Confined subsurface microbial communities in Cretaceous rock View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

1997-03

AUTHORS

Lee R. Krumholz, James P. McKinley, Glenn A. Ulrich, Joseph M. Suflita

ABSTRACT

Deep subsurface microbial communities1 are believed to be supported by organic matter that was either deposited with the formation sediments or which migrated from the surface along groundwater flowpaths. Investigation has therefore focused on the existence of microorganisms in recently deposited or highly permeable sediments2,3. Fewer reports have focused on consolidated rocks4–7. These findings have often been limited by inadequate tracer methodology or non-sterile sampling techniques. Here we present evidence for the presence of spatially discrete microbial communities in Cretaceous rocks and advance a mechanism for the long-term survival of these subterranean communities. Samples were collected using aseptic methods and sensitive tracers8. Our results indicate that the main energy source for these communities is organic material trapped within shales. Microbial activity in shales appears to be greatly reduced, presumably because of their restrictive pore size9. However, organic material or its fermentation products could diffuse into adjacent, more permeable sandstones, where microbial activity was much more abundant. This process resulted in the presence of microbial communities at sandstone–shale interfaces. These microorganisms presumably ferment organic matter and carry out sulphate reduction and acetogenesis. More... »

PAGES

64

Journal

TITLE

Nature

ISSUE

6620

VOLUME

386

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  • Identifiers

    URI

    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/386064a0

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/386064a0

    DIMENSIONS

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