iron formation

Fossil blue-green algae.

Another image from the Nikon small world photomicrography competition, winning 5th place in 1993, depicts a fossilised section of the type of organism that gave the world free oxygen three billion years ago or more. Without these life-forms, who incidentally are not algae but cyanobacteria, none of life as we know it would exist. The oxygen from these first photosynthesisers first filled the oceans, resulting in the banded iron formations from where we mine that metal, and then the atmosphere, paving the way for the rise of oxygen using marine and terrestrial life. In the process, they incidentally poisoned off most of the existing ecosystem, since it couldn’t tolerate free oxygen. They survive as what we now call extremophiles.

The magnification is 10 times, and the lighting used that known as brightfield, which is direct illumination from below the sample.


Image credit: Norm Barker


Eyyy, so I made another YGO AMV!

There’s not really much of a theme to this one. It’s just showing off how badass the duels were in the Battle City Tournament. There’s not enough action AMVs for this series so I decided to add another one to the pile.

Forgive the lack of smooth transitions. This was made in an IC (Iron Chief) format which basically means that I gave myself a time limit. I basically had to edit this AMV in only three hours and this is what I managed.

I credit my girlfriend ( @ariasune) for the song idea. This is also dedicated to her because she is awesome.

Also, I’ve edited THREE AMVs this year with YGO and Fall Out Boy. I need a FOB break.

Song: Immortals - Fall Out Boy

Banded Iron

This giant slab of sedimentary rock from Ontario, Canada, records a time from the Earth’s distant past when evolving life profoundly influenced the planet’s evolution. It offers evidence that even some of the world’s largest landmasses were at one time covered by water. This nearly 3-billion-year-old banded iron formation shows that the atmosphere and ocean once had no oxygen. The oxygen that is now in the Earth’s atmosphere was not there at the beginning. Early life began to generate oxygen by converting the Sun’s energy into food. Photosynthetic organisms were making oxygen, but that oxygen reacted with the iron dissolved in seawater to form iron oxide minerals on the ocean floor, creating banded iron formations. 

This boulder, with its layers of red jasper and iron magnetite, was formed billions of years ago as part of that process. Its presence in the Hall of Planet Earth is a reminder that life made our atmosphere breathable. The dark layers in the rock are mainly composed of magnetite (Fe30), while the red layers are chalcedony, a form of silica (SiO) that is colored red by tiny iron oxide particles. Some geologists suggest that the layers formed annually with the changing seasons. 

See more from the Museum’s Hall of Planet Earth.