Chert Inclusions

How does sedimentary chert entrap and preserve microfossils and mineral inclusions?

Chert (SiO2) is a major chemical sediment that is abundant in Precambrian sequences and studied for its exquisite preservation of microfossils, mineral inclusions, as well as potentially recording paleotemperatures in its Si and O isotopes. But how do these microbial fossils, minerals, and isotopes get altered during the transformation from silica gel to chert? In a collaboration with Lizzy Trower (CU-Boulder) and Shawn McGlynn (ELSI), we are sampling silica-rich hot springs in Japan to learn more how and when these geobiological signals get “locked” in.

1.88 Ga “Gunflint” microfossils preserved in chert