A visit to the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Western Australia is a must when holidaying in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. The Hamelin Pool stromatolites are oldest and largest living fossils on earth. Stromatolites are considered 'living fossils', part of the Earth's evolutionary history.
Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is a place of great interest to botanists and geologists as it gives an indication of what the earth may have looked like about 3.5 billion years ago, when stromatolites grew widespread across the water. Visitors can view these amazing life forms, without causing damage by walking on a purpose built jetty and looking down at the Hamelin Pool stromatolites below.
How the Hamelin Pool stromatolites formed
Living microbes that build the stromatolites are similar to those found in 3,500 million year old rocks which are the earliest record of life on earth. As such, the stromatolites provide a record of local environmental changes. Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is one of only two places on earth where living marine stromatolites exist.
The marine stromatolites found in Hamelin Pool of Shark Bay are considered to be the best example of their kind found in the world. Stromatolites grow successfully and undisturbed at Hamelin Pool because the sea water is twice as saline as usual sea water due to a bar across the entrance of the bay and also due to rapid evaporation from shallow water.
Stromatolites which are found to be up to a metre high are believed to be hundreds to thousands of years old as they grow at a maximum of 0.3mm per year.
The Hamelin Pool stromatolites are about a half hour drive from Denham
. You can get to Denham in a day’s drive or two hour flight from Western Australia’s gateway city, Perth.
Visit the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre
website or call +61 8 9948 1590, for further information about the Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Western Australia.