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Hydrothermal Vent Bacterial Community in Ordovician Ophicalcite, Southern Quebec Appalachians
Modern and ancient hydrothermal vents on ophiolite substrates commonly
are typified by high-temperature H2S-rich fluids, sulfide mineralization,
and a diverse chemosynthetic fauna. Carbonatized ophiolite successions,
however, are significantly different in their vent setting, as indicated
by this Ordovician occurrence and a previously described Cretaceous example.
The Ordovician ophicalcite is devoid of mineralization and of macro-biological
activity. The lack of corrosion of carbonates in the Ordovician ophicalcite
suggests minimal rates of H2S venting, and pseudomorphs of sulfates,
now calcite, are found in the sediment surrounding the vents. These observations
suggest that the venting system of this Ordovician case was somewhat similar
to H2S-poor w ite smokers. In the absence of hydrocarbon or
sulfide emanations, thermophilic bacterial sulfate reduction likely was
active around these Ordovician vents.
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