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Sugawara H.,Gunma Museum of Natural History | Sakakibara M.,Ehime University | Ikehara M.,Kochi University
Planetary and Space Science | Year: 2014

Microbial trace fossils on terrestrial basalts can be used as an analogue in the search for traces of life on other terrestrial planets. This study reports on microbial trace fossils within Permian greenstones in the Maizuru Terrane, southwest Japan, which is recognized as back-arc basin oceanic crust that consists mainly of metabasalt and metagabbro. The trace fossils have been studied by means of morphology, mineralogy, elemental mapping, and carbon isotope analysis. Although minute original textures of trace fossils are recrystallized in these rocks, Granulohyalichnus vulgaris isp., Tubulohyalichnus spiralis isp., and Tubulohyalichnus annularis isp. were identified. Significant concentration of C within the trace fossils implies these are organic remnants from microbes. The δ13CPDB values <-7‰ of calcite within the greenstones indicates that the bacterial activity took place prior to the formation of calcite veins. The results support that microbial trace fossils within low-grade metamorphic basalt can be reliably identified based on their morphology and chemical composition, as reveled by elemental mapping. In this context, glassy Martian basalt may be the best rock type to investigate in terms of searching for signs of microbial activity on Earth and other planets. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Tanaka G.,Gunma Museum of Natural History | Naruse H.,Kyoto University | Yamashita S.,Chiba University | Arai K.,Chiba University
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2012

In Rikuzentakata City, Ostracode assemblages in sediment deposited by the Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011 revealed that the sediment was derived from the seafloor from at least 9 m water depth, and was transported inland more than 1 km. The tsunami wave height at this location was higher than 10 m. Four hundred fifty seven modern ostracode assemblages were used in the modern analogue technique to estimate the depth source of the tsunami deposited assemblages. The application of this method to paleo-tsunami deposits may provide insight into past tsunami wave height and potentially earthquake slip and magnitude. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

Naruse H.,Kyoto University | Arai K.,Chiba University | Matsumoto D.,Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology | Takahashi H.,Chiba University | And 3 more authors.
Sedimentary Geology | Year: 2012

The March 11, 2011 Tohoku-Oki tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the east coast of northeastern Honshu Island (Tohoku region), Japan, deposited large amounts of sediment on land, including the Sendai Plain and Sanriku Coast. This study reports on the characteristics of the tsunami deposits in Rikuzentakata City, southeastern Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan. A field survey identified the inundation pattern of the tsunami in this region and the facies model of the tsunami deposits at the bay-head deltas of estuarine systems. The tsunami deposits in Rikuzentakata City generally consist of one to four units that represent a discrete runup or backwash flow. Each unit is characterized by initial inverse grading and successive normal grading that correspond to the accelerating and decelerating stages of the flow, respectively. An internal erosional surface often developed between the inverse-graded and normal-graded units. It corresponds to the maximum shear velocity of the flow and truncates the underlying inverse-graded unit. In the case of the runup unit, silty fine-grained drapes overlay the graded sandy interval. A correlation of the sedimentary structures and grain fabric analysis revealed that the Tohoku-Oki tsunami inundated Rikuzentakata City at least twice and that the flow velocity exceeded 2.4. m/s. Paleontological analysis of the sediment and kriging estimation of the total volume of the tsunami deposit implied that the sediments were sourced not only from eroded beach sands but also from the seafloor of Hirota Bay or more offshore regions. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Tanaka G.,Gunma Museum of Natural History
Fossils | Year: 2012

The Light-Switch Hypothesis' proposed by Parker (2003) is reviewed on the basis of recent relevant literature in order to test the hypothesis. This review revealed the following: 1) Diversification of bilaterian animals occurred during the Late Ediacaran Period, based on paleontological and molecular clock evidences. 2) Developmental genetic studies of eyes suggest that the eyes of bilaterian animals were formed from those of the Urbilateria, which hypothetically had both rhabdom and cilium photoreceptors during the Ediacaran period. During evolution, vertebrates utilized cilium photoreceptors, while invertebrates selected rhabdom photoreceptors for the development of eyes. On the basis of the detailed research of the ommatidium surface of the low-light adapted compound eye of the fruit fly, the phenotype of corneal nipple protuberances has changed in a extremely short time period from the view point of the geologic time scale. 3) The oldest fossilized eyes discovered are those of trilobite and bradoriid arthropods from 521 Ma. Increases in body size, and the corresponding increase of energy required, during 630 Ma - 521 Ma may have been triggered by the evolution of the eye.'.

Maeda H.,Kyoto University | Tanaka G.,Gunma Museum of Natural History | Shimobayashi N.,Kyoto University | Ohno T.,Kyoto University | Matsuoka H.,Kyoto University
Palaios | Year: 2011

The Furongian Orsten-type fossil Lagerstätte in the Alum Shale Formation of Sweden is an extraordinary deposit known for its detailed, three-dimensional preservation of the soft parts of small animal carcasses which have been replaced by calcium phosphate and occur in organic-rich nodular limestone. The exact cause and mechanism of this unusual fossil preservation, however, particularly the source of phosphorus, which plays a key role, remains unknown. Detailed observation in the Agnostus pisiformis Zone in the Backeborg section (Kinnekulle district) reveals that the phosphatocopine crustaceans showing soft-part preservation occur only in a few thin (<3 cm) layers containing abundant fecal pellets (pellet beds). Development of cross lamination suggests that the pellet beds were formed by low density sediment-gravity flow. Orsten-type preservation has been attributed to high phosphate levels in global marine waters during the Cambrian period; however, wavelength-dispersive X-ray and X-ray diffractometry analyses reveal that the Orsten limestones and surrounding shale were generally poor in phosphorus, which was mostly concentrated in the fecal pellets. The small animal carcasses preserved in such deposits were phosphatized during early diagenesis owing to the high local phosphorus levels of the accumulated fecal pellets. Searches for such cesspool-type preservation may yield further discoveries of Orsten-type fossil Lagerstätten in other strata of various ages. Copyright © 2011, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

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