Living Stromatolites

"Stromatolites consist of multiple rock layers (or "stone blankets," as the Greek name implies) that formed in shallow, intertidal and sub-tidal environments. Most, if not all, of these rock formations are the remnants of ancient microbial mats that grew on top of each other in successive generations. Stromatolite-building goes on today, but very rarely. In fact, stromatolites practically dropped out of the geologic record after the Cambrian explosion (about 530 million years ago), when animals appeared that eat the mat-forming bacteria. "They've gone to extreme environments where the animals that eat them can't live," Due to this predation, microbial mats have retreated to saline lagoons and hot geothermal regions." (see Yellowstone link)

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Giant's Causeway
Gunung Mulu "Stromatolites ...are also common at all the cave entrances" (Nom file 6.3.4)
Shark Bay one of only two places in the world (the other being the Bahamas) with living marine stromatolites
Tasmanian Wilderness "They were found in freshwater spring mounds in the karstic wetlands of a wilderness area in Tasmania, Australia." (2017)
Yellowstone Scientists "are studying microbial mats in the local hot springs. These modern day microbes are building stromatolites similar to those of their ancient brethren, and so they may provide clues to who the ancient stromatolite-builders were


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  5. Be explained, with reference to a source