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. An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.
Stumps have been thawing from beneath the Mendenhall Glacier for about 50 years, but recently, considerably more have been found in upright positions with roots still intact.
Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark, the Juneau Empire first reported last week. "There are a lot of them, and being in a growth position is exciting because we can see the outermost part of the tree and count back to see how old the tree was," Cathy Connor, a geology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast who was involved in the investigation, told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet. "Mostly, people find chunks of wood helter-skelter, but to see these intact upright is kind of cool."
The team has tentatively identified the trees as either spruce or hemlock, based on the diameter of the trunks and because these are the types of trees growing in the region today, Connor said, but the researchers still need to further assess the samples to verify the tree type. A protective tomb of gravel likely encased the trees more than 1,000 years ago, when the glacier was advancing, Connor said, basing the date on radiocarbon ages of the newly revealed wood. As glaciers advance, Connor explained, they often emit summer meltwater streams that spew aprons of gravel beyond the glacier's edge. [Images: Shrinking Alaska Glacier Spied from Space] A gravel layer about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) high appears to have encased the trees before the glacier ultimately advanced enough to plow over them, snapping off limbs and preserving the stumps in an ice tomb.
Researchers have collected pieces of wood to date using radiocarbon dating techniques, and have found that the forest is more than 1,000 years old. Credit: Jamie BradshawView full size image Taku Glacier, located south of Juneau, is currently triggering this same process as it advances over a modern forest of cottonwood trees, offering the researchers a chance to observe the process in real time, Connor said. Unlike the growing Taku Glacier, which accumulates snow at a high elevation and thus is well situated to grow, the lower-elevation Mendenhall Glacier has retreated by an average rate of about 170 feet (52 m) per year since 2005. This year's summer retreat has not yet been calculated, but the team expects it to be relatively high due to unusually warm summer temperatures, Connor said. .
So the climate was much warmer then it is now not all that long ago .
It make me wonder about this whole Global warming thing because "JUNEAU EMPIRE
The Mendenhall Glacier’s recession is unveiling the remains of ancient forests that have remained frozen beneath the ice for up to 2,350 years." So the climate was much warmer then it is now not all that long ago . Much of the stories we get from studies seem to say or give the impression that the ice age was 10000 years ago but if Alaska was warm only 2300 years ago what cause it to cool ? I mean like did they have a IPCC group of people that caused the global warming that must have been there back then ?
This obviously proves to us that the world was at a warmer temperature at one point when this forest was able to grow in the first place.
A basic observation tells us that we are not responsible for global warming, which doesn't exist. Not in the way they are proposing it exists anyway.
I find this global warming very strange because here we have a glacier melting yet at one of the poles the glacier/ice is spreading merrily (I read this on an ATS post only a weeks or so ago). How come it spreads in one place and shrinks in another? It doesn't make any sense to me.
reply to post by the2ofusr1
The fear isn't that it warming it's the speed at which it is warming. Change is fine rapid change isn't. It takes time for ecosystems to adapt and thrive.
Anyway this article is about finding things that have been hurried and preserved up until now. We may be able to learn a lot.