Stromatolite was “discovered” relatively recently by the metaphysical community and so it is not included in virtually any ancient or modern lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. Its name comes from the Greek words stroma (layers)and lithos (rock). While there are no known myths about this stone, it has a fascinating geological history!
Stromatolites are created by single-celled microorganisms called cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are arguably the most successful living entities on the planet! They are the most genetically diverse, and occupy the broadest range of habitats, across all latitudes, including land, fresh and salt water, and extreme niches such as hot springs and hypersaline bays. The reason for this incredible diversity is that cyanobacteria has had the most time to evolve of any living creature. In fact, cyanobacteria are the oldest known example of life on earth – dating back at least 3.5 billion years (a billion years after the Earth first formed). They formed first and are still alive today, having survived all five of the Earth’s Mass Extinctions! From an evolutionary perspective, cyanobacteria are our oldest ancestor – the very original Adam and Eve. The reason we know all about cyanobacteria’s incredible history is because the oldest traces of cyanobacteria have been preserved in the fossil record – in Stromatolites.
While some Stromatolites are very old and have become simple fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks, other Stromatolites are still alive with active colonies of cyanobacteria. Modern Stromatolites have been found in hypersaline lakes and marine lagoons with an exceptionally high saline level, extreme environments that few other living creatures can stand. These modern Stromatolites are located in Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. The most well known are those in Shark Bay, in Western Australia and Exumas Bay in the Bahamas.
One of the most interesting modern Stromatolites were discovered in an open pit pond – formed in an abandoned asbestos mine near Clinton Creek, Yukon, Canada. These Stromatolites are the youngest ever found, and presumably only started growing after the mine closed in 1978. They are forming Limestone Stromatolites and grow by approximately half a centimeter per year.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.