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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 13, 5511-5526, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-5511-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Oct 2016
Linking the distribution of microbial deposits from the Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA) to tectonic and climatic processes
Anthony Bouton1, Emmanuelle Vennin1, Julien Boulle1, Aurélie Pace2, Raphaël Bourillot2, Christophe Thomazo1, Arnaud Brayard1, Guy Désaubliaux3, Tomasz Goslar4,5, Yusuke Yokoyama6, Christophe Dupraz7, and Pieter T. Visscher8 1Laboratoire Biogéosciences UMR 6282 UBFC/CNRS, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France
2Géoressources et Environnement, Ensegid, Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux, EA 4592, Université de Bordeaux, 1 allée Daguin, 33607 Pessac, France
3GDF Suez, Exploration Production International, 1 place Samuel de Champlain, Faubourg de l'Arche, 92930 Paris La Défense CEDEX, France
4Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Physics, Poznań, Poland
5Poznań Radiocarbon Laboratory, Foundation of the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
6Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Chiba, 277-8564, Japan
7Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Svante Arrhenius väg 8, 06269 Stockholm, Sweden
8Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, 1080 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340, USA
Abstract. The Great Salt Lake is a modern hypersaline lake, in which an extended modern and ancient microbial sedimentary system has developed. Detailed mapping based on aerial images and field observations can be used to identify non-random distribution patterns of microbial deposits, such as paleoshorelines associated with extensive polygons or fault-parallel alignments. Although it has been inferred that climatic changes controlling the lake level fluctuations explain the distribution of paleoshorelines and polygons, straight microbial deposit alignments may underline a normal fault system parallel to the Wasatch Front. This study is based on observations over a decimetre to kilometre spatial range, resulting in an integrated conceptual model for the controls on the distribution of the microbial deposits. The morphology, size and distribution of these deposits result mainly from environmental changes (i.e. seasonal to long-term water level fluctuations, particular geomorphological heritage, fault-induced processes, groundwater seepage) and have the potential to bring further insights into the reconstruction of paleoenvironments and paleoclimatic changes through time. New radiocarbon ages obtained on each microbial macrofabric described in this study improve the chronological framework and question the lake level variations that are commonly assumed.

Citation: Bouton, A., Vennin, E., Boulle, J., Pace, A., Bourillot, R., Thomazo, C., Brayard, A., Désaubliaux, G., Goslar, T., Yokoyama, Y., Dupraz, C., and Visscher, P. T.: Linking the distribution of microbial deposits from the Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA) to tectonic and climatic processes, Biogeosciences, 13, 5511-5526, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-5511-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
The modern hypersaline Great Salt Lake shows an extended modern and ancient microbial sedimentary system. This study on aerial images and field observations discusses the non-random distribution patterns of microbial deposits along linear alignments following isobaths, polygonal geometry or straight alignments along a topographic drop-off. This particular distribution of microbial deposits brings further insights to the reconstruction of paleoenvironments and paleoclimatic changes.
The modern hypersaline Great Salt Lake shows an extended modern and ancient microbial...
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