterotrophic eukaryotes, are similar to those found in chert in the underlying preglacial units. They indicate that microbial life adapted to shallow-water carbonate environments did not suffer the significant extinction postulated for this phase of low-latitude glaciation and that trophic complexity survived through snowball Earth times.

PMID:
12682298
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC153566
Free PMC Article

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