Evidence for Life in the Mid-Proterozoic Torridonian rocks of NW Scotland
Supervisors: Dr. Stephen Bowden, Prof. John Parnell.
Dept. of Geology & Petroleum Geology,
University of Aberdeen
The Torridonian rocks of NW Scotland are a superbly exposed and preserved mid-Proterozoic sequence (1.2-1.0 Ga ). They offer an excellent opportunity to reconstruct conditions at a time when the biosphere and atmosphere were very different to today. The PhD project would involve a mix of fieldwork and laboratory studies, aimed at this reconstruction, and in particular evaluating evidence for life in the rocks.
The project would be for 3 years, and would include:
*assessment of whether laminar structures represent stromatolites
*assessment of other morphological evidence for microbial activity.
*extraction of organic biomarkers
*use of sulphur isotopes to assess role of microbes in sulphide precipitation.
*use of carbon isotopes to constrain contribution of organic matter to sediments
*controls on preservation of microfossils.
The student would be trained in appropriate microscopic and geochemical techniques.