Carbon‐rich microfossils preserved in the Proterozoic crater‐filling breccias of the Sudbury impact structure, Canada

1Yevgeniy P. Gurov,2Bevan M. French,1Vitaliy V. Permiakov
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.13601]
1Institute of Geological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, O. Gonchara Street 55b, Kiev, 01601 Ukraine
2Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, NHB, E‐305B, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, District of Columbia, 20013‐7012 USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Two forms of carbon‐rich microfossils were discovered in the breccias of the Onaping Formation, Sudbury impact structure. The first form is represented by single particles scattered in the matrix of the breccias and included in the vesicles in altered glass. These particles are leaf‐shaped, stem‐shaped, tubular, and spherical objects ranging from 5–10 μm to 200–300 µm in size. It is suggested that algal flora inhabiting the ocean basin before the Sudbury impact was the source of plant material in the Onaping Formation. The second form of carbon‐rich microparticles in the Onaping Formation is represented by plant detritus in carbon‐bearing fragments of mudstones included in the breccia matrix. The microparticles in the mudstones are mainly ribbon‐like shreds from 3–5 µm to 200–300 µm long, while rare particles have more complex shapes. The matrix of the mudstones is a fine‐grained clay‐like substance with a network of micron‐wide open‐joint fissures. Contents of carbon in the mudstone matrix are 12–15 wt%. Muddy bottom sediments of the pre‐impact sea are supposed as a source of mudstone fragments in the breccias. Fragments of mudstones and carbon‐rich microparticles are an important source of organic carbon in the breccias of the Onaping Formation. Discovery of microfossils in the breccias of the Onaping Formation suggests the presence of a previously unknown complex algal flora that inhabited the pre‐impact sea before the impact event 1.85 billion years ago at the very end of the Paleoproterozoic.

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