Advances in Earth Science ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (6): 606-617. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2019.06.0606

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Biological Processes Responsible for Travertine Deposition: A Review and Future Prospect

Zhijun Wang( ),Jianjun Yin,Junbing Pu,Daoxian Yuan   

  1. Key Laboratory of Karst Dynamics, Ministry of Natural Resources / Guangxi, Institute of Karst Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Guilin 541004, China
  • Received:2019-02-27 Revised:2019-05-02 Online:2019-06-10 Published:2019-07-05
  • About author:Wang Zhijun(1986-), male, Xiangyun County, Yunnan Province, Assistant professor. Research areas include karst environment and Quaternary geology. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Foundation item: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Deposition and evolution of a typical travertine from Tibet and the controlling factors”(No. 41807426);The Guangxi Natural Science Foundation “Biological influence on travertine deposition: Petrographic and geochemical investigation”(No. 2018GXNSFAA138097)

Zhijun Wang,Jianjun Yin,Junbing Pu,Daoxian Yuan. Biological Processes Responsible for Travertine Deposition: A Review and Future Prospect[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2019, 34(6): 606-617.

The investigation of biological processes responsible for travertine deposition allows us to better understand the travertine petrographic and geochemical signatures as proxies of climatic and environmental change. This paper reviewed the organisms associated with travertines, the biotic micro-fabrics formed within travertines, the biological processes associated with travertine precipitation and their controls on travertine geochemical properties. Prospects of the future research on biological processes responsible for travertine precipitation were provided. Bacteria, algae and mosses are the most important organisms that involve in the precipitation of travertines. The growth of these organisms leads to the formation of a range of various porosity, crystal fabrics and lamination within travertines. Three main biological processes responsible for travertine deposition can be classified, including a process of aquatic plant growth generating a turbulent condition and consequent CO2 evasion, a metabolic (mainly photosynthetic) process mediating carbonate precipitation and a ‘surface-control’ process influencing nucleation and crystal growth. These processes play an important role in the migration and transformation of elements in travertine-depositing system and thus determine the properties of water chemistry and geochemistry of carbonate deposits. Travertine deposits have great potential to be valuable records for the geobiological study. Further investigation is required to simultaneously track biotic and abiotic interactions in modern travertine-depositing environments and quantify the contribution of these two processes and apply the results to accurately interpret travertine records.

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