Project ELEMIN - How the earliest life on Earth became mineralised


Project ELEMIN targets geochemical and petrographic investigations of Proterozoic and Archean stromatolites, i.e. lithified microbial mats, to (I) determine the genesis of mineral phases preserved within the stromatolites and (II) reconstruct physico-chemical environmental conditions prevailing in microbial habitats. The timing and conditions of individual mineral phases in stromatolites is under debate and, thus, their reliability as geochemical archives is highly uncertain. One controversy is centered on the question of whether different mineral phases record the elemental composition of the seawater in which the stromatolites grew, was mainly derived from continental weathering or from submarine hydrothermal sources.

This project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie action [grant no. 746033].

related Publications:

Viehmann S., Reitner J., Tepe N., Hohl, S.V., Van Kranendonk, M., Hofmann, T., Koeberl, C., Meister, P., 2020: Carbonates and cherts as archives of seawater chemistry and habitability on a carbonate platform 3.35 Ga ago: Insights from Sm/Nd dating and trace element analysis from the Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 344, 105742.

Viehmann S. et al. 2019: Metal cycling in Mesoproterozoic microbial habitats: Insights from trace elements and stable Cd isotopes in stromatolites. Gond. Res. 67, 101-114.

Kraemer D. et al. 2019: Regional variations in fluid formation and metal sources in MVT mineralization in the Pennine Orefield, UK: Implications from rare earth element and yttrium distribution, Sr-Nd isotopes and fluid inclusion compositions of hydrothermal vein fluorites. Ore Geol. Rev. 107, 960-972.

Viehmann S., 2018: Hf-Nd Isotopes in Archean Marine Chemical Sediments: Implications for the Geodynamical History of Early Earth and Its Impact on Earliest Marine Habitats. Geosciences 8 (7), 263, 1-15.

Viehmann S., et al., 2018: Decoupled Hf and Nd isotopes in suspended particles and in the dissolved load of Late Archean seawater. Chemical Geology 483, 111-118.