We've now discovered signs of climate change on Mars, so it's not surprising that a researcher here on Earth has discovered evidence in Peru of climate change that took place there over 6,000 years ago.
Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson has returned from an Andean ice field in Peru with samples of ancient plants exposed for the first time in as many as 6,500 years. In 2002, he first came across some non-fossilized plants that had been exposed by the steadily retreating Quelccaya ice cap. Carbon dating showed that the plant material was at least 5,000 years old.
Then in 2004, the glacier had retreated even further, and found additional plant beds that proved to be carbon-free, suggesting that they might date back more than 50,000 years. This high, cold, ice-covered area once harbored wetland bogs, an ecosystem requiring much warmer temperatures.
In June, he went back to the ice field and found at least 20 new plant collection sites that had been newly exposed. An analysis of the plant material from these sites suggested that it ranged from 4,500 to 6,500 years old. Conventional archeology tells us that 6,500 years ago, there were no organized civilizations on the Earth.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
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