History of Dresser

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History of Dresser

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (11.4 MB) recorded in the Pilbara in 2005. Professor Malcolm Walter, Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, talks about the history of the Dresser Formation.


Malcolm was involved of course in the initial discovery and I'd like him to talk about the structures we see here. He's the man.

The orignal discovery locality as John Dunlop is just got over the ridge in that direction isn’t it Martin? And at that stage we knew of only one domical feature in the whole region in fact, apart from the one that Don Lowe was working on way to the north. That was called Strelley, east and west Strelley. So I’ll just give you a bit of history of that. John Dunlop found it. Roger Buick and John Dunlop took me there way back, I forgot when, probably 1977 or something like that. It was part of Roger Buick's thesis study to look at those stromatolites, its context and look at regional extent of other possible stromatolithic structures. After several years the stromatolite was still in the field, so Bill Schopf and John Hayes and I and others came here to collect it and we did collect it and we carried it over, 80 kg it weighed if I remember correctly, carried it over this ridge, mainly big Hans Hoffmann offered to do the carrying. And shipped it back to UCLA, sliced it up with the diamond saw and Roger Buick came over and worked with us at UCLA, studying it for a few weeks, and then we published on that in 1980. I didn’t know about this locality at that time and nobody else did either. I don’t know if either actually found it or what the history of this is but the structures here are much better exposed than at the original locality that we worked on. So as Martin was saying you can see a succession with ripple marked silicified sandstones and a bed of stromatolithic structures that have a range of morphologies and there are places where you can see detritus in between domical features and it’s repeated up in successions in several places and there are big bedding plane exposures up there. So this locality has been looked at in some detail in more recent years.




Early Life



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