The remains of ancient forests have been discovered deep beneath the sea, thousands of miles from their mountainous origins, with scientists finding 19 million-year-old wood chips in sediment layers at the bottom of the Bay of Bengal.
Researchers led by Sarah Feakins, from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, drilled down over two miles from the surface of the ocean, retrieving sediments from half a mile beneath the sea floor. By analyzing the core sample, the team was able to look at how trees were swept into the ocean millions of years ago before getting trapped in the ground.
By looking at the wood chips in the core, the team was able to determine where the trees had come from. In most cases, they found the wood was from trees that grew in lowlands, near the ocean. However, one layer was found to have wood from trees that would have grown high in the Himalayan mountains, about two miles above sea level.
In their study, published in PNAS, the team argues that trees within an ancient forest were uprooted by a huge release of water—potentially by a natural dam created by a glacier or a landslide. These trees would have then been transported for thousands of miles along a huge surge of water—from cyclones, monsoons or floods, the scientists suggest—before being released in the Bengal Fan. (Read more from “More Evidence of Noah’s Flood: Trees From High in the Himalayas Found Half Mile Below Sea Floor” HERE)