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New Data on Microfossils from Shungites

January 2, 2000



Shungites are pre-cambrian (2Gya) carbon-rich, silicate rocks known from deposits in the north-western part of lake Onega, near the city of Petrozavodsk in Karelia (North from St. Petersburg, Russia). Shungites are extremely rich in carbon, with carbon accounting for 98% in vein shungites. Shungites have been found to exhibit interesting optical, ultrasonic, thermal, mechanical, electrical properties and have recently been found to contain small amounts of C60 fullerene. Shungite rocks from Karelia have a characteristic globular structure and are chemically inert and metastable. As part of our ongoing search for biomarkers in ancient terrestrial rocks that are of potential significance to Astrobiology, we have conducted Environmental and Field Emission Scanning Electron Micrographs of freshly fractured interior surfaces of Shungites. We find them to contain indigenous miocrofossils, similar to cyanobacteria known from the phosphorites of Khubsugul, Mongolia. We describe this investigation and provide ESEM and FESEM images of biomorphic microstructures that we interpret as indigenous microfossils in Shungites.


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