Tracing the Early Emergence of Microbial Sulfur Metabolisms

Patrick R. Morrison & Stephen J. Mojzsis
Hydrogen sulfide (nH2S) and sulfur oxide (SOn; n = 1, 2, 3) gases in early Earth’s globally anoxic atmosphere were subjected to gas-phase chemical transformations by UV light. A principal photolysis pathway at that time produced elemental sulfur aerosols with mass-independently fractionated (MIF) isotopic values carrying variable minor isotope (33S, 36S) compositions. These rained into the sulfate-deficient Archean (ca. 3.85–2.5 Ga) oceans to react with [Fe2+]aq and form sedimentary sulfides. The MIF-bearing sulfides were incorporated...
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