Archean Environment: the habitat of early life

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Archaean Environment: the habitat of early life


Workshop in Mekrijärvi, Finland

24-30 August 2009


For some photos of the workshop click here




  • Sunday 23 August. Arrival to Mekrijärvi

  • Monday. Short course Part I:  geological history of the early Earth

Arndt, Nicholas: Welcome


Arndt, Nicholas: Archean volcanism - implications for
mantle dynamics and surface conditions

Buick, Roger:  Evidence of early life from drilling in the Pilbara PDF


van Hunen, Jeroen: Geodynamics of the Archean PDF


Konhauser, Kurt: Banded iron formations and the evolution of life PDF1, PDF2, PDF3


McKenzie, Judy & Vasconcelos, Chris: Modern and ancient  stromatolites


Mojzsis, Steve: Formation and evolution of the earliest continents PDF


Sorjonen-Ward, Peter & Hölttä, Pentti: Archean geology of the Karelian province, Fennoscandian shield 


          Discussion, posters, microscopy



·         Tuesday. Field trip to the nearby Ilomantsi greenstone belt


- Ultramafic, mafic and felsic volcanic rocks, c. 2.75 Ga in age


- Banded iron formations, metasediments, gold mineralization, etc.

Those people who have access to the journals of the Geological Survey of Finland can find information on the Ilomantsi greenstone belt in Geological Survey of Finland, Special Paper 17, 1993: Geological development, gold mineralization and exploration methods in the late Archean Hattu schist belt, Ilomantsi, eastern Finland, eds Pekka A. Nurmi and Peter Sorjonen-Ward. Information on the excursion stops will be given later.



·         Wednesday. Short course Part II:  methods used to study Archean rocks


Bau, Michael: Geochemistry methods in studies of Archean chemical sediments


Farquhar, James: Sulfur isotopes


Hofmann, Axel: Field methods PDF


Karhu, Juha: Carbon cycle and stable isotopes


Pujol, Magali: Noble gases and the atmosphere of the Earth


Rosing, Minik: Thermodynamics, chemical modelling: Introduction to geochemical atmosphere


Westall, Frances: Fossil evidence of early life and comparative planetology


Discussion, posters, microscopy


  •   Thursday. Symposium on the Earth’s early geological history and evolution of life




Alexander, Brian: Iron sedimentation in Archean oceans

Bekker, Andrey: Sulfidic Organic-Rich Shales in the Archean Low-Sulfate Ocean: Evidence for Transient Oxygenated Conditions, Enhanced Volcanism, or Low Sedimentation Rates?

Grassineau, Nathalie The evolution of a Late Archaean basin seen through the adaptation of microbial activities

Hoffmann, J. Elis: The Origin of TTGs inferred from high-precision HFSE measurements

Hofmann, Axel: Multiple sulphur and iron isotope composition of detrital pyrite in Archaean sedimentary rocks: a new tool for provenance analysis

Huhma, Hannu: Age and Sm-Nd results on the Archean in Finland

Itävaara, Merja: Outokumpu deep borehole - what microbes are there?

Mason, Paul: How can we link microscopic variations in S isotopes in Archean pyrites to early microbial metabolisms?

Mojzsis, Stephen: Crossroads: Exploration of the earliest history of water on Earth

Rosing M.T. & Bird D.K.: The oldest sediment core on Earth

Martin, Tony: Evolution of the Belingwe Greenstone Belt, Zimbabwe

Sharkov, Evgenii: Irreversible evolution of the Earth and the terrestrial planets from petrological point of view.

Vasconcelos, Crisogono: Modern stromatolites from Lagoa Salgada: An example of methanogenic processes on carbonate precipitation



Haugaard Nielsen, Rasmus: The origin and depositional environment of a meso-Archaean Banded Iron Formation and its related supracrustals - petrological and geochemical evidence from the ~2.9 Ga Itilliarsuk greenstone belt, NW Greenland.

Medvedev, Pavel Early Precambrian Fossils of the Eastern Fennoscandian Shield

Næraa, Tomas: Archean crust development from a zircon Hf isotope perspective.

Slabunov, Alexander, Lokhov K.I., Sibelev O.S.: Archean carbonate rocks: endogenous or sedimentary? Example from the Belomorian province, Fennoscandian Shield.

Svetov, Sergei: Archaean komatiites of central Russian Karelia

Weber, Tom: Assessing mass dependent isotope fractionation of Cerium



  • Thursday evening, departure from Mekrijärvi, accommodation and traditional Karelian dinner in hotel Bomba, Nurmes




  • Friday 28. Field trip to the Kuhmo greenstone belt


Mafic and ultramafic sequences: komatiites, pillow basalts (c. 2.8 Ga), metasediments. For a field guide see the web page

and pages 98-110 there.

Accommodation and dinner in Hotel Kajaani,



  • Saturday 29. Field trip to Palaeoproterozoic Jormua ophiolite


For the field guide see pages 4-31 in the link above.

Accommodation in Hotel Cumulus, Kuopio,

·      Sunday 30. Departure from Hotel Cumulus to the Kuopio airport


General Information


Papers and posters

Presentations at the workshop will mostly be given by invited speakers, oral papers by other participants are presented in the symposium. Poster presentations are possible.



The workshop venue will be the Mekrijärvi Research Station, which is a field station maintained by the University of Joensuu, for teaching and research in the natural sciences and ethnoloy. Information on facilities at Mekrijärvi can be found on the web site (
Mekrijärvi is about 80 km east of the city of Joensuu, ( Joensuu is about 400 km northeast of Helsinki and there are regular daily train and air connections.

Number of participants

We shall have c. 50 participants.


Transport logistics

Participants arriving outside Finland are recommended to book a return flight to Kuopio. On the 23.08.2009 a Finnair flight will arrive at the Kuopio airport at 17.40 and a Blue1 flight at 15.30. There will be a bus transport from Kuopio to Mekrijärvi (about three hours) leaving after the arrival of the Finnair flight at around 18.00. The bus will stop at the Joensuu railway station at around 20.00. Timetables for planes and trains can be found at, and



The weather in late August in the area can be very variable, from warm and sunny (+20 ºC) to cool and rainy (+10-15 ºC). Waterproof clothing and hiking boots or rubber boots or hiking boots are therefore recommended in case of rain on the field trips. Transport in the field will be by bus with short walks to outcrops in generally easy terrain. The worst of the mosquito season will over by the end of August, but there are still some insects, such as moose flies, which can occasional cause allergic reaction. To compensate for this however, berries and edible mushrooms are plentiful.



In single and double rooms in the residences of the Research Station, during the field trip in above mentioned hotels.



All travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the European Science Foundation.



  • final registration: April 30, 2009



Contact information


Prof. Nicholas Arndt

Laboratoire de Géodynamique des Chaînes Alpines
1381 rue de la Piscine
38401 St Martin d’Hères, France

Tel. +33 4 76635931


Dr. Pentti Hölttä
Geological Survey of Finland
P.O. Box 96
FI-02151 Espoo, Finland
Tel. +358 20502312
Fax  +358 2055012


Dr. Peter Sorjonen-Ward
Geological Survey of Finland
P.O. Box 1237
FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland

Tel. +358
Fax  +358 2055013


Dr. Martin Whitehouse

Swedish Museum of Natural History
NORDSIM Laboratory for Isotope Geology
P.O. Box 50 007
Frescativ 40
104 05 Stockholm, Sweden

Tel +46 8 5195 5169