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Stromatolites form at an incredibly slow rate of around 0.5mm a year but I was wondering if more favourable conditions could speed this up?

These stromatolites will exist on an earth-like alien planet. What changes would be needed to increase the rate at which material will be deposited by the microorganisms?

These can range from a different biology for the microorganisms, mineral content of the water, even the light they receive as the type or number of stars may effect deposit speed or other possible factors.

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  • $\begingroup$ how much of an increase are you looking for. $\endgroup$
    – John
    May 6, 2022 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ @John Whatever is possible really, the aim is to see if they could be used for structure building by another species, as their shape can be manipulated by light/ blocking light and if those speeds are unrealistic then I am still interested any rate that is faster than earth stromatolite formation. $\endgroup$ May 6, 2022 at 22:04

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They get help:

Stromatolites thrived on the early Earth, and perhaps you need conditions that are more conducive to them. But If you really want to accelerate their growth, take away the heavy lifting job from them. Get something else to do it.

On your world, the areas where the stromatolites grow in periodically experiences low oxygen levels. Under normal conditions, a second planktonic organism is free-floating in the environment, but when there are low oxygen levels, these organisms adhere to stromatolites and take advantage of the locally increased oxygen levels to survive. After the oxygen levels increase, these organisms release reproductive cells into the environment, but leave behind their shells cemented to the stromatolite.

The stromatolite gets bigger, their local habitat is expanded, and the stromatolite grows without having to generate so much material. The nutrients left over from the planktonic organism enrich the cyanobacteria's new growth spurt.

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Stromatolite is formed by the growth of blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria. To speed up stromatolite formation, you need to increase the growth of cyanobacteria.

As told here, under favorable conditions, cyanobacteria can reproduce at explosive rates, forming dense concentrations called blooms. Cyanobacteria blooms are especially common in waters that have been polluted by nitrogen wastes.

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