Winter Programme Abstracts 2023-2024


Wednesday 21st September

Stromatolites: Making Mountains out of Microbes (WGCG)
Professor Ian Fairchild (University of Birmingham)

Stromatolite palmistry? Course of future evolution foretold?!

For most of Earth history the only macroscopic evidences of life are the intricately layered rocks called stromatolites. Like trace fossils, they record an interaction between organisms and sedimentary processes. The key players are the cyanobacteria, formerly known as blue-green algae, which played a vital role in oxygenating the Earth by their photosynthesis. Build-up of sediments and precipitates, over time, under the sticky surface mats created by communities of such organisms, can make limestone and dolomite masses up to hundreds of metres thick. Stromatolites reveal many fascinating stories of past environments, and examples from several continents are discussed.

The YouTube link for this talk is: