December 18, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

Mummified Trees Found in Arctic

Like Narnian children finding a zoo of lifeless stone statues in the White Witch’s wintry realm, scientists have come across frozen trees, leaves and seed pods deep in the Canadian arctic.  “The dry, frigid site is now surrounded by glaciers and is completely treeless,” said National Geographic News.  What deep magic left this mummified forest “exquisitely preserved”?  The scientific wizards say it was a landslide, up to 10 million years ago.
    Other frozen forests have been known (03/22/2002), but this one on Ellesmere Island is the farthest north found so far.  Science Daily said the find is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Researchers at Ohio State “also suspect that many more mummified forests could emerge across North America as Arctic ice continues to melt,” Science Daily said.  “As the wood is exposed and begins to rot, it could release significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – and actually boost global warming.”
    While that reporter was fascinated by whatever “Clues to Future Warming Impact” might be gained, perhaps more astonishing is how wood that could rot today remained frozen for 2-8 million years – the age range claimed in the article.  For him to worry about global warming, he must be talking about a lot of wood: “Walking through the area, they’re everywhere,” said Joel Barker, an environmental scientist at Ohio State University and leader of study of the mummified forest.  “You’d have trouble not tripping over them.”  The article described the forest as similar to those covering a wide area: “The mummified forest seems to resemble modern forests growing hundreds of miles to the south, suggesting the forest must have grown during a time when the Arctic was much warmer.”
    The National Geographic story led off with a photo of a cross-section of a log that looks like it would burn in a fireplace.  “The mummified trees were likely preserved so long because they were buried quickly by landslides and thus protected from air and water, which hastens decomposition.”  But can it protect them for millions of years?  How many landslides must be invoked to cover enough rotting mummified trees to raise concerns about greenhouse gases?  Even so, no living material lasts forever in its original state, unless replaced by minerals, as in petrification and fossilization.  This is real wood.
    “When we started pulling leaves out of the soil, that was surreal, to know that it’s millions of years old and that you can hold it in your hand,” one of the researchers announced to the American Geophysical Union last week.  A colleague familiar with fossil forests called this find “extraordinary,” speaking of “Finding wood that is millions of years old in such good condition—almost as if you just picked it up from the forest floor….”

The millions of years exist only in their imagination.  So tenacious are these moyboys* in their faith, they cannot see the trees for the forest, or the forest for the trees, because the fogma** is so thick.  These trees are not that old.  Neither are the dinosaur bones with blood vessels intact (04/09/2009).  Why do they tell such tales?
    They must keep the tale going, because they live in a fantasyland, the world of Blarneya, where it is always winter and never Christmas.  They like it that way, because they serve the White Beard, who rules Blarneya with an iron fist.  The Chronicles of Blarneya stretch backward and forward billions of years, they teach the children, turning their minds to stone.  They fear global warming because it will portend the day the lyin’ will be revealed.
*See definition in the 03/31/2007 commentary.
**See definition in the 05/14/2007 commentary.

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Fossils

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