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300 million year old rain forest discovered

 
Atma
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04/23/2007 04:03 PM
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300 million year old rain forest discovered
Earth's First Rainforest Unearthed

April 23, 2007

Science Daily — A spectacular fossilised forest has transformed our understanding of the ecology of the Earth's first rainforests. It is 300 million years old.

The forest is composed of a bizarre mixture of extinct plants: abundant club mosses, more than 40 metres high, towering over a sub-canopy of tree ferns, intermixed with shrubs and tree-sized horsetails. Nowhere elsewhere on the planet is it possible to (literally) walk through such an extensive swathe of Carboniferous rainforest.

It was discovered by Dr Howard Falcon-Lang from the University of Bristol, UK, and US colleagues, in the underground workings of a coalmine, in Illinois, USA. The results of this work are published online today in Geology, by the Geological Society of America.

The fossilized forest was preserved following a major earthquake 300 million years ago. The quake caused the whole region to drop below sea level whereupon the forest became buried in mud, preserving it forever.

Dr Howard Falcon-Lang said: "It was an amazing experience. We drove down the mine in an armoured vehicle, until we were a hundred metres below the surface. The fossil forest was rooted on top of the coal seam, so where the coal had been mined away the fossilized forest was visible in the ceiling of the mine.

"We walked for miles and miles along pitch-black passages with the fossil forest just above our heads. We were able to make a map of the forest by the light of our miner's lamps."

The fossil forest is the largest ever found, covering over 10,000 hectares, an area 10 km by 10 km (which would cover the city of Bristol, UK). The fossils preserve a unique snapshot of what tropical rainforests were like 300 million year ago.

Dr Falcon-Lang added: "As there is nothing like it around today, before our work we knew very little about the ecological preferences and community structure of these ancient plants. This spectacular discovery allows us to track how the species make-up of the forest changed across the landscape, and how that species make-up is effected by subtle differences in the local environment."

The study reconstructs a Carboniferous rainforest at the largest spatial scale ever attempted. The fossils show that the Earth's first rainforests were highly diverse and that the kinds of tree species changed across the ancient landscape. The forest dates from the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago, when most of the world's coal resources were formed.

[link to www.sciencedaily.com]



The fossilized forest was preserved following a major earthquake 300 million years ago. The quake caused the whole region to drop below sea level whereupon the forest became buried in mud, preserving it forever.
 Quoting:


Now that's an earthquake.
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2007 04:12 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Very cool. Guess that New Madrid fault has been around quite some time huh.
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2007 04:39 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2007 04:42 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Latest: it's redated to 400 million year old
NYC Messenger

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04/23/2007 05:43 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 131338


Yeah, ok. 6000 years.... Where do you get your info from.
"If I Die, You are forgiven. If I Live, I will kill you." Such is the Rule of Honor.
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2007 07:17 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Lets dig it up and burn it!
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2007 07:42 PM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Here's another world wonder that was discovered recently. [link to www.funpic.hu]
reddemon
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10/01/2008 08:58 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......


Yeah, ok. 6000 years.... Where do you get your info from.
 Quoting: NYC Messenger

hes getting it from the bible.
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:04 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 131338

Seriously, people like you shouldn't be allowed to drive a car. Even God thinks you are stupid for interpreting the Bible this way.
Gohan

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10/01/2008 09:06 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Thanks for the info. hf
Bugid Y Aiba
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:16 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......


Yeah, ok. 6000 years.... Where do you get your info from.
 Quoting: NYC Messenger


Oh dear...

The Earth is estimated to be around 4.6 billion years old.. I know scientists aren't perfect but uhm, 6,000 years?

I can't believe I'm responding to this, lol, you must surely be jesting.

stoned
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:21 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
I googled this to see all the great pictures they would release. I was only able to come up with about 3 pics repeated hundreds of times.
Can anyone find what I'm sure are thousands of amazing pictures?
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:21 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
I can't believe you're responding to it either considering its 18 months old.
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:26 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Yeah, ok. 6000 years.... Where do you get your info from.
 Quoting: NYC Messenger




Palin probably... gotbop
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:26 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
300 million years....now that is funny.....FYI - the earth has only been around 6,000 years.......
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 131338


Is this Sarah Palin?
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:27 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Here's another world wonder that was discovered recently. [link to www.funpic.hu]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 227475

I hope they find superman in there.
Gohan

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10/01/2008 09:28 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
Here's another world wonder that was discovered recently. [link to www.funpic.hu]

I hope they find superman in there.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 508922


There is a National Geo. special about that cave soon. hf
Bugid Y Aiba
hoot no more/hasheater
User ID: 514841
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10/01/2008 09:41 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
I just don't know where you silly boys get your beeble information. Tell me what you think about the part where x lives 986 years and begets y that lives 822 years and begets z that lives 996 years that begets a that lives 591 years and begets b that lives 749 years and begets etc.etc.etc. on and on for about four pages of very fine type.

For Christ Sake there has to be about 50,000 years of begeting just there!
Anonymous Coward
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10/01/2008 09:49 AM
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Re: 300 million year old rain forest discovered
I just don't know where you silly boys get your beeble information. Tell me what you think about the part where x lives 986 years and begets y that lives 822 years and begets z that lives 996 years that begets a that lives 591 years and begets b that lives 749 years and begets etc.etc.etc. on and on for about four pages of very fine type.

For Christ Sake there has to be about 50,000 years of begeting just there!
 Quoting: hoot no more/hasheater 514841

You confuse Begetting and lifetime. If you live to be 70, you don't "beget" at 70.


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