Primitive organic matter and Paleoenvironment

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Abder El Albani
Claude Geffroy

Organic molecules and clays are the major constituents of some paleo-environments. The recent study of these paleo-environments has been particularly interesting to characterize the Earth history. In particular, the oxygenation of the atmosphere has been marked by remarkable phenomenon, including the formation of stocks of different metals (uranium, iron and manganese) and the emergence of complex living organisms.

The Institute gathers the necessary competences to characterize organic molecules and clays which ones could have been formed during ancient times (Proterozoic, Archean). The Institute also defines the mechanisms of interactions between organic matters and clays. Clays and organic matters are the most reactive constituents in the present environments and past environments. The fastest exchanges of chemical elements occur through them in the soils and sediments.

One can hope and expect that the knowledge of these interactions will facilitate the reconstitution of transfer channels in ancient environments. Indeed, the mark of these channels might still be trapped within the geological formations.

morphologie macrofossile multicellulaire © CNRS Photothèque    Abderrazak EL ALBANI, Arnaud MAZURIER_GF

Photo: © CNRS Photo Phototheque / Abderrazak ALBANI EL, Arnaud MAZURIER

The virtual reconstitution of the external and internal morphology of a fossil specimen from the Gabonese site.

This macro-fossil of complex and organized multicellular structure has been found in a fossil site of Gabon, within 2.1 billion years old sediments. It has been discovered within fossil remains of an impressive variety of complex colonial organisms, the oldest ones found so far, of diverse forms and dimensions, reaching sometimes 10 to 12 centimeters, with a density of more than 40 specimens per square meter.

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