We provide a comprehensive photographic atlas of the intricate alteration features found in glass in igneous rocks from the ocean basins. The samples come from surface and subsurface rocks from oceanic rises and seamounts of the ocean basins and some marginal seas. These textures have previously been termed “bioalteration textures” by those who consider them as potentially biogenic in origin, or as “etch pits” by those who prefer a non-biogenic interpretation. Here, transmitted-light color photomicrographs are provided to illustrate the range of granular and tubular textures as well as their relation to fractures, minerals, vesicles, and multiple episodes of alteration in the same sample. The tubular forms are described using seven morphological characteristics: (1) length and width; (2) density; (3) curvature; (4) roughness; (5) variations in width; (6) branching; and (7) tunnel contents. The photomicrographs are a starting point for understanding the factors that control the formation of the alteration textures, for evaluating the biogenicity of the various forms, for inferring subsurface conditions during alteration, and for making comparisons to similar textures in ancient ophiolites, some of which have been attributed to the earliest life on Earth.
- Received 26 May 2012.
- Revision received 17 November 2012.
- Accepted 20 November 2012.
- © Geological Society of America