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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hamelin Pool, Western Australia

See the bubbles? They are making oxygen

More bubbles


The Stromatolites were a major factor in Shark Bay becoming a World Heritage Area and Hamelin Pool has the world's best example.

Stromatolites most important role in the history of the earth was putting oxygen into the earth's atmosphere. They take carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates and this releases oxygen into the atmosphere.

When they first appeared on earth about 3.5 billion years ago there was little or no oxygen in the atmosphere. Scientists believe that it was through this oxygen-generating activity of Stromolites, that other animal life on earth was able to develop. Well, that's the theory anyway.
Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, about 78 kms from Denham, was created to protect these strange structures. They are able to survive here because the water is twice as salty as normal sea water so most other forms of life that would normally feed on them can't survive here.

Now that Hamelin Pool is a marine nature reserve of 1270 square kilometres, it has complete protection from fishing and any other human threat and a boardwalk has been constructed for people to come and see them without impacting on the environment.
They only grow at a maximum of .3 mm per year so those about a metre high are hundreds, if not thousands of years old. And they'll be here for generations to come.