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Abstract

Graphite, interpreted as altered bioorganic matter in an early Archean, ca. 3.83-Ga-old quartz-amphibole-pyroxene gneiss on Akilia Island, Greenland, has previously been claimed to be the earliest trace of life on Earth. Our petrographic and Raman spectroscopy data from this gneiss reveal the occurrence of graphitic material with the structure of nano-crystalline to crystalline graphite in trails and clusters of CO2, CH4 and H2O bearing fluid inclusions. Irregular particles of graphitic material without a fluid phase, representing decrepitated fluid inclusions are common in such trails too, but occur also as dispersed individual or clustered particles. The occurrence of graphitic material associated with carbonic fluid inclusions is consistent with an abiologic, fluid deposited origin during a poly-metamorphic history. The evidence for fluid-deposited graphitic material greatly complicates any claim about remnants of early life in the Akilia rock.