Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Ancient Forest Discovered in Mines
Researchers from the US and the UK have found a fossil forest in the coal mines of Illinois.
The team reported a similar discovery last year, but has recently found five other examples.
The petrified vegetation is visible in the mine ceilings covering thousands of hectares.
Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang believes they are among the first forests to evolve on Earth.
"Theses are the largest fossil forests found anywhere in the world at any point in geological time," Dr. Falcon-Lang said.
"It is quite extraordinary to find a fossil landscape preserved over such a vast area; and we are talking about an area the size of (the British city of) Bristol."
The forests are stacked on top of each other in the rock, and grew just a few million years apart.
The painting is by Laura Tasheiko