These two trees were preserved beneath sand for 10,000 years.
Click on image for full size
Ancient Forest Found in Michigan
News story originally written on February 24, 2000
How old are the trees in your backyard? They're probably not even close to the age of an ancient forest found buried in Michigan. Scientists from Michigan Technological University discovered spruce trees estimated to be over 10,000 years old.
The trees were buried under water and sand for all these years. The scientists had to hold back the water and excavate the sand in order to study the trees. They quickly cut off 140 cross-sections of trees to study before the water caved in and the forest was destroyed.
Scientists say the forest began shortly after a glacier passed through. The glacier finally planted itself only 10 miles away. The climate started to warm up, and soon the glacier was melting. The water carried sand with it and travelled towards the forest. Scientists say the sand buried the forest quickly, but gently, so as not to damage the moss growing on the trunks.
When the sections of wood were analyzed, scientists made an interesting discovery. There are tree rings inside the cross-sections, which are used by scientists as a way to study the history of the tree. There should have been a change in the rings because of the sudden change in climate--but there wasn't. Basically, this means nature may not always warn us that the climate is changing.
"Is there an indicator 50 years before that something's going to happen?" One scientist says. "It doesn't seem like it in the tree rings."
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more