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Successive modes of carbonate precipitation in microbialites along the hydrothermal spring of La Salsa in Laguna Pastos Grandes (Bolivian Altiplano).

Abstract : Interpreting the paleoecosystems of ancient microbialites relies on our understanding of how modern microbialites form in relation with the bio-physico-chemical conditions of their environment. In this study, we investigated the formation of modern carbonate microbialites in the hydrothermal system of La Salsa in Laguna Pastos Grandes (Bolivia), which spans a wide range of physicochemical conditions and associated microbial communities. By combining dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) isotope mass balance modeling, analysis of carbonates solubility diagram, and imaging of the microorganisms–mineral assemblages within microbial mats, we found that several modes of carbonate precipitation dominate in distinct portions of the hydrothermal system. (1) In high-[DIC] waters, undersaturated to slightly saturated with respect to calcite, cyanobacterial calcification is promoted by CO2 degassing and photosynthetic activity within the microbial mats. (2) In alkaline waters undergoing sustained evaporation, the precipitation of an amorphous calcium carbonate phase seems to control the water a(Ca2+)/a(CO32−) ratio and to serve as a precursor to micritic calcite formation in microbial mats. (3) In saline ephemeral ponds, where the carbonate precipitation is the highest, calcite precipitation probably occurs through a different pathway, leading to a different calcite texture, i.e., aggregates of rhombohedral crystals.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 28, 2022 - 2:23:07 PM
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Elodie Muller, Magali Ader, Giovanni Aloisi, Cédric Bougeault, Christophe Durlet, et al.. Successive modes of carbonate precipitation in microbialites along the hydrothermal spring of La Salsa in Laguna Pastos Grandes (Bolivian Altiplano).. Geosciences, MDPI, 2022, 12 (2), pp.88. ⟨10.3390/geosciences12020088⟩. ⟨hal-03619721⟩

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