A Review on Microbialites: a Korean Perspective

미생물암에 대하여: 한국적 관점

  • Lee, Jeong-Hyun (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University)
  • 이정현 (고려대학교 지구환경과학과)
  • Received : 2015.07.25
  • Accepted : 2015.10.13
  • Published : 2015.12.30


Microbialites are defined as rocks formed by microbial organisms. After their first appearance around 3.5 billion years ago, microbialites occur in various depositional environments throughout geological periods. Microbial organisms form microbialites by trapping and binding detrital sediments and/or precipitating carbonate cements, resulting in formation of various microstructures and mesostructures. Four major types of microbialites are distinguished based on their mesostructures: stromatolite, thrombolite, dendrolite, and leiolite. In the geological records, occurrences of microbialites are influenced by calcium carbonate saturation of seawater and interaction of microbialites with metazoans. Stromatolites mainly flourished during the Precambrian, and diminished as level of atmospheric carbon dioxide declined. On the other hand, thrombolites, mainly formed by calcified microbes, began to flourish from the Neoproterozoic. As metazoans diversified in the Phanerozoic, proportion of the microbialites within sedimentary record declined. Since then, microbialites only occasionally flourished during the Phanerozoic, such as shortly after mass-extinction events. In the Korean Peninsula, microbialites occur in the Neoproterozoic Sangwon System, the Early Paleozoic Joseon Supergroup, and the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Supergroup, which form different shapes according to their age and depositional environments. By performing detailed studies on these Korean microbialites, it is possible to understand how microbes affected geological records and sedimentary environments, as well as their interaction with other organisms.


Supported by : 고려대학교


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