Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » Trending News

Underwater Forest: Scientists Explore 2,500-Year-Old Cypress Trees In the Gulf of Mexico

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Jul 09, 2013 10:17 AM EDT

Text Size: A A A

Cypress Trees
An underwater Cypress forest was discovered off the coast of Alabama.(Photo : Wikimedia)

Scuba divers have discovered a primeval underwater forest in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Alabama, according to Yahoo! News.

The forest was buried under ocean sediments and protected in an oxygen free environment for over 50,000 years.

The Bald Cypress forest was likely unearthed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to Ben Raines, the executive director of the nonprofit Weeks Bay Foundation, which researches estuaries, and one of the divers to explore the underwater forest.

Share This Story

The forest has trees that are so well preserved that when they are cut, they still smell like fresh Cypress sap, Raines said.

The stumps of these trees span an area that is at least .5 square miles, located several miles from the coast of Mobile, Alabama, and sitting approximately 60 feet below the surface of the water.

A dive shop owner told Raines that a local fisherman had found a site full of fish and wildlife and thought that something big was located underneath the water. The diver went down to explore the area and found the forest of trees, and then told Raines about his discovery, though he refused to disclose the location of the site because divers so frequently take artifacts from shipwrecks that he was concerned the site would be destroyed.

The diver revealed the site to Raines in 2012. Raines then went to the site himself, finding a primeval Cypress swamp containing what had turned into an artificial reef with fish, crustaceans, sea anemones and other underwater life that burrows between the roots of dislodged tree stumps.

"Swimming around amidst these stumps and logs, you just feel like you're in this fairy world," Raines told LiveScience.

 

A sonar map of the underwater forest.
A sonar map of the underwater forest.

 

Raines then spoke to Grant Harley, a dendochronologist, to determine the age of the forest. Harley and Kristine DeLong, a geographer, created a sonar map and analyzed two samples Raines had taken of the trees. Using carbon isotopes, they determined the trees were approximately 2,500 years old.

This may provide information about the climate in the area of the Gulf of Mexico at that time, which is a period known as the Wisconsin Glacial period, when sea levels were much lower than today.

"These stumps are so big, they're upwards of two meters in diameter - the size of trucks," Harley told OurAmazingPlanet. "They probably contain thousands of growth rings."

The team has applied for grants to explore the site more thoroughly, though Harley estimates they only have about two years to do so.

"The longer this wood sits on the bottom of the ocean, the more marine organisms burrow into the wood, which can create hurdles when we are trying to get radiocarbon dates," Harley said. "It can really make the sample undateable, unusable."

This discovery follows the disturbing announcement that forests growing in swastika formation have been found in Germany.

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

European City

Managing a Home Stay on your Travels Abroad

Whether a student or avid traveler, staying with a host family can be an amazing experience with first hand exposure to the culture, language, and food. But, of course there are fears and worries about staying with a family you have never meet, and the host family has them too about letting a stranger into their home. You want this time that you are staying with them to be enjoyable, full of intercultural learning and exchanges.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Young Italian aid workers who have been released.

Italy Denies Paying Ransom To Free Two Young Aid Workers; Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Says, ‘We Are Against Paying Ransom’

Italy denies paying ransom to free two young aid workers who were held captive for five months in Syria. According to Italy’s foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, “We are against paying ransom.”

Kentucky's own Bonnie and Clyde: Dalton Hayes and Cheyenne Phillips.

Kentucky Teens Crime Spree: Youngsters Suspected Of Car Theft Finally Apprehended

Kentucky teens crime spree made the headlines early Sunday morning. These teenage sweethearts were found grabbing some shut-eye inside a stolen pickup truck in Florida.

President Barack Obama

Obama: Paid Family Leave Is A Worker’s Right!

President Obama wants paid family leave to happen.

Berlin Mosque Outspoken Against Paris Attack

Duke Chapel Call To Prayer: Muslim Students At Duke University To Start Weekly Call-To-Prayer, Aid In Restoring Peace?

Duke Chapel Call To Prayer – Muslim students enrolled at the Duke University are set to start a weekly call to prayer. This is the latest according to the announcements made by school officials. Call to prayers will begin on Friday. Will such actions restore the peace between non-Muslims and Muslims in and out of Duke University?

Kim Jong Un

North Korea US Talks: DPRK Promises To Stop Nuclear Tests If Washington Promises To Stop Joint Military Exercises With South Korea

North Korea US talks may or may not happen following the former nation’s renewed bid to sway Washington’s decision after it rejected Pyongyang’s proposal to suspend nuclear tests under the condition that yearly American military drills with South Korea were put off. According to An Myong Hun, if the proposal is accepted, “many things will be possible this year on the Korean peninsula.”

Chris O'Leary shares picture on Twitter.

Passenger Delta: 65-Seater Regional Jet Flies To New York With Only Two Passengers

Passenger Delta flies to New York with only one other person. Today, flights are almost always packed that finding an empty middle seat has become somewhat of a rare luxury.

Memorial grows for 4 men shot in killed in San Francisco shooting Friday night

San Francisco Shooting: 4 Murdered In Hayes Valley, Suspects Still Hunted, Gang Related Shooting?

San Francisco Shooting – Four men were murdered in the upscale Hayes Valley neighborhood Friday night, according to authorities. The victims of the San Francisco shooting who were reportedly shot to death were found shot inside a black 2005 Honda parked near the corner of Page and Laguna streets.

Mass Unity Rallies Held Around The World Following Recent Terrorist Attacks

United States Issues Worldwide Travel Alert: Recent Terror Attacks In Paris And Hostage Taking In Sydney

United States issues worldwide travel alert following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Sydney. This alert comes after the announcement that French police have once again managed to track down and kill three of the hostage takers involved in the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Major Floods Swamp Metro Detroit Area

Interstate 94 Pileup: Lanes Reopen After Deadly 193-Vehicle Pileup

Interstate 94 Pileup – After the deadly pileup involving more than 100 cars in the Interstate 94 at Michigan, all lanes have now reopened. The lanes have reopened on Sunday, which was two days after the pileup that claimed one life while leaving more than a dozen injured.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics