Archean Stromatolites and their Depositional Environments
Stromatolites are lithified organo-sedimentary structures formed by trapping, binding and precipitation of sediment, as a result of metabolic activity of unicellular microorganisms. Such organisms may be preserved and they build large reefal build-ups and biostromes in the Archean. Archean stromatilites thus not only may contain the oldest fossils on Earth, but also evidence for well-preserved ecological communities (eco-biocoenoses) from the distant past of the evolution of life. Their research discloses the earliest preserved signs of evolution within its environmental conditions, and serves as a widely used and important analogy for the search for extra-terrestrial life. South Africa, next to Western Australia possesses the best examples of Archean stromatolites on earth. These examples include poorly preserved, but famous and among the world’s earliest stromatolites in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, the world’s oldest carbonate platform of the Wit Mfolozi, of the Pongola Supergroup and the spectacular, world’s largest Neoarchean giant stromatolite platform of the Transvaal Supergroup, with superlative outcrops like the Boetsap waterfalls. The here proposed symposium shall discuss and present newest research on Archean stromatolites in a wider sense, including microfossils and also offer an excursion of 6 days duration to Pongola and Sudwala and to the Prieska and Boetsap area in Griqualand West (flight to Kimberley). The excursion and the symposium will be led by the proposing team of Wlady Altermann, Malcolm Walter and Kenichiro Sugitani – the world expert team on Archean stromatolites and microfossils and will attract many participants to the IGC.
Wlady Altermann, Malcolm Walter and Kenichiro Sugitani