2.4 billion-years-ago, around the advent of oxygenation of the atmosphere and shallow oceans, the tidal waters along a relatively short stretch of coastline were occupied by flourishing microbial communities that, as they lived and died, deposited morphologically and texturally unique microbialites. The remains of this ancient “reef” environment are now preserved in a 350m-thick section of carbonate rock that crops out in the Hamersley Ranges, in the Pilbara of Western Australia. My research involves studying this fossil reef in an attempt to characterise its depositional and diagenetic environments using a combination of stratigraphy, petrography, and elemental and C/O/Sr/Si isotope geochemistry.
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