Shark Bay, Western Australia

Hamelin Pool Stromatolites

A visit to the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Western Australia is a must.

The Hamelin Pool stromatolites are the 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 3.7 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

The oldest Stromatolites in the world are found in Western Australia, and date to 3.7 billion years old. As such, the stromatolites provide a record of local environmental changes. Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is one of only four places on earth where living marine stromatolites exist and the location contains by far the biggest colony on earth. 

Stromatolites which are found up to a metre high are believed to grow at a maximum of 0.3mm per year - they are truly "living fossils". 80% of the history of all life was stromatolites – for that time, stromatolites were king.

Protected by Bush Heritage Australia

Found by accident in 1956 by an oil company, the 202,000-hectare private reserve created by Bush Heritage Australia, will continue to protect Hamelin Pool and the 100m stromatolites it is home to.

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 of shallow water