Letter | Published:

Largest known microbialites discovered in Lake Van, Turkey

Abstract

MICROBIALITES are organosedimentary deposits produced by benthic microbial communities interacting with detrital or chemical sediments1. Calcareous cyanobacterial microbialites defined as stromatolites and thrombolites were common in ancient shallow marine environments2. Today, they are restricted to a few lacustrine and perimarine settings. This restriction may result from changes in seawater chemistry through time3–6, particularly from alteration in supersaturation with respect to carbonate minerals7. The largest known calcareous microbialites (several metres high) were formed in the late Precambrian8. Here we report the discovery of enormous (40 m high) tower-like microbialites from alkaline (pH>9.7) Lake Van, eastern Anatolia. Growth is by mats of coccoid cyanobacteria (Pleurocapsa group) permineralizing in situ with aragonite and by inorganically precipitated calcite. Certain aspects of these microbialites resemble Proterozoic marine stromatolites9.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Burne, R. V. & Moore, L. S. Palaios 2, 241–254 (1987).

  2. 2

    Kennard, J. M. & James, N. P. Palaios 1, 492–503 (1986).

  3. 3

    Pentecost, A. & Riding, R. in Biomineralization in Lower Plants and Animals (eds Leadbeater, B. S. C. & Riding, R.) 73–90 (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986).

  4. 4

    Kempe, S. & Degens, E. T. Chem. Geol. 53, 95–108 (1985).

  5. 5

    Kempe, S., Kazmierczak, J. & Degens, E. T. in Origin, Evolution and Modern Aspects of Biomineralization in Plants and Animals (ed. Crick, R. E.) 29–43 (Plenum, New York, 1983).

  6. 6

    Kazmierczak, J., Ittekkot, V. & Degens, E. T. Paläont. Zschr. 59, 25–33 (1985).

  7. 7

    Kempe, S. & Kazmierczak, J. in Facets of Modern Biogeochemistry (eds Ittekkot, V., Kempe, S., Michaelis, W. & Spitzy, A.) 255–278 (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1990).

  8. 8

    Hofmann, H. J. Geol. Surv. Canada Pap. 69–39, 1–58 (1969).

  9. 9

    Komar, V. A., Raaben, M. E. & Semikhatov, M. A. Acad. Sci. USSR Geol. Inst. Trans. 131, 5–72 (1965).

  10. 10

    Gessner, F. Arch. Hydrobiol. 53, 1–22 (1957).

  11. 11

    Wong, H. K., Degens, E. T. & Finckh, P. in The Geology of Lake Van (eds Degens, E. T. & Kurtman, F.) Miner. Res. Explor. Inst. Turkey Publ. 169, 11–19 (Ankara University Press, Ankara, 1978).

  12. 12

    Degens, E. T., Wong, H. K., Kempe, S. & Kurtman, F. Geol. Rdsch. 73, 701–734 (1984).

  13. 13

    Kempe, S. Mitt. Geol.-Paläont. Inst. Univ. Hamburg 47, 125–228 (1977).

  14. 14

    Rippka, R., Waterbury, J. B. & Stanier, R. Y. in The Prokaryotes, I (eds Starr, M. P., Stolp, H., Trüper, H. G., Baldos, A. & Schlegel, H. G.) 247–256 (Springer, Berlin, 1981).

  15. 15

    Plummer, L. N., Jones, B. F. & Truesdell, A. H. US Geol. Surv. Water Res. Invest. Pap. 76–13 (1976, rev. 1978, 1984).

  16. 16

    Scholl, D. W. & Taft, W. H. J. sed. Petrol. 34, 309–319 (1964).

  17. 17

    Dill, R. F., Shinn, E. A., Jones, A. T., Kelly, K. & Steinen, R. P. Nature 324, 55–58 (1986).

  18. 18

    Hofmann, H. J. Geol. Surv. Canada Pap. 68–69, 1–77 (1969).

  19. 19

    Donaldson, J. A. in Stromatolites (ed. Walter, M. R.) 521–534 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1976).

  20. 20

    Cloud, P. E., Jr & Semikhatov, M. A. Am. J. Sci. 267, 1017–1061 (1969).

  21. 21

    Shinn, E. A. J. sed. Petrol. 42, 837–840 (1972).

  22. 22

    Maslov, V. P. Geol. Inst. Trans. 41, 3–188 (1960).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.