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Self-sedimented diatom mats as agents of exceptional fossil preservation in the Oligocene Florissant lake beds, Colorado, United States

Self-sedimented diatom mats as agents of exceptional fossil preservation in the Oligocene Florissant lake beds, Colorado, United States
Self-sedimented diatom mats as agents of exceptional fossil preservation in the Oligocene Florissant lake beds, Colorado, United States
Microbial mats play a major role in the formation of exceptionally preserved fossil deposits by overgrowing and binding organic remains and sedimentary particles. This minimizes hydrodynamic and biological disruption of dead organisms and sedimentary laminae, but published works all implicate prokaryotic cyanobacteria as the microbial agent. However, exceptionally well preserved macrofossils of the Oligocene Florissant lake beds (Colorado, United States) are enveloped in matted aggregations of mucous-secreting, pennate diatom frustules. It is suggested that the macrobiota became entrapped in mucous-secreting mats of surface water blooms of planktonic diatoms in lake Florissant. As the mats and the incorporated macrobiota were sedimented out of the water column, the mucosic mats and their associated bacterial communities arrested decay and promoted preservation of refractory tissues. Thus, by a completely different mechanism, the diatom mats fulfilled the same preservational role previously suggested for cyanobacterial mats. This hitherto unrecognized mode of preservation may be an important causative factor in the formation of exceptionally preserved lacustrine fossil biotas.
DIATOMS, FOSSILS, SEDIMENTS, FLORISSANT, COLORADO, ALGAL MATS, ALGAL BLOOMS
0091-7613
195-198
Harding, I.C.
5d63b829-a9a7-447f-aa3f-62e8d0e715cb
Chant, L.S.
9655686e-e48d-49f8-9349-73691238d599
Harding, I.C.
5d63b829-a9a7-447f-aa3f-62e8d0e715cb
Chant, L.S.
9655686e-e48d-49f8-9349-73691238d599

Harding, I.C. and Chant, L.S. (2000) Self-sedimented diatom mats as agents of exceptional fossil preservation in the Oligocene Florissant lake beds, Colorado, United States. Geology, 28 (3), 195-198. (doi:10.1130/0091-7613(2000)28<195:SDMAAO>2.0.CO;2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Microbial mats play a major role in the formation of exceptionally preserved fossil deposits by overgrowing and binding organic remains and sedimentary particles. This minimizes hydrodynamic and biological disruption of dead organisms and sedimentary laminae, but published works all implicate prokaryotic cyanobacteria as the microbial agent. However, exceptionally well preserved macrofossils of the Oligocene Florissant lake beds (Colorado, United States) are enveloped in matted aggregations of mucous-secreting, pennate diatom frustules. It is suggested that the macrobiota became entrapped in mucous-secreting mats of surface water blooms of planktonic diatoms in lake Florissant. As the mats and the incorporated macrobiota were sedimented out of the water column, the mucosic mats and their associated bacterial communities arrested decay and promoted preservation of refractory tissues. Thus, by a completely different mechanism, the diatom mats fulfilled the same preservational role previously suggested for cyanobacterial mats. This hitherto unrecognized mode of preservation may be an important causative factor in the formation of exceptionally preserved lacustrine fossil biotas.

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More information

Published date: 2000
Keywords: DIATOMS, FOSSILS, SEDIMENTS, FLORISSANT, COLORADO, ALGAL MATS, ALGAL BLOOMS

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 8882
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/8882
ISSN: 0091-7613
PURE UUID: 9ba75aed-8faf-4073-82b0-9d1109d0648e
ORCID for I.C. Harding: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4281-0581

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Sep 2004
Last modified: 17 Jan 2019 01:38

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