One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A calcareous mound built up of layers of lime-secreting cyanobacteria and trapped sediment, found in Precambrian rocks as the earliest known fossils, and still being formed in lagoons in Australasia.
- ‘Fossilized cyanobacterial mounds are called stromatolites.’
- ‘At first sight, the Shark Bay stromatolites look like rocks lying in an orderly fashion in the intertidal zone.’
- ‘The formation has yielded numerous fossils of stromatolites in addition to microfossils.’
- ‘The oldest known fossils are the 3.5-billion-year-old stromatolites discovered in western Australia in 1980.’
- ‘They may be calcareous sponges, cyanobacteria, or stromatolites.’
1930s: from modern Latin stroma, stromat- ‘layer, covering’ + -lite.
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