The study of hydrothermal travertines contributes to the understanding of the interaction between physico-chemical processes and microbial mats in carbonate precipitation. Three active travertine sites were investigated in Central Italy to characterise the types of carbonate precipitates and the associated microbial mats at varying physico-chemical parameters. Carbonate precipitated fabrics at the decimetre to millimetre-scale and microbial mat composition vary with decreasing water temperature: (a) at relatively higher temperature (55–44°C) calcite and aragonite crystals precipitate on microbial mats of Chloroflexi and sulphur-oxidizing microbes forming filamentous streamer fabrics with sparse cyanobacteria, (b) at intermediate temperature (44–40°C), rafts, coated gas bubbles and dendrites are associated with Spirulina cyanobacteria and other filamentous and rod-shaped cyanobacteria, (c) low temperature (34–33°C) laminated crusts and oncoids forming in a terraced slope system are associated with diverse Oscillatoriales and Nostocales filamentous cyanobacteria, Spirulina and diatoms. At the microscale, carbonate precipitates are similar in the three sites consisting of prismatic calcite crystals organised in radial rosettes or fibrous aragonite spherulites (40–300 µm in diameter), overlying or embedded in Extracellular Polymeric Substances. Clotted peloidal micrite dominates at temperatures <40°C, also encrusting filamentous microbes. Carbonates are associated with gypsum crystals; extracellular polymeric substances are enriched in silicon, aluminium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and sulphur; authigenic aluminium-silicates form aggregates on Extracellular Polymeric Substances. This study confirms that microbial communities in hydrothermal settings vary as a function of water temperature. Carbonate precipitates at the microscale are similar in the three settings, despite different microbial communities, suggesting that travertine precipitation, driven by carbon dioxide degassing, is influenced by biofilm extracellular polymeric substances acting as a substrate for crystal nucleation (Extracellular Polymeric Substances-mediated mineralization) and affecting the resultant fabric types, independently from specific microbial community composition and metabolism.

The influence of microbial mats on travertine precipitation in active hydrothermal systems (Central Italy) / G. Della Porta, M. Hoppert, C. Hallmann, D. Schneider, J. Reitner. - In: THE DEPOSITIONAL RECORD. - ISSN 2055-4877. - (2021). [Epub ahead of print]

The influence of microbial mats on travertine precipitation in active hydrothermal systems (Central Italy)

Della Porta G.;
2021

Abstract

The study of hydrothermal travertines contributes to the understanding of the interaction between physico-chemical processes and microbial mats in carbonate precipitation. Three active travertine sites were investigated in Central Italy to characterise the types of carbonate precipitates and the associated microbial mats at varying physico-chemical parameters. Carbonate precipitated fabrics at the decimetre to millimetre-scale and microbial mat composition vary with decreasing water temperature: (a) at relatively higher temperature (55–44°C) calcite and aragonite crystals precipitate on microbial mats of Chloroflexi and sulphur-oxidizing microbes forming filamentous streamer fabrics with sparse cyanobacteria, (b) at intermediate temperature (44–40°C), rafts, coated gas bubbles and dendrites are associated with Spirulina cyanobacteria and other filamentous and rod-shaped cyanobacteria, (c) low temperature (34–33°C) laminated crusts and oncoids forming in a terraced slope system are associated with diverse Oscillatoriales and Nostocales filamentous cyanobacteria, Spirulina and diatoms. At the microscale, carbonate precipitates are similar in the three sites consisting of prismatic calcite crystals organised in radial rosettes or fibrous aragonite spherulites (40–300 µm in diameter), overlying or embedded in Extracellular Polymeric Substances. Clotted peloidal micrite dominates at temperatures <40°C, also encrusting filamentous microbes. Carbonates are associated with gypsum crystals; extracellular polymeric substances are enriched in silicon, aluminium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and sulphur; authigenic aluminium-silicates form aggregates on Extracellular Polymeric Substances. This study confirms that microbial communities in hydrothermal settings vary as a function of water temperature. Carbonate precipitates at the microscale are similar in the three settings, despite different microbial communities, suggesting that travertine precipitation, driven by carbon dioxide degassing, is influenced by biofilm extracellular polymeric substances acting as a substrate for crystal nucleation (Extracellular Polymeric Substances-mediated mineralization) and affecting the resultant fabric types, independently from specific microbial community composition and metabolism.
Central Italy; EPS-mediated mineralization; extracellular polymeric substances (EPS); microbial mat; terrestrial thermal spring; travertine
Settore GEO/02 - Geologia Stratigrafica e Sedimentologica
mag-2021
THE DEPOSITIONAL RECORD
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/849831
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