Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The thrombolites

Thrombolites, 'living rocks', are the rock-like structures built by micro-organisms. One of the few places in the world where the thrombolites grow is at Lake Clifton in Western Australia (not far from Mandurah, which is about an hour from Perth). The lake is also one of only two sites known where microbialites occur in water less salty than sea water. The lake contains the largest lake-bound microbialite reef in the southern hemisphere.

On the way home from the Busselton Half Ironman Jason and I stopped in to see these living rocks. We tried to find them this time last year with Rona and Ken, but couldn't find them, as it happens we were only about 100m from where they were!

So after a year's wait, we finally made it back there. We were treated with an absolutely beautiful day. Check the photos out, it was very pretty down there and I got some good photos.
Interestingly enough, I am getting much better at taking landscape photos, which I am pleased with. I used to feel out of my depth with landscapes but I am happy to see some improvements.

In a little more detail regarding where these thrombolites come from (I will admit to borrowing this information from a website): Millions of years ago, earth, as we know it was a little different, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere and there was no protective ozone layer. Scientists believe that things began changing when tiny organisms started to appear (from where, no one knows). These tiny little organisms lived in water and produced oxygen. This oxygen entered the atmosphere and over time created the atmosphere we live in today. Now this process didn't happen overnight, the organisms had to produce large quantities of oxygen over a long period of time before earth could sustain life . One of the ancestors of these tiny organisms are in fact algae, yes those aquatic plants. Stromatolites and thrombolites are created by algae and represent the earliest record of life on earth!! Wow, its pretty amazing.

Here they are up close. The setting was amazing... well almost amazing. There were literally MILLIONS of gnats buzzing around. Check out the photo below for all the bugs. IT was so loud and I was worried about being eaten alive by these bugs. But they don't bite (thank goodness). I am pleased our camera and lens is good enough to pick these bugs up to try and demonstrate what it was like.

Here's Jason checking out the scenery.
We weren't the only ones checking out the thrombolites... check this little dude out.

1 comment:

The Maloney Family said...

A fascinating read. The pics are great :-)