Field of Science

Tiny Plants Creating Big Rocks

Often enough the rocks determinate the presence and distribution of plants (as shown in the wonderful blog "In the Company of Plants and Rocks"), but sometimes it's the plant shaping the rocks. 

Plate showing the deposition of travertine* around single algae cells (ca. 1935). The high content of carbonic acid (white circles) dissolves carbonate (shown as schematic rhombohedra-crystals). Plants (like this alga) use the carbon dioxide for their metabolism and the water becomes less acid, the carbonate is deposited around the plant tissue. The final figure shows the soft water, with less dissolved carbonate.

The upper caption reads: 
"Tiny Plants
built the Travertine of Polling**
Substance in the water, they found
Sun gave them power"

This plate was drawn by the German Prof. Dr. Gustav Dunzinger (1868-1940), pharmacist and plant-physiologist. Dunzinger dedicated himself also to scientific-botanical illustrations.

Fig.2. Outcrop with travertine investigated by Dunzinger, old quarry near the German village of **Polling.

*Travertine is the general term in Germany for continental limestone, however in English it is referred to limestone from hot springs or deposited by inorganic processes. Calcareous tufa forms by precipitation of calcium carbonate from “cool” springs and river waters, helped by organic processes - the travertine of Polling is therefore a tufa.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS