Much of the Archean record of microbial communities consists of fossil mats and stromatolites. Critical physical emergent properties governing the evolution of large-scale (centimeters to meters) topographic relief on the mat landscape are () mat surface roughness relative to the laminar sublayer and () cohesion. These properties can be estimated for fossil samples under many circumstances. A preliminary analysis of Archean mat cohesion suggests that mats growing in shallow marine environments from throughout this time had cohesions similar to those of modern shallow marine mats. There may have been a significant increase in mat strength at the end of the Archean.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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