Oldest Archaean Stromatolites from Pilbara Strelley Pool

RARE High-Carbon Form

Polished Strelley Pool Stromatolites

Geological Time: Paleoarchean (3.43 Billion Years Old)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Stromatolite fossil is 125 mm by 105 mm (maximum)

Fossil Site: Strelley Pool Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia

Code: AS13036

Price: Sold

Strelley Pool Archaean StromatolitesDescription: The putative stromatolites with microstructures resembling bacteria from the extensive stromatolitic formations of the 3,430-million-year-old Strelley Pool Chert within the Warrawoona Group in Western Australia have been hotly debated ever since their discovery by Lowe (1980, 1983). Others later ascribed conical form genera to abiotic evaporative precipitation, and found no support for the microfossils as biomarkers. Whether the microstructures within the Warrawoona Group stromatolites are the imprints of ancient filamentous and possibly photosynthetic microbes as argued by Schopf and Awramik became a heated debate that remains unresolved. A recent and extensive study of seven distinct stromatolitic form genera by Allwood certainly lends support to proponents of biogenetic origins of the chert, since the simultaneous set of forms is more difficult to explain with known abiogenic processes. However, whether the microstructures are fossil microbes remains unresolved. If they are microbe fossils, there would still remain the critical question of whether they are archaea, cyanobacteria, another type of photosynthetic bacteria, chemosynthetic bacteria, or some combination of these. While the debate rages on there are many who ascribe to the biogenic nature of these deposits, as do I. (Of all the pieces I was offered in Tucson this year this one was the only example singled out for its high high carbon content).

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