stro·​mat·​o·​lite strō-ˈma-tə-ˌlīt How to pronounce stromatolite (audio)
: a laminated usually mounded sedimentary fossil formed from layers of cyanobacteria, calcium carbonate, and trapped sediment
stromatolitic adjective

Examples of stromatolite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Microbial stromatolites represent the earliest geological record of life on Earth, which dominated the planet for almost 3 billion years. Stromatolites, in general, refer to a range of microbial communities that are associated with layers of rock. David Bressan, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Early stromatolites likely controlled Earth’s oxygenation. David Bressan, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 At the time, most researchers thought the key to figuring out whether a stromatolite-like pattern had been shaped by primitive microbes or geologic forces was to scrutinize a sample micrometer by micrometer. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, 8 Mar. 2021 Their complexity suggests that life was in existence long before these first stromatolite fossils grew. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, 17 Nov. 2020 The bottom of the channel was bright purple and made of stromatolite-building microbial mats that thrive in the complete absence of oxygen. Brendan Paul Burns, The Conversation, 25 Sep. 2020 Miller said this is a good place to see a sample of a stromatolite, a layered limestone structure made of sediment and fossilized cyanobacteria that lived in shallow oceans. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, 14 Aug. 2020 Compared with Curiosity, Perseverance boasts several upgraded instruments, including an advanced camera that could help researchers spot a stromatolite, a kind of rock formed only by microbes. Eva Botkin-Kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 July 2020 Consider the case of extremely old stromatolites, layered underwater mounds created by cyanobacteria. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stromatolite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin stromat-, stroma bed covering + English -o- + -lite

First Known Use

1930, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stromatolite was in 1930

Dictionary Entries Near stromatolite

Cite this Entry

“Stromatolite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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