The antiquity of oxygenic photosynthesis: evidence from stromatolites in sulphate-deficient Archaean lakes

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Science  03 Jan 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5040, pp. 74-77
DOI: 10.1126/science.11536492


The Tumbiana Formation, about 2700 million years old, was largely deposited in ephemeral saline lakes, as judged by the unusual evaporite paragenesis of carbonate and halite with no sulfate. Stromatolites of diverse morphology occur in the lacustrine sediments, some with palimpsest fabrics after erect filaments. These stromatolites were probably accreted by phototropic microbes that, from their habitat in shallow isolated basins with negligible sulfate concentrations, almost certainly metabolized by ozygenic photosynthesis.