Chinese Pompeii Forest Uncovered by Researchers

Researchers have recently discovered a forest located in Northern China that has been preserved under a layer of Ash for what they estimate could be nearly 300 million years.

The preservation of the forest is similar to that of the ancient Italian city of Pompeii.

This discovery was made just west of the Inner Mongolian district of Wuda. It was "reconstructed" by the researchers who found it to be nearly 1,000 sq m of trees and plant distributions.

It can be found in greater detail within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with an illustration of how the forest actually looked 300 million years ago.

"It's marvelously preserved," said study co-author Hermann Pfefferkorn of the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.

"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," he added. "And then we find the stump from the same tree."

The excavations that eventually led to the discovery were sampled across a large expanse that was covered with about a meter's worth of ash.

The researchers came to the conclusion that the ash fell over the course of a few days which damaged some of the trees and plants from the weight, but actually ending up preserving most of them.

They found six different groupings of trees that range from low-lying tree ferns to the now extinct 25m trees known as Sigilaria and Cordaites. They also discovered specimens from another extinct group called Noeggerathiales.

After making the discovery, the team employed a painter to create an accurate depiction of what the ancient forest may have looked like originally.

Pfefferkorn added that what they ended up finding under the ash served as a "baseline" for accessing future discoveries.


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