Microbial biosignature preservation in carbonated serpentine from the Samail Ophiolite, Oman

Jon Lima-Zaloumis, Anna Neubeck, Magnus Ivarsson, Maitrayee Bose, Rebecca Greenberger, Alexis S. Templeton, Andrew D. Czaja, Peter B. Kelemen, Tomas Edvinsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Serpentinization is a geological process involving the interaction of water and ultramafic rock, the chemical byproducts of which can serve as an energy source for microbial communities. Although serpentinite systems are known to host active microbial life, it is unclear to what extent fossil evidence of these communities may be preserved over time. Here we report the detection of biosignatures preserved in a mineralized fracture within drill cores from the Samail Ophiolite in Oman. Two varieties of filamentous structures were identified in association with iron oxide precipitates. The first type are interpreted as likely microbial remains, while the second type are recognized as potentially microbiological dubiofossils. Additionally, laminated structures composed of carbon and nitrogen rich material were identified and interpreted as having a microbially-associated origin. Our observations affirm the potential to detect subsurface microbial communities within serpentinizing environments and highlight a unique taphonomic window to preserve evidence of rock-hosted life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number231
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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