[ stroh-mat-l-ahyt ]

  1. a layered, calcareous living fossil formed by cyanobacteria and believed to be responsible for building up the content of the primeval earth’s oxygen levels, allowing life forms to emerge and evolve.

Origin of stromatolite

First recorded in 1930–35; from German Stromatolith (1908), from Late Latin strōmat-, stem of strōma “coverlet” + -o- connecting vowel + German -lith; see stroma, -o-, -lith; see also -lite

Other words from stromatolite

  • stro·mat·o·lit·ic [stroh-mat-l-it-ik], /stroʊˌmæt lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby stromatolite Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for stromatolite


/ (strəʊˈmætəˌlaɪt) /

  1. a rocky mass consisting of layers of calcareous material and sediment formed by the prolific growth of cyanobacteria: such structures date back to Precambrian times

Origin of stromatolite

C20: from Greek, from strōma covering + -lite

Derived forms of stromatolite

  • stromatolitic (strəʊˌmætəˈlɪtɪk), adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for stromatolite


[ strō-mătl-īt′ ]

  1. A dome-shaped structure consisting of alternating layers of carbonate or silicate sediment and fossilized algal mats. Stromatolites are produced over geologic time by the trapping, binding, or precipitating of sediment by groups of microorganisms, primarily cyanobacteria. They are widely distributed in the fossil record and contain some of the oldest recorded forms of life, from over three billion years ago. They continue to form today especially in western Australia.

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