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Geosciences, Volume 9, Issue 9 (September 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) The effect of microbial life on element cycling and authigenic mineral formation in the [...] Read more. The effect of microbial life on element cycling and authigenic mineral formation in the hard-to-access igneous crust remains enigmatic. Here, we evaluate the importance of host rock in clay formation associated with fossil fungal biofilms from the oceanic and continental subsurface. Our study suggests that similar types of smectites form within biofilms in oxic oceanic crust as well as in anoxic granites, emphasizing the importance of biology in clay formation. Life in the igneous crust may thus play a larger role in the redeposition and cycling of elements such as Fe, Si, Mg, and Al than previously believed. View this paper.