Fossillized Algae

 

Did you know algae are the oldest fossils found on Earth that can be seen with the naked eye?

I may be guessing, but I believe I picked up a fossil sample of algae from Lake Michigan’s Oval Beach in Southwestern Michigan (USA) shown below. Algae come in a variety of shapes and forms. They range from single cell organisms such as microscopic phytoplankton to multicellular, such as in the case of giant kelp that can grow as tall as 65 meters.

 

 

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Algae fossil found on Oval Beach, Saugauck, MI, USA

So why is algae important to you and me?

The answer is:  Algae are the most important photosynthesizing organisms on Earth! A byproduct of photosynthesis is oxygen. Algae produces more oxygen from the Sun’s energy than all other plants combined.

They also form a beneficial partnership with other organisms such as with reef building coral which over time constructs limestone.

Fossilized algae has dated as far back as 1.7 billion years ago.

Flip side of algae fossil with unidentified patterns

Flip side of algae fossil with unidentified patterns

I have a sample of Petrified Algae from which I purchased years ago which has been tumbled and polished smooth. This algae once flourished in warm seas over what is now Minnesota, USA. It is estimated to have lived some two billion years ago. The algae has been petrified or replaced with jasper. The redish pattern in the stone is where the algae used to be. Jasper is a type of quartz that is dense, finely grained, with up to 20% foreign materials that determines its color.

Petrified Algae replaced with Jasper

Petrified Algae replaced with Jasper

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