Skip to comments.300 million year old fossilized forest discovered under coal mine in China
Posted on 02/22/2012 4:01:42 AM PST by LibWhacker
Theres some good coming off Chinas extensive coal exploitation (the nation holds the top place for most pollutant emissions resulting from burning coal), as recent mining activities around Wuda in Inner Mongolia, China, has uncovered an almost perfectly preserved 298 million year-old forest. The forest, which also features intact trees with leaves, branches, trunk and cones, was buried by volcanic ash, and thus kept away from times unforgiving touch.
The researchers dubbed the forest the Pompeii of the Permian period, since the manner in which it was preserved bared a striking resemblance to the famous Roman namesake event. The volcanic ash covered a large expanse of forest over the course of only a few days, ultimately sealing it away from time until present day.
The plant fossils were so well preserved, that scientists actually surprised many specimens in a falling stance, next to where they used to grow.
Its marvelously preserved, says University of Pennsylvania paleobotanist Hermann Pfefferkorn.
We can stand there and find a branch with the leaves attached, and then we find the next branch and the next branch and the next branch. And then we find the stump from the same tree. Thats really exciting.
The researchers discovered in total a 10,763-square-foot area hidden under a coal mine using heavy industrial machinery. In all, they identified six groups of trees, some up to 80 feet high, with tree ferns forming a lower canopy. Remarkably enough, they had the good luck of finding nearly complete specimens of a group of trees called Noeggerathiales extinct spore-bearing trees, closely related to ferns.
The ash layer was dated from around 298 million years ago, the beginning of the Permian period ( 299 to 251 million years ago). During that time, the planets continental plates were still coming together to form the super-continent Pangaea, and the first groups of mammals, turtles, lepidosaurs and archosaurs started to roam the Earth.
This is the first such forest reconstruction in Asia for any time interval, its the first of a peat forest for this time interval and its the first with Noeggerathiales as a dominant group, says Pfefferkorn. Its a time capsule.
Surely there are actual photos and not just an artist’s rendering.?
Fascinating stuff though!
Henceforth to be called African-Anericanathiales
“...the manner in which it was preserved bared a striking resemblance to the famous Roman namesake event.”
Is that anything like “BORE a striking resemblance...”?
“Is that anything like BORE a striking resemblance...?”
Dem folk sho’ do be larnin’ sum fine stuff now, don’t dey? Iffen dey wuz two git too go two skool fo’ bout fohty yeer dey mite mebbe larn sum o’ what us ol’ folk usted too larn in de fust six yar mebbe. Dey be gittin’ on reel gud considern dey to udderly ignant two milk de cow.
Seriously, it is sickening. We have university graduates who could not pass a fifth grade English test from a public school of the nineteen fifties.
I had the impression that this piece was translated into English by someone who was not good at English
Okay, I see the “bared” instead of “bore” and the “has” for activities instead of “have”. Still, though, compared to many atrocious translations from Chinese to English I have read, as well as English written by Chinese over here in the U.S., a recent example being from that little moron working as a Fox intern, this is pretty good. And it’s still better than what passes for English from a lot of posters here on FR.
They discovered a four square mile ancient forest in Illinois while coal mining. I believe the fossil site in Illinois was dated to the Upper Carboniferous. You never know what awaits down in a mine, in horror films there are monsters but for science geeks what they actually find is even more interesting.
Another global observation of similar significance is the vertical stacking of hydrocarbons deposits, Kudryavtsev's Rule: "Any region in which hydrocarbons are found at one level will be seen to have hydrocarbons in large or small quantities, but at all levels down to and into the basement rock." The most common sequence is to find gas at the deepest levels, oil above, sometimes more gas above the oil, and coal at the shallowest. If one examines gas, oil and coal maps of different parts of the globe, one finds this rule repeated very frequently. It holds in most of the Middle East: many oil wells in Iran have penetrated through large coal deposits. Deep underneath the oil of the Gulf States, large gas fields have been discovered. Almost all the oil wells of Java and Sumatra have drilled through coal, and even the deep gas of Oklahoma is often underneath coal. What we are seeing is principally a succession of hydrocarbons with diminishing hydrogen content as one goes from the deepest to the shallowest. One presumes that bacterial action, which attacks the hydrogen rich hydrocarbons first, has been largely responsible for the progressive hydrogen depletion of upwelling hydrocarbons. For coal, the situation is more complex because biology can be involved in another way also. In a hydrocarbon outgassing area, the ground water is held strongly anoxic because hydrocarbon oxidizing bacteria are abundant there, and quickly remove atmospheric oxygen carried in that water. The result is that the normal processes of fermentation of plant material, which would turn the carbon back to the atmospheric CO2, will be interrupted. Hydrocarbon outgassing areas tend to become swamps filled with the insoluble carbon of plant material. What plant fossils there are in bituminous coal (frequently there are none) are often themselves filled with the same homogeneous coal as that which surrounds them, suggesting a carbon source different from the fossilized plant material itself. It would not seem possible that plant material was converted into the homogeneous coal, and yet that a fraction survived as fossils with a precise maintenance of detail; and that this was then filled by the homogeneous coal derived from similar material.
I know some of their agreement rules and verb conjugations are different from ours; I just don't know if that is the case here.
"...that scientists actually surprised many specimens in a falling stance..."
Look at immediately subsequent postings by me. You probably saw them, but it would undermine your sarcasm.
I saw nothing related to that phrase. You might want to read your own posts before you complain about the tone in anyone else’s.
“in horror films there are monsters but for science geeks what they actually find is even more interesting.”
Oh, I don’t know about that. Some poor geek in a coal mine would find an other-worldly monster mighty interesting indeed. ;-)
Sea wat I sayin?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.