News Stories

Ancient Trees...in Coal Mines?

Deep in the deserted coal mines of Illinois lie?fossil forests!

These were some of the first forests on earth and have now all turned to stone, stretching for many miles?mostly on the ceilings of the mines.

In BBC News, Jonathan Amos quotes researcher Howard Falcon-Lang as saying, "These are the largest fossil forests found anywhere in the world at any point in geological time?It's kind of an odd view looking at a forest bottom-up. You can actually see upright tree stumps that are pointed vertically up above your head with the roots coming down; and adjacent to those tree stumps you see all the litter."The fascinating thing we've discovered is that the rainforests dramatically collapse approximately coincident with the greenhouse warming. Long-lived forests dominated by giant club moss trees almost overnight (in a geological sense) are replaced by rather weedy fern vegetation."

Art credit: University of Bristol

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