Tiger Iron Stromatolites (Banded Iron) from Australia

Stromatolites Banded Iron Deposit

Geologic Time: Proterozoic (2.2 to 2.4 Billion Years Old)

Size: 117 mm by 70 mm, 8 mm thick.

Fossil Site: Hough Lake (?), Port Handford, Western Australia

Tiger Iron StromatolitesDescription: A polished slab of what is termed locally “Tiger Iron”. Known as Jaspelite, it is a banded structure of Tiger Eye, Red Jasper, and Hematite. Stromatolites are remnants of the most ancient of colonial organisms. Stromatolites are fossils that are the result of the work of simple blue-green “algae” or Cyanophytes, which lived in chains or mats covered in a jellylike substance. By taking in carbon dioxide as a food source, the precipitate limy deposits on the jelly that builds up in layers. Thus these organisms build up stony supports for their colonies. These mound like structures can be anywhere from several centimeters to several meters in height. The production of oxygen is thought to have led to the “rusting of the seas” which brought about deposition of extensive iron deposits such as the Mesabi Range. Hematite is an iron mineral, and is one of the components of this banded structure (dark bands). Stromatolites have persisted to the modern day in such places as Shark Bay, Australia where they continue their billions of years old lifestyle. This one is quite natural in appearance on all but the surface which has been given a high polish to show off the myriad of colors.

Also see: Stromatolites Across Geologic Time

click fossil pictures to enlarge


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