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.

© 2014 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Featured Video : Travel Expert Stefanie Michaels aka 'Adventure Girl' Reveals Her Favorite Fourth of July Destinations
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

Road trip

How to Survive Your Next Road Trip

Here are some tips on how to have a more enjoyable road trip.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Diagio VIP Lounge

Delta Air Lines Flight Rerouted For Angry Lady Hit Accidentally in Head Due To Reclined Seat

A Delta Air Lines flight was diverted when a 52-year-old woman got mad when an older lady in front reclined her seat and accidentally hit her in the head.

Moxy Milan

Modern Moxy Hotels by Marriott Perfect For the Budget Traveler

Marriott’s Moxy Hotels were introduced today in Milan, Italy, offering a modern twist to the hospitality industry.

4 Students Killed In Ohio Plane Crash, CrashUnder Investigatin

Ohio Plane Crash: Killed 4 College Students As Plane Exploded, Crash Under Investigation

Ohio plane crash which occurred Monday killed four college students, including three members of the varsity wrestling team, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said school officials Tuesday. The four deaths from the Ohio plane crash were confirmed by police Monday evening.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish Sting Hundreds: Jellyfish Swarm Attacks, At Least 400 Stung In Florida Beaches, Swimmers Treated

Jellyfish sting hundreds at Florida beaches over the weekend, and beach goers are growing concerned for their safety in the seas. The multiple incidents which resulted to jellyfish sting hundreds, that’s at least 400 beach goers, occurred in Volusia County, along Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach.

Damages in buildings and other properties were noted as a result of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck northern California.

Strong Earthquake Hits the Northern Part of California

An earthquake shook the northern part of California on the early Sunday morning resulting to several damages in infrastructures and episodes of power outages.

5 Killed in New York: 3 Kids, 2 Adults Dead in Blazing Long Island Crash

5 Killed in New York: 3 Kids, 2 Adults Dead in Blazing Long Island Crash

5 killed in New York - A family of three kids and two adults died in a blazing Long Island crash Saturday night, after their car swerved off the roadway, smacked into a tree and burst into flames, officials said.

Niagara Falls

World's Largest Water Slide Stands Taller Than Niagara Falls

For everyone that has ever wanted to ride a barrel off of Niagara Falls, their opportunity has come. While you aren't in a barrel and it isn't Niagara Falls, it's the next best thing. The Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park has opened up a new ride that is an inch taller than the famous waterfall, so all the height with none of the law breaking.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics