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Cryogenic opal-A

Cryogenic opal-A

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Mark Fox-Powell

Cryogenic opal-A
In an experiment, Mark Fox-Powell froze hydrothermal fluids and looked under a scanning electron microscope at the deposits that resulted. This net-like material is cryogenic opal-A -- silica-rich material that formed in the pore spaces between freezing grains of ice.
Cryogenic opal-A and microbial preservation

© Mark Fox-Powell

Cryogenic opal-A and microbial preservation
Detailed electron microscope views from Mark Fox-Powell's experiments. Upper left: a close-up on the net-like morphology of the cryogenic opal-A. Upper center: a typical broken piece of opal-A net. The rest of the pictures show examples of microfossils, the results of microbes being entombed in the opal-A as it forms. Some microbes are preserved, others appear only as voids.

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Original image data dated on or about March 18, 2018

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