6 July 1998 Electron microscope methods in the search for the earliest life forms on Earth (in 3.5-3.3 Ga cherts from the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa): applications for extraterrestrial life studies
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Abstract
A suite of previously unknown microfossils and related biogenic structures has been revealed in some of the oldest sediments on Earth using scanning electron microscopy. High resolution scanning electron microscopy of HF-etched, biolaminated charts has brought to light a variety of small fossil coccoid and rod-shaped bacteria and associated fossil biofilms containing bedding planes. These microfossils have ben completely replaced by minerals. This vastly improved early Archaean microfossil database sheds new light on the diversity of life on Earth relatively soon after the cessation of heavy bolide bombardment at about 3.8 Ga. This is the critical period when life may have been able to develop on Mars and these early Archaean terrestrial microfossils will serve as valuable analogues for possible extraterrestrial life.
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Frances Westall, Frances Westall, Dane Gerneke, Dane Gerneke, } "Electron microscope methods in the search for the earliest life forms on Earth (in 3.5-3.3 Ga cherts from the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa): applications for extraterrestrial life studies", Proc. SPIE 3441, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, (6 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.319833; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.319833
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