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The ancient cypress forest found 60 feet underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, due south of Gulf Shores, Ala., is about 60,000 years old, says a team of scientists who have studied the site.
The forest appears to be a wholly unique relic of our planet’s past, the only known site where a coastal ice age forest this old has been preserved in place, with thousands of trees still rooted in the dirt they were growing millennia ago.
Sixty feet beneath the green waves of the Gulf of Mexico, ten miles from the nearest land, stands an ancient forest of giant trees.
Covered in dense carpets of sea anemones, crawling with spidery arrow crabs and toadfish, the sprawling stumps of massive cypress trees spread across the seafloor.
Nick Tew, a geologist with the Geological Survey of Alabama, said that the stumps had likely been preserved for millenia by virtue of being buried beneath a few feet of sand, which prevented oxygen from reaching them. The same phenomenon is responsible for bones and remnants preserved in peat bogs and other oxygen-deprived locations.
“We know its pretty old. We have some stumps on the Fort Morgan peninsula, on the Gulf beach side. We had those dated and they are about 2,000 years old. Those are exposed on the beach today.”