50000 year old forest found on the bottom of the ocean

first_imgThe world is being mapped in ever greater detail by companies such as Google, but our oceans are still mostly unknown and hold untold secrets. One of those secrets has recently been discovered off the coast of Mobile, Alabama, in the form of an ancient Cypress tree forest that’s anywhere from 50 to 80,000 years old.The forest today consists of hundreds of Bald Cypress tree stumps that are overrun with life, creating an artificial reef of sorts. The wood is very well preserved as it was buried in sand up until just a few years ago. The stumps were uncovered when Hurricane Katrina hit and a fisherman discovered the area. The location has been a closely guarded secret ever since.There’s actually two periods of time when the location of the forest is thought to have been above sea level and allowed to develop. The first is 10 to 15,000 years ago, the second 50 to 80,000 years ago. Samples taken from the tree stumps are older than 15,000 years, which means the trees must have grown at least 50,000 years ago. And these were huge trees, with some stumps 8 feet in diameter.With the forest being uncovered and exposed to both oxygen and sea water, it won’t take long for the wood to breakdown and start to crumble. It is believed there’s maybe a couple of years left until that happens. Before then, researchers intend to read as many of the tree rings as they can, as it will help them understand what the environment was like when the trees were above ground in a forest that is thought to have thrived for up to 2,000 years.last_img read more