EPS Colloquium: Alexis Templeton

Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado

Mineral hydration and microbial activity within subsurface ultramafic rocks

Ultramafic ricks are highly unstable in the presence of fluidsk giving rise to mineral hydration and carbonation reactions that strongly shape rock preperties, the chemical evolution of waters, and the availability of chemical energy required to sustain microbial metabolism. Several new conceptual models exist for peridotite-hosted life on Earth and other rocky bodies in our solar system, such as Europa, Enceladus and Mars. However, there are many questions regarding how, when and where organisms can harness the energy derived from peridotite/water interactions, and what products of biological activity might be produced, in terms of new minerals, organic compounds and gases. In this talk, I will present multidisciplinary efforts designed to assess the key (bio)geochemical processes occdurring during modern water/rock interaction in the Samail ophiolite, Oman, and the strategies being used to determine controls on the distribution, composition and function of the subsurface peridotite-hosted biosphere.