Fossil Stromatolite I

Fossil Stromatolite I

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Credit: DIRK WIERSMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Stromatolites represent one of the oldest forms of life on earth. They are undulating rocky structures, formed by cyano-bacteria that thrive by building up colonial mats, the new ones covering the old ones, layer by layer. While they accumulate sand grains are incorporated in these structures and most of the accumulations are of solid and massive dimensions. Fossil stromatolites are found in sedimentary rocks as old as the Achaean, up to 3.5 billion years ago. They are still constructed today, by more or less the same cyano-bacteria that formed them billions of years ago.The example here seen is from Cretaceous stromatolite deposits at Saf Saf, Morocco. The wide end of this tapered specimen, about the size of a Chinese cabbage, reveals well the layer by layer growth pattern of the algae

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Keywords: achaean, cretaceous, cyano-bacteria, morocco, rocky, saf-saf, stromatolites, structures

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