Biomineralization of Weathered Rock Rinds: Examples from the Lower Afroalpine Zone on Mount Kenya

William C. Mahaney, David H. Krinsley, Christopher C R Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Rock rinds have been used for half a century to date glacial deposits and recently inroads have been developed to use nuclides to provide absolute ages of weathering rinds in pebble clasts. Although maximum and minimum rind thicknesses have helped to elucidate time since deposition and allowed stratigraphic division of deposits at glacial rank, little has been done to investigate the wealth of mineral degradation, growth of alteration products and biomineralization that occur in these weathered crusts. In some cases the mass of microbe-mineral intergrowth is nearly present on a 50%/50% basis, with the biotic mass intergrown with mineral matter to such an extent that it probably controls pH and redox phenomena that act as accelerators in the weathering process. Assuming weathering time spans of 2 × 106 years or more for a complete cycle, eventual clast decomposition is the end product. Here we present evidence of microbe-clast intergrowth from selected sites of Pleistocene age (~70 ka to 2.0 Ma) in the lower Afroalpine of Mt. Kenya and hypothesize about its role in rock decomposition and fossilization of biotic end-members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • clast encrustations
  • diagenesis
  • paleoclimate
  • weathering rinds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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