Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM
THE PLANETARY BIOMANTLE: IS IT THE TOPOGRAPHIC SIGNATURE OF LIFE? IF SO, HOW DOES IT FORM?
Understanding the broad outlines of extremely complex surface and near-surface processes that have operated ubiquitously and non-stop from pre-Cambrian through Anthropocene times is a useful and desirable goal. To this end, we integrate modern bioturbation ideas, which are extensions of Darwin’s soil process formulations, with the ‘conveyor belt-sediment biotransfers’ notion advanced by marine geologists and neoichnologists. The result is a unified process framework that captures, embeds, showcases, and makes understandably simple the ways in which complex biomantles form. The ‘biodynamic conveyor belt model’ is based on everyday signatures of life that are obvious to us all, yet remain cryptic if not invisible in our explanatory models on how earth processes work. We present multiple world examples of such ubiquitous, obvious, and everyday life signatures. We also briefly compare and contrast the relative strengths and merits of the biodynamic conveyor belt process approach with others as explanatory tools. We optimistically suggest that questions raised by the biodynamic conveyor belt approach will open new and different arenas for research, funding, and graduate training.