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Fossil Forest Found in Southern Illinois

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posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 11:31 PM
I just read about this in our local newspaper and it is a really exciting discovery. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I did. The size of the fossil forest and it's contents are really hard to wrap your head around. what an amazing planet we live on.

An ancient fossil forest has been found in a seam of Southern Illinois coal and it is a beauty. The forest is the biggest ever found and dates around three hundred million years ago. It is located near Galatia, IL and stretches to southeast Indiana, approximately 100 miles. It is a wonderfully intact specimen and gives a snapshot into what the area looked like before the dinosaurs.

More than 300 million years ago, Southern Illinois was located at the equator and and a river as large as the present day Mississippi ran through the area. The channel of the river is visible in the coal. The plants and trees would appear alien to us now. The remains have been perfectly preserved rooted in their original soil.

The trees were covered in scales that often cause coal miners to think that they have found fossilized dinosaurs. However, the main form of life besides the plants were insects. Dragonflies the size of birds and millipedes up to six feet long lived in the forest.

Scientist hope that the discovery will help them to understand more about climate change and it's effect on the environment. They will be able to get a better glimpse of how species adapt, reassemble, and how many go extinct after such events.

With further mining, the area likely holds many more secrets about the past that will be exposed.

Four Square Miles of Carboniferous Forest Discovered

An Underground Fossil Forest Offers Clues on Climate Change
edit on 6-10-2012 by Kandinsky because: Fixed links

edit on 7/10/2012 by ArMaP because: Fixed image links

posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 11:40 PM
Thank you for posting this

I live in Northern Il and would love to see this someday , I know it's new so that would be impossible at the present time but it's very exciting that it's pretty much in my own "backyard".

Thanks again for the fantastic post

posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 11:44 PM
You are very welcome! I'd like to see it too, but according to one of the stories I linked, the coal ceilings begin to crumble after exposure. What a shame. It's been hidden all this time and will be lost forever.

posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 04:07 AM
reply to post by Komaratzi11

it doesn't look much to my untrained eyes...I guess you got to have some background in paleontology to be able to appreciate this.

too bad; this is a place I could actually visit if I really wanted to

posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 04:14 AM
When I was a kid, I was with my dad on a job site (he was a well driller) and I found a petrified stump in the dirt he dug up while prepping the ground for his digging. Still have it in my room to this day...weird thing is it's completely flat on top as if it were cut...I guess countless years of being in the ground could cause that.

Wish I could remember where it was now! Chances are there are probably more wonders to be found there!

Great find OP.

posted on Oct, 7 2012 @ 06:46 PM
reply to post by Komaratzi11

TextThe forest is the biggest ever found and dates around three hundred million years ago.

Have a question . Am not a scientist but wondered just how you can date something back to three hundred million years? Isn't that a bit of a stretch? Carbon 14 dating is so variable that even using this method (on certain things) it is not reliable after about five or six thousand years, I don't really believe everything I read.

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 12:08 AM
reply to post by Seede

I think they may be going by the types of vegetation discovered and lack of animal fossils. Also, I would think that the knowledge of the number of years it takes for coal to form would give some indication. The scientists seem pretty certain that this forest was from the Carboniferous period which ran from 359.2-299 million years ago.

Carboniferous means coal-bearing and it was the plants from that time that has produced the coal we use. The Carboniferous rainforests collapsed due to climate change during the Middle Carboniferous period.

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