Western Australian Stromatolites

The Stromatolites at Lake Thetis in the Nambung National Park are only 3,500 years old. They may look like an oversize dried out pancakes sitting in the heavily salinated water and on the edge of the lake. But they are exceedingly important as modern examples of the earliest known life forms on Earth.

Stromatolites and Thrombolites go back billions of years. 2.5 – 3.8 billions years ago. They are what gave us life on the planet as we know it today.

To witness these modern stromatolites do lead you to wonder of the evolution of our planet.

“Stromatolite deposits are formed by sediment trapping and binding, and/or by precipitation activities of the microbial communities (Awramik 1976). The microbes are active on the surface layer of the Stromatolites, while the underlying build-up is a lithified remnant of former microbial surface communities, that could be interpreted as a trace-fossil”.

These deposits built up very slowly: a single 1m structure may be 2,000 to 3,000 years old. But the tiny microbes that make up modern Stromatolites are similar to organism that existed 3.5 billion years ago!

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