The Gunflint Formation of northwestern Ontario, Canada, contains an extensive array of stromatolite morphologies and associated fossilized bacteria. It, and correlative units in the United States, provided some of the most persuasive early interpretations of stromatolites and evidence of Precambrian bacterial life. This study examined the siliciclastic rocks in the Gunflint Formation and discovered a multitude of features formed by the development of cohesive biogenic mats on bedding surfaces. In former shallow subtidal depositional settings, evidence of mat erosion was most common, with the presence of various types of wrinkle structures. Microscopically carbonaceous layers and rip-up fragments representing mats and their eroded remnants are well preserved. This emphasizes the abundance of bacterial life in the shallow nearshore of the Gunflint Formation about 1.88 billion years ago and further indicates an increased flux of reductants was necessary during this time period to establish low oxygen levels in the ocean.

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