Stromatolites in the deep sea - Research team discovers fossils at 730 meter water depth

Stro­matolites are among the old­est fossils with 3.5 bil­lion years. Up to now, however, lime de­pos­its have only oc­curred in shal­low seas with wa­ter depths of up to ten meters. The lime lay­ers can only grow if mi­croor­gan­isms that carry out pho­to­syn­thesis are in­volved. A study by geoscient­ists from Ger­many, Aus­tria and the USA shows that with the help of light-in­de­pend­ent mi­crobes that carry out chemo­syn­thesis, stro­matolites can also grow to a wa­ter depth of 730 metres on the sea­floor. To­bias Himmler from the MARUM - Cen­ter for Mar­ine En­vir­on­mental Sci­ences at the Uni­versity of Bre­men and his team of au­thors have now pub­lished their res­ults in the journal Geo­logy.

Original publication:
To­bi­as Himm­ler, Da­ni­el Sm­rz­ka, Jen­ni­fer Zwi­cker, Sa­bi­ne Kas­ten, Rus­sell S. Shapi­ro, Ger­hard Bohr­mann, and Jörn Peck­mann: Stroma­to­li­tes be­low the pho­tic zone in the nort­hern Ara­bi­an Sea for­med by cal­ci­fy­ing che­mo­tro­phic mi­cro­bi­al mats. Geo­lo­gy 2018. DOI: 10.1130/G39890.1