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Biogeochemical signals from deep microbial life in terrestrial crust

Suzuki, Yohei*; Konno, Yuta*; Fukuda, Akari*; Komatsu, Daisuke*; Hirota, Akinari*; Watanabe, Katsuaki*; Togo, Yoko*; Morikawa, Noritoshi*; Hagiwara, Hiroki; Aosai, Daisuke*; Iwatsuki, Teruki; Tsunogai, Urumu*; Nagao, Seiya*; Ito, Kazumasa*; Mizuno, Takashi

We present multi-isotopic evidence of microbially mediated sulfate reduction in a granitic aquifer, a representative of the terrestrial crust habitat. Deep groundwater of meteoric origin was collected from underground boreholes drilled into the Cretaceous Toki granite, central Japan. A large sulfur isotopic fractionation of 20-60 permil diagnostic to microbial sulfate reduction is associated with the investigated groundwater containing sulfate below 0.2 mM. In contrast, a small carbon isotopic fractionation ($$<$$ 30 permil) is not indicative of methanogenesis. Our results demonstrate that the deep biosphere in the terrestrial crust is metabolically active and playing a crucial role in the formation of reducing groundwater even under low energy fluxes.

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Category:Multidisciplinary Sciences

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