Perfectly preserved 300 Million year old forest found in coal mine - image

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Perfectly preserved 300 Million year old forest found in coal mine - image

A 300 million year-old forest has been discovered in a coal mine in Wuda, northern China. The 10,000 square-foot forest was preserved by ash from a volcanic eruption, and researchers are now studying it as a fossilized “snapsnot” of ancient plant life.

Scientists found six different groups of plants, ranging from short ferns to 80-foot-tall trees. One of the most interesting finds was an extinct group of spore-bearing trees called Noeggerathiales, which had previously been identified in North America and Europe, but now appear to be much more common in Asia.

Because of the coal mining activities in the area, the researchers were able to examine three different segments of the forest, investigating 1000 square meters of the ash layer.

“It’s marvelously preserved,” said the University of Pennsylvania’s 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. That’s really exciting.”

A paper on the find, including an artist’s recreation of the forest as it existed at the time of the eruption, will be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 http://www.eurekalert.org/p...

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By netchicken: posted on 23-2-2012








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