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What are Stromatolites?

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Stromatolites Geological Structures

Stromatolites are sedimentary rock-like structures that formed in shallow waters.  They formed through the build-up of bacteria and algae.

The bacteria in stromatolites started the process that boosted oxygen in the atmosphere.  It increased oxygen levels from less than 1% to more than 20%.

The word "stromatolite" comes from Greek for "layered rock". 

Stromatolites are the oldest fossil record of life on Earth.   They were common along shorelines around the world about 3.5 billion years ago.  Stromatolites were the earliest proof that life existed on Earth.

The oldest stromatolites can be found in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.  They're believed to be approximately 3.7 billion years old.

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