Biominerals: Microbial Life in Agates and other Minerals

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  • Author: Marco Campos-Venuti
  • Language: english
  • A4 format
  • 2041 grams
  • 528 pages, +1000 figures, 78 diagrams and 55 photo cards
  • Shipping with DHL

In this book we analyze those minerals that precipitate thanks to the interaction with bacterial colonies. These are extremophile bacteria characteristic of the deep biosphere that live in environments normally characterized by the abiotic precipitation of crystals. The result is real microbialites composed of minerals normally present in mineral collections, but with geometries that are difficult to explain by following the rules of classical mineralogy. Moss agates, manganese Dendrites, Moqui Stones, Pyrite Suns, Feather malachite, Turquoise, are just few examples of biominerals.

Availability: 476 in stock

The third book of the trilogy on agates was initially supposed to be dedicated to inclusions, but when I discovered that moss, plumes and flames in agates are actually microbialites, i.e. fossil remains, the result of precipitation by microbial biofilms, the development of the book took another path. I was forced to place the phenomenon in a broader context, that of bacterial biomineralization within rocks associated with the precipitation of numerous minerals.
Bacterial life in agates is favored by the gel phase which is a favorable substrate for the development of colonies. It is even possible that the first forms of life on earth developed precisely inside agates as we will discuss abundantly in the text. So agates are a new ecosystem for terrestrial life and perhaps the oldest of all.
The presence of extremophile bacteria in the deep biosphere within cryptoenvironments interacts strongly with the abiotic processes of crystallization and gives rise to characteristic mineral structures such as plumes, dendrites, landscape jaspers, nodular concretions and many others. Some minerals frequently show traces of the bacterial colonies that produced them, calcite, pyrite, iron and manganese oxides first, but also azurite, malachite, rhodochrosite, turquoise and many others. The analysis of biomineralized structures in rocks is a very current research topic due to its application to the search for the presence of life on Mars. We will cover this topic in depth.
Written in an easy and informative way, this book is a journey poised between mineralogy and biology, it is the link between the inanimate and animal worlds. A job that has changed the way of seeing geology and most of the low temperature surface mineralogical phenomena. In the future, earth science collections will have to set up a showcase halfway between those of minerals and those of fossils.
“… this monograph will soon become the fundamental basis from which to start for any genetic discussion involving the form and chemical composition of any secondary deposit potentially governed by microorganisms (whether it is a rock or a mineral).” Paolo Forti (former Professor of Geomorphology and Speleology at the University of Bologna, Italy)

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