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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Research, Section A: Sedimentary Petrology and Processes
Vol. 68 (1998), No. 5. (September), Pages 723-726

Plant-Induced Previous HitWeatheringNext Hit of Hawaiian Basalts

Robert A. Berner, M. Ford Cochran (*)


The rise of rooted upland vascular plants during the Devonian probably had a major effect on the rate of Previous HitweatheringNext Hit of silicate rocks and consequently on levels of atmospheric CO2 at that time. In order to better understand the role of plants in rock Previous HitweatheringNext Hit, an electron microscope/microprobe study of the root/rock interface has been done on several young (100-3000 year old) Hawaiian basalts. We observe the development of porosity due to dissolution of minerals by solutions secreted by symbiotic microbiota associated with plant roots. In nearby plant-free parts of the same basalt flows, similar porosity development is essentially absent. Also, in nearby areas covered by lichens the extent of rock dissolution is much less. In these early stages of Previous HitweatheringNext Hit, dissolution is complete and voids are not infilled by fine-grained Previous HitweatheringNext Hit products. Quantitative measurement of porosity around roots developed on flows of known age enables the calculation of a rate of basalt Previous HitweatheringNext Hit that is in order-of-magnitude agreement with results based on the study of global volcanic Previous HitweatheringTop based on the chemistry of river water.

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