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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Underwater Forest Appears

Underwater Forest Appears

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, February 25, 2019/Categories: natural history, video, sustainability, environment, climate change

                      60,000 Year Old Forest Uncovered in Gulf of Mexico  (credit: Alabama.com)

An ancient forest, from a era when glaciation created a vastly different coastal shoreline and climate, was discovered by fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. The ancient forest had been uncovered by a massive hurricane that gouged the seafloor exposing the ancient trees. According to news reports:

"the forest lay buried beneath Gulf sediments for eons, until giant waves driven by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 uncovered it. Ivan raged through the Gulf as a Category 5 hurricane with winds pushed the largest waves ever measured, reaching almost 100 feet tall, as measured by a cluster government data buoys far offshore."

Investigators from Louisiana State University and the University of Southern Mississippi are conducting research on the discovery of bald cypress trees (Taxodium species) found sixty feet underwater. The same trees are still found along the coasts and rivers of the Southeast from Texas to Florida today. The relic forest is the first of its kind discovered underwater.

Hurricane Ivan exposed the ancient cypress stumps, trunks, limbs, and roots with an amazing level of preservation. Sap still oozed from the wood when sawed. Core samples of wood and charcoal were analyzed by radiocarbon dating methods to determine the age when the trees grew along a shoreline. The forest lived more than 60,000 years ago, when sea levels were nearly 400 feet lower, and the climate was far different from today's.

A video on the underwater forest was produced and explained by the research investigators and the divers themselves.

The data and information being compiled from the forest relics provides important insight into landscape and sea level changes that could be expected as climate change continues to unfold rapidly today.

WHB

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