Stromatolites at Shark Bay Australia

Stromatolites at Shark Bay Australia

Next time you take a breath of fresh air thank a Stromatolite. And God. Why? The cauliflower-looking “rocks” are responsible for the development of our atmosphere and bio-diversity. So are they rocks, or not? Well, yes. And no. Let me explain… these layered rocks are formed by cyanobacteria, also called the blue-green algae. The microscopic cyanobacteria form colonies under favorable conditions. They trap sediment with their sticky surface coatings and the sediment reacts with calcium carbonate in the ocean water to form limestone. So, to answer the question rock or not, the Stromatolites are rocks that form as a by-product of the organism’s activity.

These slimy creatures produced oxygen. That’s the stuff that created our atmosphere. Now listen here I don’t care if you believe creation or evolution there is a certain amount of science in God. It’s just a fact. God showed up and what He created in our Planet Earth is amazing. One of a kind.

Way back in the olden days (Precambrian), bacteria such as the Cyanobacteria that form Stromatolites were the only game in town. These critters are photosynthetic – they take energy from light and convert it into chemical energy (sugars)  synthesized with carbon dioxide and water. Interestingly, oxygen is released as a “waste product!” So the Cyanobacteria are the agent responsible for converting our atmosphere from a reducing one to an oxidizing breath of fresh air. And the stuff we dig on breathing is a waste product. Get out… but it’s a true story.

“Stromatolites are bizarre fossils whose biological origins were debated until only a few decades ago. Today, scientists generally agree that Stromatolites are layered colonial structures predominately formed by cyanobacteria. Stromatolites are the oldest fossils on earth, dating back to more than three billion years ago. They were the dominant life form on earth for over 2 billion years and are thought to be primarily responsible for the oxygenation of the atmosphere,” says the National Park Service. On their page discussing the occurrence of Stromatolites in the Navajo Sandstone, the NPS

The creation of our atmosphere is something that just fascinates me. So the next time you get an itch to take a breath of fresh air remember the Stromatolites, the Cyanobacteria, and especially God. Thank God for the Stromatolites.

And breathe on…

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia