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Nora Noffke, assistant professor of geobiology at Old Dominion University, has been elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The
recognition is for research establishing "microbially induced sedimentary structures" as evidence of the earliest life on Earth.

The announcement comes just one month after Noffke was presented the 2007 James Lee Wilson Award of the Society of Sedimentary Geologists. That award is given annually to recognize international excellence in marine geology by a young scientist.

Noffke is interested in the geological record of bacteria that lived during the Archean period, which extended from about 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago.
She studied microbial mats-the rug-like weaves that cover coastal sandy deposits today-and has found sedimentary structures in South Africa showing that the same type of mats have existed since the Early Archean. This research helped coin the term "microbially induced sedimentary structures."

Her findings were the subject of a news article in the May 5, 2006, edition of Science magazine and were published in her paper in the April 2006
edition of the journal Geology. The work has been called some of the sturdiest evidence yet of life forms colonizing Earth's sandy coasts at
least 3.2 billion years ago.

About 20,000 geoscientists from throughout the world are members of the GSA. Other GSA Fellows at ODU are Dennis Darby, professor, and Donald
Swift, professor and eminent scholar, in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

This article was posted on: May 9, 2007

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