A 300-million-year-old tropical forest has been discovered under volcanic ash in northern china.
Researchers will study the fossilized forest examine an ecosystem that has been frozen by a natural disaster. The forest discovered beneath a Chinese coal mine has been very well preserved by 40 inches of volcanic ash, Science Daily reported.
“It’s marvelously preserved. 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,” said University of Pennsylvania paleobotanist Hermann Pfefferkorn, who led the study in Wuda, China.
“This ash-fall buried and killed the plants, broke off twigs and leaves, toppled trees, and preserved the forest remains in place within the ash layer,” said Jun Wang, one of the lead authors of the study at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China.
According to the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, the volcanic ash was determined to be about 298 million years old.
Researchers have conducted studies in three separate areas near Wuda, China. They have also discovered trees which are now extinct.